The Office of Public Works (OPW) is delighted to announce that the Annual Phoenix Park Honey Show, in association with the Federation of Irish Bee Keepers Associations (F.I.B.K.A.) will take place on Sunday, 9 September 2018 from 11am in the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.

The Honey Show which brings together all aspects of bee keeping and honey making crafts is a FREE fun filled day with family activities and much more which is suitable for young and old.  Throughout the day, there will be family activities including face painting, biodiversity walks in the Victorian Walled Garden, stalls showcasing honey products and the food in the Phoenix Park Cafe will have a distinctive honey theme.

The Phoenix Park is the ideal location to explore the ancient craft of bee-keeping and to showcase the end result that we all enjoy.  The Park provides an oasis for our pollinators and our wildlife and the OPW is committed to protecting habitats and species.  There are over 17 hives spread throughout the Park and these are managed sustainably by the OPW gardeners.  The OPW have embraced the need to preserve and promote this craft and have won numerous national and international honey awards.

There will be lectures and tours by OPW gardeners and guides as well as talks by experts including Professor Fergus Kelly, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and Peter Cuthbert, BSc Agri (Horticulture).  The Honey Exhibitions will be open to the public at 11am after the judging of exhibits has been completed.




  • A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
  • The bee’s brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
  • A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
  • The role of the queen bee is to fill the hive with eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, she lays up to 2,500 eggs per day.
  • Larger than the worker bees, the male honey bees (also called drones), have no stinger and do no work at all. All they do is mating. In fact, before winter or when food becomes scarce, female honeybees usually force surviving males out of the nest.
  • Only worker bees sting, and only if they feel threatened and they die once they sting. It is estimated that 1100 honey bee stings are required to be fatal.
  • To produce one pound of, beeswax six to eight pounds of honey are ingested.
  • In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.
  • A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • Honey contains all of the substances needed to sustain life, including enzymes, water, minerals and vitamins
  • Honey is the only food to contain ‘pinocembrin’, an antioxidant that improves brain function
  • One bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon on honey in its entire life
  • Many plants rely on insects like bees in order to be pollinated; which is why they provide nectar to say thanks
  • Each colony smells different to bees, this is so they can tell where they live!
  • It would take 1,100 bees to make 1kg of honey and they would have to visit 4 million flowers
  • The queen bee will lay around 1,500 eggs a day
  • Bees have two separate stomachs; one for food and another just for nectar
  • Bees have been around for more than 30 million years
  • Bee keepers only take the honey that the bees do not need, but this can be as much as 45kg from one hive!
  • There are lots of different types of honey which taste different depending on the flowers used to make it
  • The term “honeymoon” is derived from an old northern European custom in which newlyweds would consume a daily cup of mead, made with fermented honey, for a month.
  • During World War I, honey was used to treat the wounds of soldiers because it attracts and absorbs moisture, making it a valuable healing agent.
  • Honey never spoils. Ever.
  • Sadly, over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains unknown. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared
  • Ireland has 98 bee species: 1 honeybee, 20 bumble bees and 77 solitary bees.
  • The queen lives 2 – 3 years as opposed to the 6 – 8 weeks like the workers. The queen is made, rather than born. Potential queen bees will fight to the death until there is one queen remaining.


To interview Meeda Downey, Head Gardener with the Phoenix Park and Secretary to the Honey Show or for further information, please contact OPW Client Services & Communications Unit at 087 947 5552 or at

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