I wrote a similar text in 2000, and I have been fortunate
enough to make another visit this year.
This is a personal view and diary of the proceedings, but
it is intended to show a general picture for those that are unaware
of the event.
On Monday lunchtime, Brian O'Dochartai was waiting for me
at Dublin Airport, which made the transfer to the college both easy
and pleasant. By 1:30 PM, I had picked up my envelope and paid the
balance of my fee. A brief wait for the photo (for the ID card that
is required, whilst in the college) and the formalities were completed.
Monday evening is the ice breaking and speeches session
followed up by cheese and wine, making new acquaintances and renewing
old ones. Then Stan Williams, Chris Slade and myself went to the cock
tavern for liquid refreshment of the Guinness kind, we were later
joined by Brian O'Dochartai.
The first 'real' lecture, on Tuesday morning, was Norman
Carreck with an introductory slide presentation on his particular
part of the work at IACR Rothamsted. I found this interesting and
Tom Barrett's workshop 'computers in beekeeping' was next
on my particular list, but the opportunities during this week, are so
vast that practically no two person's 'lists' would be the same.
Norman Carreck's afternoon lecture consolidated what I knew
about crop changes with some additional detail about the botanical
Tuesday evening has the meeting of overseas beekeeperswhich
was closely followed by...
The meeting of BIBBA members, where Albert Knight updated us on the
latest BIBBA activities.
I have been to a number of presentations about radar
tracking of bees and I was in two minds about going to this one, but
Norman Carreck's Wednesday morning lecture was different enough to
make for an enjoyable and informative lecture. (I will put together a
ten minute presentation describing the principles involved in
'harmonic radar, for those that want to understand how or why it works.)
The afternoon was spent listening to June Hughes, talking
about and demonstrating, beeswax purification and candle making
Thursday, and we are halfway through... Varroa & viruses
from Norman Carreck followed by coffee and a quick burst of queen
rearing from Norman Hughes, completed the morning session. There was
a 'mystery tour' on Thursday afternoon, but I took the opportunity to
rest, as the hectic pace of this event takes quite a lot out of my
Postponed from the Wednesday evening the workshop on
lecturing technique, by Louise Neylin, discussed some fine tuning
that would improve the delivery for those of us that give a few
The morphometry workshop was my choice for Friday morning as
this subject is something that I have a strong affinity with.
The main lecture of the day, indeed possibly the whole
week... Was Norman Carreck's 'the possibilities of breeding varroa
tolerant bees'. Some interesting ideas, but the main thing that I
came away with was the sobering thought, that the mite can evolve
faster than the honeybee does and that any solution that is ever
reached will be to some extent unstable.
My last lecture was a revisit of the lecturing techniques
workshop that I went to on Thursday. This was not a straight repeat,
but the basic message was delivered in a different packaging. I will
have to develop this particular idea for my own lectures as it is
common for the same faces to be in the audience and I do not see why
they need be subjected to a 'repeat performance'.
On Saturday morning I was one of the audience for the
lectureship examination of Sister Mary Cathrine Duffy, her subject
'It is possible to involve young people in beekeeping'.
It was very well received by the audience and she answered the
examining panel's questions with ease, even the multi part question
from Dan Deasy.
The last official part of the event is the presentation of
prizes and certificates, the golfing prizes and general winding up of
the proceedings. For those that play golf, there is an excellent
course in the grounds of the college.
As I am not in pursuit of any qualifications I did not have
a set agenda as far as course work and so I was able to pick and
choose among the workshops and different lecture streams.
When at Gormanston, apart from the marvelous variety of
lectures and workshops there are several other informal forums...
The coffee breaks between lectures, the dinner queue and the pub in
the evening, all provide opportunities for chat.
This year my itinerary is a little different to most, owing
to poor availability of flights, I opted to stay an extra night, which
enabled a leisurely return to the UK and provided me with a much
needed 'early night'.
Next year's course starts on Monday 22nd July 2002
For further details write to:-
Co. Cork. Eire.
or phone 00353-(0)21-631011.
You will be made most welcome and I guarantee that you will
have a most wonderful time, how about attending yourself next year?
Revised... 27 October 2001, 30 April, 19 Aug 2002,
Transferred to New Domain... 02 July 2004,