Local beekeeper and top Dublin resort launch honeybee hotel to protect the bees

The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links and local beekeeper Seán Ó Gríofa are doing their bit for the bees by setting up a ‘honeybee hotel’ on its site. The top Dublin hotel alongside Seán will be building two special hives on the grounds to encourage the bee population to hang around.

‘We have always been interested in giving back to the environment at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links so when I attended the Dublin Convention Bureau’s Sustainability Workshop in January and heard of so many other progressive Irish companies doing their part, I knew we had to join the movement,’ Rainey Smith, Marketing Executive with the hotel told me.

‘I had been speaking with our Links Superintendent, Fintan Brennan, about starting a Beekeeping project and he was equally as keen.’

The pair reached out to friends who were part of Fingal Beekeepers Association and through those budding beekeepers, they concluded that it would be a perfect project for the hotel. As luck would have it, local beekeeper Seán Ó’Gríofa was looking for a place to set up two hives and so they invited him to view the grounds.

Local beekeeper Seán has helped choose the best locations for the hive.
View from above of Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links

‘We found a lovely spot away from the hotel grounds and links course which is perfect for a decent-sized apiary, and the rest is history!’ Rainey says.

The chosen area is secluded by fencing and shrubbery, East-facing, and is sheltered from the wind. It’s surrounded by long grass and flowering plants. There is also an area a short walk away where Seán can keep any beekeeping tools that he may need.

As pollinators, bees are essential to the planet’s wellbeing and the National Biodiversity Data Centre has previously warned that one-third of Ireland’s bee species face extinction because of how we’ve altered our landscapes. To go ahead with this kind of project was a no-brainer for the staff at Portmarnock.

‘Helping the environment through biodiversity is the number one goal here, bees are fundamental to the environment and without them our future is dire,’ Rainey says.

‘Eventually, we would love to learn from Seán and have our own hives beside his. We would love to have four active hives by Spring 2021, two of which are creating our own honey that can be served to our guests in the hotel at breakfast. I think that would really add a special touch of Irish hospitality that would really warm the hearts of the guests who join us here.’

‘We have also been speaking with teachers from Portmarnock schools who have started their own bee initiatives so I would love to include more community projects that helped our youth in the area understand that bees aren’t scary, they’re our friends! We have to speak to Seán about this and make sure that the bees won’t mind, but we were hoping to put up a PHGL Bee-Cam near the hive so that people could log-on and check out what was happening at the hives and watch Seán do his thing!’

Understandably, this project is the hotel’s main focus at the moment however the hotel is also aware of their environmental impact within the building.

‘We already have quite a few smaller initiatives in place within the building like; exchanging all plastic straws to paper, offering guests the choice not to refresh their towels each day to save water, switching as many chemicals we can to a bio or organic substitution and staff incentive projects to recycle properly and to bring reusable water bottles and mugs to work.’

You can follow their beekeeping journey on Facebook here.

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I'm a freelance content creator and a journalist who has a strong desire to do as much as possible in the time I've got left on this planet. I got a taste for storytelling when I interned in Storyful many moons ago and since then have worked for places like WorldIrish (now Irish Central), Her.ie and Lonely Planet. I am constantly curious.

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