At Dromoland Castle
The Bee Boles are built into the east facing wall of the garden.
A bee bole is a cavity or alcove in a wall or a separate free-standing structure set against a wall (the Scots word 'bole' means a recess in a wall). A skep, or straw beehive, was placed inside the bee bole. Before the development of modern bee hives bee boles were a practical way of keeping bees, although most beekeepers kept their skeps in the open covered by, for example, old pots, or sacking. The bee bole helped to keep the wind and rain away from the skep and the bees living inside.
The ultimate purpose of a bee skep was to house bees so that honey could be obtained; however, they were often also used to ensure pollination of fruit trees, etc. This explains why bee boles are frequently found in walled and flower gardens belonging to country houses such as Dromoland. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were the heyday of bee bole construction, and the shapes of old bee boles can be seen in walls on large country house estates throughout Ireland and Britain.
At present we have 3 beehives located on the hotel grounds which is an ideal location for honeybees. They are located near our woodland which is full of wonderful trees and an abundance of wildflowers from the walled garden and surrounding areas which provides a vital source of pollen and nectar to help support the colony who depend on same for their survival.
Dromoland Castle has joined the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and it is our aim to help reverse the decline of our native Irish honeybee and encourage corporate responsibility in the area of their environmental impact.