St Gobnait Harry Clarke WindowSt. Gobnait’s Feast Day, lover of bees and our favourite saint 🐝 is on 11th February and is a busy day in Ballyvourney where she founded her abbey.

St. Gobnait is Ireland’s patron saint of bees and beekeeping. Did you know that bees were highly prized in medieval times and Gobnait developed a life long affinity with bees?

Bees are central to all we do at Kinsale Mead Co. and we strive to educate people about the plight of our fuzzy stripy friends by working with the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. For many of us the lockdowns have given us a new appreciation for the wildlife outside our front door. It is hoped that particularly wild bee populations which have been decimated in recent years due to loss of biodiverse habitat, use of harmful pesticides and other pollutants, will “be able to make shorter and more profitable shopping trips” due to reduced traffic and pollution as we have had to stay home. Read more here https://www.bbc.com/…/article/20200506-why-lockdown-is-help… and check out the All Ireland Pollinator Plan to find out how you can #savethebees at https://pollinators.ie/. We hope you will join us in helping our pollinators to survive and thrive.

Honey Bee on Orange Blossom

St Gobnait’s story is an inspiration to all us bee lovers. She was born in County Clare in the 6th century and fled due to a family feud. An angel appeared one day and told her to head inland to find the place of her resurrection which would be marked by 9 white deer. Her journey south is marked by churches and holy wells dedicated to her. She was met with white deer of varying numbers but it was only when she reached Ballyvourney in County Cork that she found 9 deer grazing on the hill.

In Celtic lore it was believed that the soul leaves the body as a bee or butterfly and so bees were held in high regard. She developed a lifelong affinity with bees and added beekeeping to her life’s work.

Many tales survive today where Gobnait and her bees save the day. The most well known of these inspired renowned Irish artist Harry Clarke to create a stunning stain glass piece which still hangs in the Honan Chapel in University College Cork today. The Chapel holds a special place in Kate and Denis’ hearts as it is where they were married many years ago.

If you would like to find out more about Ireland’s fascinating history of bees and honey, sign up to our occasional newsletter and be the first to hear about our next online mead talk and tasting at http://eepurl.com/gI_Sq9

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