Launch of Wexford's first Festival of Honey
A buzz is building about Johnstown Castle's first Festival of Honey taking place over the last weekend of September.
Visitors will learn all about the castle's native Irish bees, get a chance to see them in action and taste delicious local raw honey.
The festival set against a backdrop of a newly-opened visitor centre, aims to highlight the value of Irish honey in terms of food and medicine and illustrate the links between bees and biodiversity.
'You'll discover why the native bees that have thrived for centuries in Johnstown Castle will form the frontline in the battle to protect European biodiversity', said Johnstown Castle General Manager Brenda Comerford.
'You'll also learn how to protect our bees so they can pollinate the food that Wexford is famed for', she said.
The festival is part of the national Taste the Island initiative by Fáilte Ireland and will feature bee and honey focused workshops, demonstrations, mead tasting and a bee trail through Johnstown Castle's ornamental gardens, suitable for all ages.
Brenda said that almost every nation on earth has a national honey festival, but Ireland, a European centre for apiary research, doesn't.
Johnstown Castle is the perfect setting, she added, as it is also an internationally important centre of food science research.
'Wexford has a rich culinary heritage and is known as the Model County for its exceptional farming and food heritage dating back thousands of years, with beekeeping one of the links to its celebrated Norman past.
The wild native Irish black bee hives at Johnstown originated in the battlements of the castle and according to Brenda, are part of a national scientific study into the management of Irish black bees without any pesticides.
'Our delicious raw honey, harvested and bottled on site, reflects the biodiversity of our gardens and wild spaces', she said.
'One out of every three bites of food, from vegetables to fruits and edible oils, are a direct result of pollination services, and we would love to collaborate with food producers and providers across Wexford's food networks', said Brenda.