Colette O'Connell

Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

Colette O’Connell,
Director / Public Relations Officer

Colette O’Connell is a third-generation beekeeper and began beekeeping in the 1990s in Co. Waterford, where she was tutored by some of the greats, many no longer with us, Claire Chavasse, Tom and Noel Lonergan, (The Tailors in Cappoquin), Martin the Captain Curran whose sons PJ and Jack, daughter Mary, continue in beekeeping, Michael Moynihan and his son Micheál, who with his son now continue the family business, Moynihan’s Honey.

After a break of several years, with serious environmental battles which ended in success at the European Court of Justice, she returned to the world of beekeeping.  Determined to give back some of what the previous generation gave she threw herself into the Co. Waterford Beekeepers’ Association and was secretary for three years before taking on the role of Chairperson for three years.

During that time, Co. WBKA has been overall runners-up in the Waterford City and County Community and Voluntary Awards; and in subsequent years won the Environmental Section of these awards.  Under her leadership and working in partnership with the local authority. Co. WBKA set up its own apiary. The apiary has been a huge bonus for beekeepers and a focal point during the summer months; the experienced eyes and hands show how quickly a virgin is found, handled, and marked; whilst the conversation continues on how many supers are on hives and comparisons and suggestions shared.  An experience not to be missed!!!

Regular contact with tree planting in and visits to schools exposes future generations to the joy of keeping honey bees.  The Demonstration Hive is always guaranteed success! Colette is one of two elected Environmental representatives on the Waterford Secretariat and uses this position to highlight and put in place practical measures to assist pollinators and honey bees.

In 2016, Colette was given the honour of being “Honey Queen” and represented beekeepers around the country.  Colette was involved in setting up the Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS)  and acted as Honorary Secretary for the society during its inaugural year.  She is a staunch supporter of our Native Irish Honey Bee, Apis m. mellifera.

Colette has four children, now young adults, some of whom continue in University.  All have assisted her with beekeeping; with the younger two enjoying the Gormanston experience. Dominique with the assistance of Micheal and Aoife Mac Giolla Coda did some research on the grooming characteristics of Apis m. mellifera,  which culminated in prize-winning Projects at the BT Young Scientist and at GMIT, and at the Eco Unesco Young Environmental Awards.

In recent years, Colette  has researched and developed an interest in the Asian Hornet, and the decimation where this apex predator becomes established., Colette continues to work full-time outside the home; having trained as a social worker, she loves her work with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Colette believes that Ireland needs a fair and equal organization to promote honey bees and foster mutual respect amongst all beekeepers.  For this reason, she supports the creation of The Irish Beekeepers’ Association, CLG