Gormanston Summer School 2000
This is my personal view of a convention organised by the
Federation Of Irish Beekeeper's Associations.
Sunday 23rd July...
Being less than fully fit I decided to travel a day earlier than most.
I had instructions to travel by bus from Dublin Airport to Dublin
Central Bus Station and then take another bus to Gormanston. I
followed these instructions faithfully, but in retrospect I think I
would have been better served by taking a taxi direct from the airport
to the college. (I was almost late for the evening meal.) I was made
very welcome by Michael Woulfe and Eddie O'Sullivan, then later in
the evening I walked to the Huntsman pub and sampled a couple of
bottles of Guinness 'Extra Stout'.
Monday 24th July...
The courses & workshops do not start until the evening and so I spent
my day resting on a seat outside the college entrance, (a marvelous,
tranquil setting), performing a long overdue sort out of files on my
trusty Psion 5 pocket computer. The course was officially opened
at 7:00 pm. The speeches made by a number of people were marred
by the poor acoustics and an inadequate sound system. This shortcoming
was made good by the brilliantly delivered and subtly worded offering
from Dan Deasy. The evening was rounded off with a couple of glasses
of red wine.
Tuesday 25th July...
9:30 Francis Ratnieks, Beekeeping at
Sheffield University... I had hoped for a little more detail in this
lecture, but in any case a good overview was given.
The next lecture was not quite what I had been expecting as it dealt
with the historical development of the microscope with a few pictures
of bee bits 'thrown in'.
The DNA lecture that followed lunch was again in the form of an
overview that did not provide me with any additional information.
The 'Cock Inn' provided the evening dose of 'Extra Stout' after Tom
Barrett's talk on computers in beekeeping.
Wednesday 26th July...
The Conflict lecture seemed to finish at about my own knowledge limits.
During the afternoon I watched a candle making demonstration by June
Hughes. In the evening, after a disappointing lecture from
Dr Ratnieks, a small gang consisting of Ken Hoare, his wife
Celia, Madeleine Pym, Chris Slade & myself went to a pub (nothing
unusual about that) but we were treated to a wonderful display of
musical talent, demonstrating a natural ability to enjoy themselves
by making music and singing, they perform as a group professionally
and their variation of instruments and talent combined to produce a
Thursday 27th July...
Microscopy workshop (Redmond Williams) it was nice to get a 'hands on'
go at some of the procedures that I have not yet explored for myself
with my own microscope. The early evening was occupied by a 'Forum on
Varroa'. The cock Inn was our source of music and Guinness rations
later in the evening.
Friday 28th July...
Morphometry workshop... my main reason for attending Gormanston...
Michael Mac Goilla Coda, ably assisted by Albert Knight. They made a
good job of explaining how simple this technique really is. During the
evening I was part of the audience for the examination of Tom Barrett,
of Dublin and Tim Kidman, from the Wirrall, UK. (who both passed
Lectureship certificates). (More 'Extra Stout' at the Cock Inn.)
Saturday 29th July...
Two more Lecturers examinations:- Dr Lorna Browne, of Dublin and
Ms Ethel Irvine, of Fermanagh (who both passed). followed by the
presentation of certificates, awards and golf prizes (I am told that
the golf is good, and is almost as popular, as the bee lectures.)
Then into lunch with many good byes and pledges to meet again next
year. A pleasant afternoon was spent with four remaining Warwickshire
beekeepers that were flying back to the UK later than most and then
just before seven o'clock I was on my own. I wrote the majority of
this text... Then I had a Guinness free early night.
Sunday 30th July...
I was whisked to the airport by taxi and after an uneventful flight
I was back in the UK.
Next year (2001) the summer school runs from July 23rd to
July 28th... I can thoroughly recommend it to any beekeeper of any
degree of experience... There are a wide range of lectures and
workshops, but the feature I found most useful was the 'dinner queue'
and the cafeteria style meals, which gave rise to much stimulating
discussion and conversation.
There is also a whole range of examinations from beginner
standard up to 'lectureship' which you can study for and enter...
These qualifications are backed and recognised by educational bodies.
Before the meeting: Brian O' Dochartai via Email to the
Irish Beekeeping List told us of the saying 'Craic na mBeach' meaning
a 'Knees-Up of Bees' pronounced:- 'crack nu makk' this is a very
apt description of a very enjoyable time and I would commend it to
any beekeeper without hesitation, (male or female, four years of age
up to centenarians).
For further details write (yes snail mail type write!)
Railway House, Middleton,
Co. Cork. Eire.
I have been aware of the existence of this convention for
many years, but in the past I was not sure that it was relevant to
me... I now think that FIBKA have been 'hiding their light under a
bushel' and should perhaps have promoted it more vigorously, so that
I (and many others that still do not know about it) could have
realised earlier that it was such an important 'talking shop' and
I hope to be able to make future visits to renew the
acquaintances and friendships that I made in the millennium year.
The Irish have a saying:-
fáilte...Which means:- one hundred thousand welcomes
they certainly made me welcome... HOW ABOUT YOU NEXT YEAR?
Written... 29 July 2000, Revised... 28 October 2001
Revised... 03 June, 19 Aug 2002
Transferred to New Domain... 02 July 2004,