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Ireland’s first Black Bee Museum launches fundraising campaign on World Bee Day in Limerick

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Limerick Black Bee Museum launches fundraising campaign. The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell, His Excellency Ambassador Stanislav Vidovic, Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, Maurice Quinlivan TD, Marian Healy, Chairperson, Limerick Island Community Partners and six beekeepers from St Mary’s NS at the opening of Ireland’s first Black Bee museum in the Widow’s Alms-houses. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

Limerick buzzing into beekeeping with plans to open Ireland’s first museum devoted to protecting and showcasing The Irish Black Bee

Limerick buzzing into beekeeping with plans to open Ireland’s first museum devoted to protecting and showcasing The Irish Black Bee
Faye Rainsford, Mia Quinn and Kayleigh Considine from St Mary’s NS at the launch of fundraiser for Ireland’s first Black Bee museum. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

Limerick is tapping into a growing worldwide interest in beekeeping and the importance of bees for nature and biodiversity with plans to open Ireland’s first museum devoted to protecting and showcasing The Irish Black Bee.

The official launch of the fundraising campaign for The Irish Black Bee Museum took place today, on World Bee Day in King’s Island. The new visitor attraction will be based in the Widows’ Alms-houses in the tourism heart of King’s Island near King John’s Castle and other key tourist attractions.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Councillor Gerald Mitchell  said; ‘I welcome the exciting plans unveiled today to preserve and champion the native Irish Black Bee in the new museum.  Eco tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors and today’s visitors want to see real action to protect the natural environment and tackle climate change in the destinations they visit.


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“The Irish Black Bee Museum will have widespread appeal among bee-enthusiasts, locals, overseas & domestic visitors, school children, students, and the community of King’s Island. It will help to transform the historic core of the city and build Limerick’s appeal as a green, progressive tourist destination with a range of closely connected, engaging visitor attractions.”

The Irish Black Bee Museum aims to transform the historic, under-utilised, 17th century Widow’s Alms-houses into a rich, engaging, family-centred experience that will highlight the Irish Black Bees and their essential role as pollinators, and in agriculture, ecological balance and biodiversity.

There will be a range of multi-media exhibitions, interpretative displays, bee-keeping artefacts, and education rooms showcasing the bees, the beehives, the lifecycle of the bees and flora/fauna.  The Widows’ Alms-houses themselves have a fascinating history and were built in the 17th century to house the widows of soldiers from the nearby Castle.

Limerick Island Community Partners, developers of the Museum, recently visited the very successful National Bee Museum in Slovenia (The Museum of Apiculture), which exhibits the biology of the Carniolan grey bee, to look at their success story and learn from it.  

Its Director – Dr. Petra Bole, spoke about plans for The Irish Black Bee Museum saying; “Your vision for creating an interactive and informative space that highlights the history, culture and science of beekeeping aligns with our own goals and I am confident it will resonate with visitors. A museum dedicated to beekeeping and bee conservation can play a pivotal role in raising awareness about important global issues and inspiring people to take action to protect these essential pollinators.”

The new museum kicks off its fundraising campaign today and aims to open its doors to the public in the next two year when it hopes to attract up to 30,000 visitors per year initially. In the meantime, the Irish Black Bees are producing King’s Island honey which can be purchased at the Alms-houses off Nicholas St.

The Chair of the board of The Irish Black Bee Museum is Marian Healy (Chair of LICP) and Pat Kennedy, Manager of LICP sits on the board along with representatives from business and tourism. For more information on the project and details of how to donate or get involved, please visit Limerick Island Community Partnership.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.