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Gormanston Summer School 2009

 Federation Of Irish Beekeeper's Associations 

Federation of Irish Beekeeper's Association's annual Gormanston Summer School, a report with pictures, of the events, meetings, lectures and social gatherings of the event that took place in 2009.

Panarama of Gormanston Castle and college, Photo... John Burgess
This magnificent panoramic view was stitched together from several images by John Burgess.

A change that happened in 2008 and has been repeated in 2009... You will notice on the brochure... tea and coffee at 10.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. each day. This was been brought in to reduce queuing for coffee or tea causing long delays. The college will lay out the coffee and tea on the tables in the downstairs (basement) area. This proved to speed things up and reduce congestion between lectures.

A note about currency... Ireland uses the Euro and travellers from foreign lands are advised to obtain some Euros before arriving as they will be needed for bus, train and taxi services to get you to the college. On arrival at the college a deposit of €22 is required by the college when obtaining your room or dormitory key, €20 of this is refundable on returning the key when you leave.

Those intending to gain their preliminary certificate at this event can download and print the syllabus.

ID card 2009

This year's conference started early for me... Twenty to three on Sunday morning 19th July. I had arranged to travel with a fellow Leicestershire and Rutland Beekeeper by the name of John Clarke, our booking was revised by Ryanair from midday on the Sunday to the rather early time of 6.35 am. For me to travel across Leicestershire and leave my van at John's house, while one of his family took us to the airport, meant that I had to start the proceedings at 2.40 am.

A further complication due to a rule change by Ryanair that meant online check in was not available for me as I had no valid passport (I have used my photo driving licence since my passport expired in 2004). That meant paying an extra twenty pounds for the privilege of airport check in.

An early start means an early arrival in Dublin, so by 8.00 am we were sitting in the airport having negotiated a very long walk from the terminal, the first bus was not until 9.00 am and so John took the time to replenish the toiletries that had been confiscated by East Midlands Security.

As the Airport bus stop for the service 101 seems to change position quite often we made the short walk to the bus stop at Atrium Road and found a double decker waiting at the stop for its first journey of the day.

The bus stop at Gormanson Cross Sunday traffic is not very busy and so we were dropped at the Gormanston cross bus stop after only about 35 minutes journey time and then we walked to the back door of the college, arriving there a few minutes after 10.00 am (it will only take a fit person five minutes or so to walk this distance). The staff at the college are always welcoming, even when people arrive early, and we were soon sitting down with a tray of coffee. After A lunch of bacon and sausage, John and myself spent the rest of the afternoon either sitting in the sun or dodging the rain as both were plentiful and strong.

The conference does not actually start until Monday evening, but the Irish Federation organisers gradually arrive during Sunday afternoon and I was able to find out my assigned room number, which happened to be the same as last year... Siberia 2 as can be seen from the facsimile of my ID card Above right. The corridors of Gormanston college echoed once again to the sound of the Heidelberg shuffle as I traversed the long walk through the east wing, but the beat was a little slower this year.

Monday 20th
This was taken up with getting the photo for the ID card and meeting many arrivals as they came in during the day, some of whom I only get to meet at Gormanston, the meals were delicious as usual and the ball was set rolling in the evening with the opening ceremony and the associated addresses by various politicians and FIBKA exec. members. Monday evening was spent in the company of Sandra Unwin in the coffee dock as my heart disease would not allow me to partake of the brown fluid dispensed at the Cock Tavern.

Tuesday 21st
Celia Davis lecturing I started the morning by visiting the presentation of Steve Rowe, about his Rose one size box hives The main feature of this that I liked was the use of spindle-moulded profiled section for the end plates of each box. I followed this by a trip to the basement to purchase a nice cold can of diet coke from the shop run by Elaine, but you could have tea or coffee without cost if you desired (it is part of your course fee). I had intended to go to Celia Davis' lecture on communication and control, but as I was about to embark on the journey across to the assembly hall the heavens opened and a severe downpour resulted in me changing my mind. The lunch was a chicken burger in a bun that some found a little dry, but I enjoyed mine.

The early part of the afternoon was occupied by some chores, including paying my subs for the magazine 'An Beachaire' as well as paying a deposit for next year's conference. After another can of diet coke in the basement I managed to get to Celia's afternoon lecture entitled food for thought. The evening was started by attendance at the meeting for BIBBA members after which a trip was made to the Cock Tavern and one pint of Guinness was consumed, but thereafter I was limited to port for my tipple.

Wednesday 22nd
Raury and his 'T' shirtThis year marked the return of microscopy to the workshop system and I spent the early part of the morning visiting Ruary and Bea in their workshop on pollen analysis, Ruary makes a brilliant leader for this type of workshop as his excellent microscopy skills are second to none and can put many professionals to shame. Ruary is one of my first ports of call when I need to sort out a problem with my own microscope technique. Ruary made the comment last year that he had been included on my Gormanston report page every year since I started using photographs and so this year I took the time to take a picture of him and the 'T' shirt that he is famous for.

The second half of the morning was taken up with John McMullan's presentation on Darwin... Evolution and the Apis Genus. There was a group photo organised just before lunch, but as I had taken part in every such occasion since the year 2000 I decided to keep my place in the lunch queue, for what turned out to be a meal of very high quality steak.

The first half of the afternoon was devoted to my friend Roger Patterson's evaluation of queen performance. after a quick coke in the basement I was off again to a very animated lecture delivered by Simon Rees on the subject of honey bee flight. Another wholesome meal was consumed and it was time for the Dan Deasy memorial lecture, this year delivered by Simon Rees, his subject being Langstroth. the evening was rounded off by a trip to the Cock Tavern and the consumption of some more port.

Thursday 23rd
I spent the first portion of the morning visiting the rooms occupied by the trade stands. For a change I substituted coffee for my normal coke in the basement and followed this up with Celia Davis' challenges in beekeeping. The afternoon of Thursday is always taken up by a bus trip to some place or other, but my inability to walk very far precludes such a trip, so I sat in the beekeepers lounge and dozed a little. As it was 'Bingo night' at the Cock we went to the other pub for a change and supped a couple of ports there.

Friday 24th
The penultimate day, how time flies when you are enjoying yourself, I consumed my normal breakfast of a single weetabix and a couple of glasses of orange juice. I cannot remember exactly all of what I was doing the first part of the morning, but a visit to the honey show was part of it. The second half was devoted to the lecture on a new approach to beekeeping by Roger Patterson. After another excellent lunch I went to Gerald Williams' lecture on nucs and the final formal lecture was Celia Davis on Bee Bistros. The evening meal was fish and chips and it was very nice.

In three out of the last ten years we have managed to exhaust the supplies of bottled Guinness at the Cock Tavern, but this year I was only drinking port, but they managed to run out of that and so Jameson was my alternative tipple.

Saturday 25th
John Burgess receiving his certificate from Dennis Ryan9.30 saw an audience perched on the benches of the video room, where Joe Kelly went through the ordeal of the lectureship examination. All that was left was the wash up session, and presentation of prizes. Unbeknown to me my friend John Burgess had entered for the preliminary exam and you can see him here receiving his certificate.

Both Michael Woulfe and Eddie O'Sullivan stepped down from the posts of course convenor and course manager respectively, both after many years of fine service, which sets a high standard for all who follow. Michael's wife Kathleen has also been a diligent and helpful worker.

Attendance was good, but many faces were missing from previous years

Next Year's Summer Course (2010) starts on Monday 26th and runs to Saturday 31st July, 2010 at the Franciscan College, Gormanston, County Meath

Dr. Dewey M. Caron The Guest Lecturer will be Dr. Dewey M. Caron

Dewey Caron is emeritus Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.

He has published five beekeeping books, numerous book chapters, over seventy scientific publications and over 300 popular articles on bees and insects. He contributes to many local/regional/national bee newsletters and serves as US editor for BEE CRAFT America, a new electronic venture of BEE CRAFT.

Send your reservation form with deposit or full fee to:

Gerry Ryan, Deerpark
Dundrum, County Tipperary
Tel: 00353 (0)62 71274 or 00353 (0)87 1300751
Email: ryansfancy@gmail.com

Early booking is essential as there are only limited numbers of rooms available
Closing date for bookings is Friday 23rd July 2009, Cheques to be made payable to F.I.B.K.A, Cancellations to reach course Convenor at least 7 days before opening day otherwise cancellations and non-attendance will be subject to a cancellation fee.

Here are a few images that give the flavour of the event and an idea of what the college looks like.

Dennis at the opening ceremony   The minister is also a beekeeper   The Huntsman pub at Gromanston Cross
The BIBBA meeting   The collage staircase as it leads up from the foyer
Simon Lecturing   The opening ceremony
Occasionally a technical hitch occurs   The basement shop
Presentation Session   Coffee being served in the basement   Joe Kelly lecturship examination
Coffee time is also time for a chat   Chris is always  chatting up the young ladies   Mary Ryan's wax entry
The usual suspects waiting for thje lecture to begin
The lectureship examining panel   Coffee being served in the basement   Jim receiving his certificate
John is Beekeeper of the year   The shop girls   Mick and Eddie

I hope to see you all next year !

Printed from Dave Cushman's website Live CD version