Originally titled… MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN – SPRING 2005

The 2004 A.G.M. of the G.B.B.G. was held in the Band Room Cahir on Sunday 23rd January 2005.

Castar na daoine ar a cheile ach ni castar na cnuic ar na sleibhte.
The people meet each other, but the hills and the mountains never meet.


This is one of the most important events of the year for GBBG. The attendance continues to grow each year. There were 45 members present this year. They deserve the highest praise for their support in the work of Bee Improvement. Members came from all parts of Munster, Leinster and Ulster, from south-west Kerry to Down and Antrim. There was a special welcome for the President of the Ulster Beekeepers’ Association. The attendance included most of the officers of FIBKA.


Amongst the handouts distributed at the AGM were copies of the Hive Record form in use by GBBG for the recording of behavioural characteristics at each colony inspection. It is essential that all members keep records of their colonies and at the end of each season submit a summary of the results to James Power on the Colony Appraisal forms, samples of which were also handed out. It is hoped that members who have consistently recorded their colonies’ behaviour and sent in the Colony Appraisals to James will be rewarded, possibly with an I.I. breeder queen.

We must thank James for his dedicated work in co-ordinating these returns over the years. His well presented book of Colony Appraisals for the year 2003 was on display at the AGM. About 300 colonies are represented in this record from 2003. Hopefully this figure will be doubled for the year 2004 when all the records have been processed. After his first year as Treasurer Jim Ryan deserves our thanks for the clear and precise manner in which he presented his annual report. Thankfully the current balance was such that there was no necessity for an increase in the annual subscription.


Thanks also to Dennis Ryan our Secretary for his full and comprehensive report on the activities of the group during 2003 and his faithful recording of the minutes of the AGM’s for many years past. He has also kept the minutes of the meetings of the working committee and he has watched the group’s membership grow from strength to strength during his term of office; Dennis has been very active in all functions pertaining to the various activities of GBBG especially the annual work days in the Dun Aonghusa breeding apiary and bee garden as well as the study group over the past three years. He will be remembered far and wide by visiting beekeepers as well as GBBG members for that special atmosphere which the enchanting music of his pipes has added to our many outdoor events. We hope that he will continue to provide this rare and wonderful addition to our outdoor activities in the future.  


We enjoy the accommodation facilities of the Band Room through the good will of the Cahir Brass Band and the good offices of Redmond who is a long standing member of the band. Redmond looked after the catering at the AGM; unfortunately our programme was so full that there was scarcely sufficient time for that very important part of the day’s proceedings namely a relaxing chat over a cup of tea and the renewal of friendships. This annual gathering of single minded bee breeders takes place in the friendliest of atmospheres. As well as reviewing the past year it affords us the opportunity to reawaken our enthusiasm to strive towards producing a better bee and better beekeeping conditions for Irish beekeepers.


Jacob Kahn delivered a presentation which comprised of a very lucid synopsis of a paper which had been published recently by Annette Bruun Jensen of the University of Copenhagen. The paper was entitled “Varying degrees of Apis mellifera ligustica introgression in protected populations of the black honeybee. Apis mellifera mellifera in northwest Europe.” This paper was based on comprehensive research over the past years on samples of Dark Bees selected from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland. The fifty Irish samples collected at random by members of GBBG throughout Munster and Leinster were found to be particularly pure with only very slight hybridisation from the Italian bee in a small number of samples. We have been promised a more detailed report on the Irish samples in the near future. Jacob, who has also carried out morphometric measurements on the Irish samples, illustrated a number of unusual types of wing venation which he is interested in studying and which may form part of a research project for our members during 2005.


Ruary Rudd explained in detail the important legal requirements which are necessary today in order to satisfy the various clauses of the current E.U. regulations where the labelling of honey for sale is concerned. We are indebted to Ruary for the amount of time and energy he has put into this aspect of our craft. He has printed out and circulated to all members a simple, precise and informative leaflet to cover these essential points in a very readable and easily understood format.


May I take this opportunity to welcome our newly elected Secretary, Michael Maunsell. To those of you, who attend the various activities of GBBG, visit Gormanston, or the Irish Honey Shows, Michael is no stranger. He has been especially active in the various functions of GBBG and has hardly ever missed a session of our Study Group. This entails a long journey, but has proved productive as he gained first place in Ireland in the Intermediate Exam last year. On behalf of all our members may I wish Michael many productive and fulfilling years as Secretary of our bee improvement group. I would like to wish all members of the group success in the coming beekeeping season.

Text by Micheál Mac Giolla Coda, Chairman GBBG