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Gormanston Summer School 2006

Gormanston Castle Frontage, Photo... Richie Moran

There is a list of related pages above left, my friend Chris Slade wrote an article about his journey to the 2005 conference, this was originally intended for the magazine Ireland's Own and this can be read Here. I found another article on www.balbriggan.net that was only published as an image of a press cutting from 20th June 1946, so I have taken the liberty of re-coding it as a webpage... It is titled "Places on Parade". Another Gormanston article, from the pen of Claire Chavasse, editor of the GBBG newsletter 'The Four Seasons'. An overview of Gormanston Summer School is linked here.

Sunday 23rd July

In order to rest before the conference proper starts and partly due to the availability of flights to Ireland from UK, I travelled on Sunday afternoon, arriving at Dublin a few minutes after Kathy Cox, who had come from California via Gatwick. We had arranged all of this in advance via Email and had expected to take a bus to Gormanston cross and then pick up a taxi at the 'Huntsman' pub.

  Kathy Cox at Gormanston Summer School 2006

Our plans were thwarted when large amendments to the bus schedule meant that there were no buses available after we landed. The Federation of Irish Beekeepers came to our rescue in the form of two stalwart Federation men, Eddie O'Sullivan and Seamus Reddy, who arrived to pick us up. It was touch and go for a few moments as to whether we could get Kathy's folding wheelchair into the boot, but it went in along with all the bags and suitcases.

  Eddie O'Sullivan at Gormanston Summer School 2006, Photo... Richie Moran   Seamus Reddy at Gormanston Summer School 2006
Reception at the Franciscan College Gormanston Siberia Door Nameplate at the Franciscan College Gormanston, Photo... Richie Moran We arrived at the Franciscan College and were greeted warmly by Michael Woulfe and his wife Kathleen, they gave us our envelopes and we then obtained the keys to our rooms from the office, where I also picked up a parcel that I had sent ahead from the UK with heavy printed papers that I could not have carried along with my luggage... My allocated room turned out to be in the group of rooms known as 'Siberia' which has a reputation for being cold, I was glad of this as we were in the middle of a considerable heat wave. After exchanging a few words with staff and various beekeepers that I have come to know well over the years, extracting a couple of packets of crisps and a can of diet coke from the vending machines in the basement, I turned in for the night.

Dining hall monitoring of ID cards Year 2006 Gormanston ID card

Monday 24th July

I was first in the queue for breakfast which is at 8.00 O'clock sharp. This year's photograph for the identity card was as light as last year's was dark, do not let the image at right fool you... I have edited it somewhat ! The identity card is also your meal ticket if you are a resident, as each person entering the dining hall is recorded, using the room number on the card, this in turn helps the college to sort out The numbers for billing purposes and stops any interlopers gaining a free meal. During Monday there is a steady stream of new arrivals that becomes an avalanche at about tea time. Many greetings, with both old and new acquaintances take place throughout the day.

John Robb and Chris Slade in The Cock Tavern The Opening Ceremony at seven O'clock was over fairly quickly as it started on time, one sad feature was the absence of Dan Deasy who died just after Apimondia last year.

Monday evening was my first opportunity to visit the pub, in company with John Robb, who managed to make it at the last minute owing to a change in plans. John is the owner of a light aircraft G-BUZT, a picture of which can be seen at the bottom of the Globe Swift page on the part of my website that deals with model aircraft.

Dave Cushman with the the last slide of his presentation on the screen, Photo... David Blackwood

Tuesday 25th July

A departure from lectures for me on the Tuesday this year as I had two lectures of my own to deliver in the workshop stream. These were not on beekeeping, which is my usual lecturing subject, but dealt with the construction of effective, high visibility websites, under the title Websites 'R' easy, the two lectures following on from one another in that part one deals with what a website is and part two took a detailed look at the template that I use for my beekeeping web pages. The lecture notes are available on the computing section of my site as... Part 1 and Part 2.

David Blackwood, who was on his first visit to Gormanston, was in the audience and took the photo at right, the picture shows the final slide of an otherwise rather boring presentation, which alludes to my liking for the bottled variety of Guinness and may well represent the only humour in the lecture.

I also took the opportunity of visit David Lee in room 16, in order to renew my subscription to 'An Beachaire' (The Irish Beekeeper) magazine. This is an excellent read and always raises my spirits, when it pops through my letterbox.

BIBBA meeting at Gormaston Summer School 2006 Two meetings occur on the Tuesday evening the first of these is the BIBBA meeting and the second is a get together of overseas visitors.

Attendance at this Gormanston meeting of BIBBA is very high with a strong contingent from the GBBG as well.

Richard Ball about to start the lecture John Donoghue, Photo... James Power

Wednesday 26th July

I attended Richard Ball's IPM lecture in the morning and during the afternoon I watched John Donoghue using carpentry methods to make beehives. John has great skill as a carpenter, which I can appreciate more than most as I have had a bee hive manufacturing business myself. Although the end result is a bee hive in both cases, there are not many similarities between the two methods... John makes a brood box or super in one go from start to finish, but a bee hive manufacturer has to provide a kit of parts that a non-expert woodworker can assemble without too much difficulty, but still achieve the desired accuracy of shape and size that a skilled craftsman like John regards as a trademark of his craft.

As usual we all gathered on the front steps of the college at lunchtime for the group photograph.

The evening lecture by Richard Ball was titled beekeeping in Malta and gave some fascinating insights into what goes on in that country.

This evening lecture clashes with the Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Associations congress (effectively their AGM). After hearing many rumours, I still have not found the reason behind the lack of activity on the FIBKA website.

Michael Collier of BIIG Redmond Williams, Photo... James Power

Thursday 27th July

I have a firm commitment to the propagation of knowledge about instrumental insemination, so on the Thursday morning I attended Redmond Williams' (left picture on the right!) workshop on that subject, it was quite crowded, with much interest shown. Michael Collier (next to Redmond) is also a competent instrumental inseminator. Roger Patterson (bottom left) managed it first time.

Redmond Williams demonstrates at the teaching microscope   Two more Gormanston attendees at the microscope
Roger Patterson at the microscope   Kathy Cox at the insemination microscope

The afternoon of Thursday is the time when the bus trip occurs, I normally catch up on my missed sleep at this point in the week, but this year I spent some time taking photographs in order to learn how to use a new camera.

Another Evening lecture on Thursday... This is a new feature that is hoped will become permanent, it is a lecture dedicated to Dan Deasy and was attended by members of his family. The hot weather and delay in starting contrived to spoil this a little, but I hope it will go forward for the future as Dan did a great deal for Irish Beekeeping.

Friday 28th July

Meetings with various people took up most of my Friday, but I did get to John McMullan's lecture on Acarine in the afternoon.

As there was nobody attempting the lectureship examination, either on the Friday evening or the Saturday morning, a few went home early.

Saturday 29th July

Eddie and Michael lurking, ready to give their speaches

I had a brief meeting with Pádraig Whelan in the morning and then attended the closing ceremony and prize presentation. Beekeeper of the year 2006, Dennis Ryan, Photo... Jim Ryan This year the award for 'Beekeeper of the Year' went to Dennis Ryan (left). Lunch involves shaking hands with many acquaintances that I see only a few times per year. The building rapidly empties during the early afternoon and the next group of occupants start to arrive... This year being the same group that followed us last year, they are drama enthusiasts and their overall title is Stageworks. I met some of these people last year and they noticed my name on my ID card. I was surprised by them knowing my name, but the reason is simple... They know their system by the term 'Gormanston Summer School' and when they put that into a search engine they get a great many pages that I have written on the beekeeping version of the summer school. I just shows that my method of writing web pages is many times more effective than the methods used by the majority of web editors.

Sunday 30th July

Dublin airport snack bar Not Really part of the Summer School, but has become a feature of all of my trips so far. This will have to change in future as the college now have less rooms available than before the upgrades to the accommodation, and this year my extra day caused a minor problem for them to find a room as the incoming Stageworks group starts on the Saturday. In the past, I usually have had difficulty obtaining flights at convenient times and so I have taken the easy way out and travelled the day after the course finishes.

This year found myself and Kathy Cox as 'hangers on' as her flight was not until Sunday as well. We had a leisurely breakfast among the animated creatures that inhabit Stageworks, returned or room keys and booked a taxi to take us to the bus stop. We were helped onto the bus by one of the monks who had been on a course in a separate part of the college. Once in the airport Kathy had to check in as her flight was imminent and we said our good byes with a promise to meet again next year. I had a few more hours to kill so I went to the upper storey of the airport and had a sandwich meal while keeping an eye on the row of monitors that give flight information. My time to check in came and I completed all the formalities and was back at East midlands before expected due to following winds of high speed. I was collected by a friend, who delivered me home and Gormanston Summer School was over for another year... Apart from attending to the construction of this page, which has been spliced in between all of the items that I have had to deal with in the 1,300 Email backlog that awaited me.

A Few Photos of 2006

Examination in progress, David Lee and Aengus, Photo... Richie Moran Claire and Redmond
BIBBA queen rearing demonstration, Photo... Richie Moran Brian O'Dochertai and John Burgess
The Cock Tavern Gormanston, Friday Evening, James Power and Donal O'Riordan Instrumental Insemination Workshop at Gormanston Summer School
David Lee and Kathy Cox, Photo... Richie Moran Aengus and Chris, Cock Tavern Gormanston
Talking in the corridor, Photo... Richie Moran Ruary enjoying himself
Two old stagers, Photo... Richie Moran John Burgess and Richard Ball
Graham Squire, Leicestershire and Rutland BKA Kathy and John in the dinner Queue Brian Dennis
Pádraig Whelan Discusing purchases in the corridor, John Getty, Richie Moran and Finola Walsh Annette Remez from Denmark
Talking in the foyer Brendan booking in the candidates for the exams
Brother Colm Kennedy Discussion in corridor, Christine Grey and David Lee Claire Kehoe giving Bees For Development Presentation, Photo... Chris Slade
Dave Cushman, Contrived photo by Chris Slade, entitled 'what a way to hide a beer gut' Candidates, including Kathy Cox, waiting in the rain for Preliminary Pracical Examinations, Photo... Chris Slade

Next Year

Margaret Thomas NDB, Photo... Bee Farmers The 2007 Gormanston Summer School will be starting Monday July 23rd and runs to Saturday July 28th, when the guest lecturer will be Margaret Thomas NDB. When further information is released, the web page for Gormanston 2007 will become live with links to the programme and how to get there.

For details and booking write to:-

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

Email Contact can be made via...
Eddie O'Sullivan
  Michael Woulfe... Course convener, Photo, Jon Cox

With increasing numbers attending and as the rooms have been upgraded there are fewer beds available than there was before. You are advised to book early (now is not too soon) Send a deposit of €50 or more to Michael to ensure your place. I made a deposit for 2007 before I left and I gather a great many others did so as well.