First phase of new civic apiary officially opened in Brooke Park

The first phase of the Brooke Park Civic Apiary has been officially opened with a special launch ceremony by Derry & District Beekeepers Association.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:25 pm
Gary Gray, Chair of DDBKA; Mickie Harkin, DDBKA Funding Development Officer; Grainne McLaughlin, DDBKA (Green Gardeners); and Councillor Sandra Duffy, DC&SDC officially open the newly refurbished Brooke Park Civic Apiary.
Gary Gray, Chair of DDBKA; Mickie Harkin, DDBKA Funding Development Officer; Grainne McLaughlin, DDBKA (Green Gardeners); and Councillor Sandra Duffy, DC&SDC officially open the newly refurbished Brooke Park Civic Apiary.

The impressive green space in the Rosemount area of the city is now the ‘home’ of the local beekeeping enthusiasts’ group.

Derry and District Beekeepers has been in existence since 2013 and currently has around 90 members.

They hold annual training for anyone who is interesting in becoming a beekeeper and the courses, which begin every February, are normally over subscribed.

Thomas Morrison with the family of the late Billy Chambers at the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Billy, a founder member of Derry and District Beekeepers’ Association.

DDBKA were the only beekeeping group in Ireland who managed to get this years’ cohort of learners through to their exams.

Gary Gray, Chair of DDBKA, said that 19 learners sat the exam and the club had ‘to think outside the box’ to ensure all Covid restrictions were adhered to during the training and exam process.

Located at the lower end of Brooke Park with access from the top of Great James Street, the refurbished area has fully accessible pathways, a covered bee inspection area and facilities for changing and equipment storage.

Housed within one of Derry’s most lush parks, the apiary is naturally surrounded by a variety of plants making it an ideal environment for collecting nectar and pollen, the food supply of beekeeping.

The association’s main aim is to create a centre of excellence for beekeeping in Ireland, with an emphasis on education and environmental and biodiversity awareness.

DDBKA had started to do some education outreach work with local schools prior to the pandemic and hope to extend this once it is safe to do so.

The project has been part-funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and will be open to both club members and the general public, with all ages and abilities welcome.

The second phase of the exciting civic apiary development is due to commence this month and the local council has recently designated the site as a conversation area for the Irish native black bee.

A plaque in memory of the late Billy Chambers, a founding member of DDBKA, was unveiled by his family at the event which was held in Brooke Park on June 26.

Mr Chambers, a former chairperson of the association, sadly passed away in June last year.

Gary Gray said: “The official launch of the Brooke Park Civic Apiary is fantastic for beekeeping enthusiasts in and around the city.

“The first phase is only the beginning, and we are looking forward to building on the foundations laid by our late colleague Billy in welcoming a new generation of beekeepers to the apiary.”

Mr Gray said he hopes that with the new fully accessible apiary, people who previously never thought they couldn’t get involved in beekeeping will be encouraged to take it up.

For more information on the project, or if you would like to get involved in beekeeping, visit the website at https://www.derryanddistrictbeekeepers.com/ or email [email protected]