Creating a buzz in the city

Rebecca Daly

Bee hives are the last thing one would expect to see placed in the inner city. However, the Robert Emmet Community Development Project (RECDP) has done just that.

In 2017, the RECDP set up the hives in two locations in the Liberties – one on the grounds of the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Adam and Eve’s) on Cook Street and two in the Digital Hub on Thomas Street. Liam McGarry is the resident beekeeper and is a pro in the world of hives and honey as chairperson of the County Dublin Beekeepers Association. 

Since then, the bees have begun to thrive in their new location, with one hive alone producing over 200 pounds of honey in its most recent harvest. Despite being the same kind of honey bee and being based merely a kilometre apart, Austin Campbell from the RECDP says the honey tastes different from each location. He said, “That would be because of the different flowers that they’re getting pollen off.”

The RECDP run ten-week courses, led by McGarry, for locals to try their hand at beekeeping. “Beekeeping for Beginners” is a seasonal course, running twice a year with the next round coming up in February. Participants can avail of the necessary equipment, including suits and smokers, to calm the bees. At the end, the harvested allergy alleviating honey is sold. 

Campbell felt that these classes provided something new for participants who have more than likely lived in the city for their whole life and would never otherwise get the chance. “Working with animals, even if they are tiny little bees – There’s something magical about it,” he said. 

Not only are the courses a brilliant opportunity for locals, they also have environmental benefits. It is a well-known fact that bee populations are rapidly declining and even these three hives can play an important part. “They pollinate and they’re good for plants. It’s got a knock on positive effect on the environment,” Campbell said. 

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