Carrick-on-Suir woman Bridie Power enhances family bee-keeping tradition

Shane Donnelly

Reporter:

Shane Donnelly

Bridie Power standing next to her prize winning best exhibit of the Show  for which she won the London Blue Ribbon Award
by shane donnelly

by shane donnelly

A Carrick-on-Suir woman has won The London Blue Ribbon award at the Clonmel Honey Show to add yet another prize to her family’s collection.

Bridie Power won first prize for her beautiful wax display at the South Tipperary Beekeepers Association’s annual honey show held in The Technical College in Clonmel.

Bridie said that it was lovely to win yet another award.

‘’I did very well, it’s worth it in the end but with all the hard work you’d be flat out.’’

As well as a large trophy, The London Blue Ribbon award also allows Bridie free entry to the world renowned London Honey Show in Surrey, England.

This award follows her husband Jim’s success in London when he won the ‘World Cup of honey’ in 2004 in the 24 jar class.

Bridie admits that honey making is something the family has always done.

‘’Jim has been making honey for a long time, I’m more into the wax side of things while Jim would do the production and the bottling’’.

Jim is also a honey judge and will travel to Limerick later this week to assess another competition.

The family makes a whole range of products from their ability to keep bees.

These include honey, cut comb honey, candles, beeswax, polish, sweets and wax models.

The art of honey making and beekeeping is so strong in the family that they have both passed the tradition onto their children and grandchildren.

Bridie’s daughter Irene is a qualified lecturer in bee keeping and recently lectured in Wales on ‘’Observation outside the hive’’, while her son James has also won numerous awards for honey production.

Her three grandchildren Gavin (14), Ava (8) and Kim (7) have also ensured the family’s winning ways won’t stop anytime soon.

The recent Clonmel Honey Show showcased Ava and Kim’s first step into the art of candle dipping and candle making.

The girls were both highly commended by judges for their three candles.

At a recent competition in Fota Island in Cork, Irene won two 1st prizes for sweets and medium honey, Gavin won two 2nd and a 3rd place prize for honey while James picked up a 3rd place prize in the 24 jar international category.

Bridie admits that her grandchildren are soon catching up to her.

‘’It use to always be that I’d come second and Gavin would come third. Now I’m coming third and he’s coming second!’’

Bridie says that she’s even started looking forward to next year’s show and loves the craic and comradery the show brings.

Each year on the Saturday night before the show, a special dinner is held in Raheen house for all the competitors.

‘’It is great fun talking to everyone about what you’ve made or what you’ve done. There’s some great friendships made in the competition’’.

This year’s honey show was the biggest and best attended in the history of Beekeeping in Tipperary.

It is now regarded as the best show in Ireland for showing honey, beeswax products, mead and wine making among other things.

On giving advice to anyone who might be interested in taking up the art of beekeeping, Bridie says that it’s a great hobby with lots of hard work involved.

‘’It really is a great hobby but you have to be meticulous. A lot of work goes into it. You have to extract the honey, treat it, treat the bees and then feed the bees. To be able to enter a competition or sell honey it really has to be first class.’’

Although Bridie admits she is unsure whether she’ll make the trip to London this year, she admits it’s a great day out for her family.

‘’Jim, Irene and Gavin go every year. We always have a great time. It’s like a holiday really’’.

The London Honey Show is in its 83rd year and will commence on Thursday 30th October until Saturday 1st November.

The South Tipperary Beekeepers Association represents over 100 members and is affiliated with the Federation of Irish Beekeepers.