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Gormanston Summer School 2001

I wrote a similar text in 2000, and I have been fortunate enough to make another visit this year.

Details of how to get to Gormanston have been added to this website since this page was written and can be reached on this link.

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 and encourage any that have never been themselves.

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 informative.

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 side.

Tuesday evening has the meeting of overseas beekeepers which 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 in her workshop, talking about and demonstrating, beeswax purification and candle making techniques.

Thursday, and we are halfway through... Varroa and 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 feeble frame.

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 lectures.

The morphometry workshop was my choice for Friday morning as this subject is something that I have a strong affinity with and would wish to promote more widely in UK.

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 Catherine Duffy, her subject was...

'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 many 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:-

Michael Woulfe,
Railway House,
County Cork. Eire.
or phone 00353-(0)21-631011.

Email Contact can be made via...
Eddie O'Sullivan

You will be made most welcome and I guarantee that you will have a most wonderful time, how about attending yourself next year?