Denis O’Sullivan

Denis O'Sullivan

Denis O'Sullivan

Denis O’Sullivan,

Denis O’Sullivan is a second-generation beekeeper born into a small farm in a townland named Insebuí in the Dromid Gaeltacht near Waterville in Southwest Kerry.

My father is still farming with my older brother there and they still keep a few hives. Bee foraging in this beautiful exposed rugged landscape is predominantly heather on the bogs and the hillsides. The two other main sources are bramble and gorse. The latter two are quickly declining due to modern farming and hedge cutting. We never extracted honey at home growing up just kept taking ‘robbing’ frames (often one by one) of honey from the supers and cutting the comb from the frames.

Today I live with my wife and our four boys aged between 14 and 8. The only livestock we have are the bees! We live in Killarney near my wife’s family farm in equally beautiful countryside. Lifestyle is much different nowadays. From a beekeeper’s perspective life is not so simple.

When I was young I never heard of disease control or medicine. I thought swarming was the only ‘’disease’ that we should worry about. Now swarming is the only thing that has remained, and of course, we know it is the bees’ natural way to survive into the future. So, the bees have not changed. We have.

Farming methods today are only faint reflections of what was done 35-40 years ago. Gardening has also changed in many ways also. We blame the varroa or the infected bee for declining populations. Perhaps we should not look beyond ourselves when the finger of blame is being pointed for the decline in the numbers of our beloved honeybees. I am not against development and progress. I enjoy convenience and technology just as much as everybody else. Perhaps we should look at a way where wildlife could get more consideration in everyday life, after all, we a merely the caretakers of this environment for the next generation. We have admitted our failings and I welcome the rollout of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2025.

This is a great step in the right direction for our current administration. I am currently secretary of the Beaufort Beekeepers Association. Our club has just over 50 members at present (April 2021) I am excited about the IBA since the rumblings of its foundation. I am happy to be your treasurer but in truth equally anxious about my role. I feel obligated to you, our members who took a leap of faith in a new fresh open way of doing things. My wish for the IBA and its members is to do the simple things and do them well. Give power and a voice to its members regardless of their colony numbers. I believe together we are the Meitheal* that happens to be the IBA. Yes of course there will be leaders, in your association and in the company.” These same leaders are not there to tell you what to do and how you should do it. These leaders are there with you, guiding and helping you on a path that ensures your enjoyment and accomplishments as a beekeeper. Huge progress has been made by the IBA in such a short time period and its founders need to be commended for this.

“The future is bright I believe together we will achieve great things. The best is yet come.”

*Gaelic word for a group of people working together for the common good.