Gormanston INDEX
  David A. Cushman logo  

Gormanston Summer School Aims and Facilities

A convention organised by the Federation Of Irish Beekeeper's Associations (FIBKA). Here is a text from Eddie O'Sullivan that describes their aims.


Gormanston College
Annual Summer Course for Beekeepers

The Federation of Irish Beekeepers organised the first summer course for beekeepers in 1947 in University College, Cork. For many years after that the course was held at different locations throughout the country. The idea was that it would attract more of the local beekeepers that may not travel to a central venue. However as the years went by the event became more popular and attracted more and more people. This prompted the National Council to select a suitable venue that would be available each year in mid July and discontinue the practice of changing the location each year. Gormanston College Co. Meath was chosen in 1961 and ever since the summer course is held in this lovely place about thirty miles north of Dublin on the road to Belfast.

The reason for holding a summer school at all was to provide a means of teaching beekeeping to interested people of varying experience in the craft. It also affords the opportunity for beekeepers from all parts of the country to come together for discussion in pleasant surroundings and at a time of year when most people are on holidays and can travel more readily.

The programme is laid out to cater for as many aspects of the craft as possible. A group of well known Irish lecturers headed by a guest lecturer from overseas conduct the lectures and workshops during the week. The social aspect is also well catered for. Visits to places of interest in the area are arranged for one afternoon. Activities such as golf, swimming and tennis are also possible within the college precincts.

The accommodation was originally mainly cubicled dormitories as the college is a school for boys at second level education, but in more recent years the accommodation has been upgraded. The food is excellent. Most visitors to the course enjoy themselves and quite a big number come back each year. The tariff is also very reasonable for full board, lectures etc., Monday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.

Eddie O'Sullivan... Course Manager


Facsimile of brochure for 2002  

At the time that I first wrote this page I had been twice... (2000) and (2001), since then I have attended every one and it is my intention to continue my visits until death or disability make this impossible. The Gormanston Index at top left, will link you reports about each year's events and a good many supplementary pages about Gormanston on this website and others. I can thoroughly recommend anybody interested in bees and beekeeping to attend this magnificent and well organised event, no matter what their current level of beekeeping understanding is. I cannot stress this point strongly enough, until you have actually been to the FIBKA Gormanston Summer School, you will not understand how superlative this event really is and some would rate it as the best event of it's kind in the world.

The numbers vary on the different days as some may only visit on a day basis. During the early 2000s there were generally about 250 beekeepers attending, but by year (2004) attendance was rising, In 2007 the event was only 24 residents short of full capacity, so book early... Now is not too soon! You will be required to pin an ID badge on your lapel, but this is mainly part of the colleges security system and causes no inconvenience. An example of which is shown below...

Gormanston ID card   This was my ID badge for the 2001 conference.

The lecture and workshop streams vary, but have included, Microscopy, Morphometry, Wax purification, Candle making, Foundation making, Computing, Breeding Selection, Drone Assembly, Grafting, Queen rearing, Varroa and others. Much worthwhile conversation and discussion also takes place and the queue for the meals can be quite productive.

Check out the programme and book by visiting the FIBKA website. There is usually a stand taken at the BBKA Spring convention by FIBKA where you can book and pay.