There was a great buzz of excitement and celebration on Wednesday night when the members and friends of Ashford & District Beekeepers’ Association gathered at Wicklow Golf club to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Association.

Jean Taylor, Chairperson , welcomed the members and guests to the dinner to acknowledge the vision of the founders, enjoy current achievements and talk about  what the future holds for the Association. In welcoming the guests, Jean gave a special mention to Marian Giles, whose late husband Michael was a longtime member of the association.  “Michael was so generous with his time and knowledge throughout his time with ABKA and we are grateful to his wife Marian who so generously donated his beekeeping books, which has formed the ABKA Members’ library”.   Speaking about the what the future might look like, Jean said the Association is actively seeking a suitable site for the Association Apiary within a reasonable distance from Ashford.  “It does not have to be a big site, but does need access particularly at weekends, and just might suit a farmer , smallholding or business which owners would like to use sustainably, encouraging pollinators and biodiversity.”

Guest of Honour on the night  was Joe Good, the founding member of the association, hosting its  inaugural meeting on 12th September 1974 in the then Green Lizard in Ashford.    The objectives to promote and further the craft of beekeeping and to conserve and promote our dark native  honey bee Apis Mellifera Mellifera have not changed 50 years later but those 17 members have now risen to 170!

Introducing Joe, Tony Lyons told the guests that Joe had only been beekeeping for 80 years! “He started when he was 14 and has not stopped since.  He has been the ‘Cornerstone’ of  Ashford & District Beekeepers Association since it’s foundation 50 years ago and I often think that without his enthusiasm and dedication we would not have achieved the success we enjoy today. He has always been there to advise and encourage new members and to share his vast knowledge of the ‘Craft’ with all who show a genuine interest”.  Tony read out a letter from Pat O'Connell, who was a member since 1975, and who could not be with us on the night.  In it Pat said "becoming a member of The Association made beekeeping special. God's own people who have a natural empathy for others count strongly among its members. For my part,  Joe Good, always the true gent, bright, sharp, often self-deprecating and forever young, will always be associated with Wicklow and Irish Beekeeping".

There is no shortage of talent among the ABKA beekeepers and member Terry Meakin and his brother provided terrific music and entertainment to round off a most enjoyable evening!

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