The Cock Tavern (reputedly) the oldest pub in Ireland has closed its doors and is up for sale, so I had to go across the road to The Huntsman to raise my first glass of Guinness from the bottle to Dave Cushman who died 18 months ago and whose web site is still the best in the world for bee-stuff. I had spent many hours (and Euros!) with him in The Cock.
There were other absentees from those usually present, hopefully for less serious reasons. Claire Kehoe left booking too late and couldn’t get an en-suite room and was unwilling to slum it in a dorm with the hoi polloi despite me urging her by text messages. That’s 2 years running she hasn’t been now despite her previously coming on every occasion since she was 4 days old! I didn’t see her father, Tom either.
Enid Brown, the Honey Judge from Scotland, wasn’t there. Neither was Annette Remez from Denmark who often comes. I’m told she will be back next year. Ruary Rudd was absent this year, as was Brendean o’Cochlain from Galway. I wanted to ask him about beekeeping in that area as I had kept bees for a while, until badgered, near my friends’ former home in Co Kilkenny and it is in the back of my mind to do something similar in the wilds of Co. Galway.
There was no sign of Sister Catherine who delivers the most hilarious honey cookery workshops, or her colleague, Sr Dolores. I do hope they’re ok!
Dodie Dineen was there as she has been for the last 60 years but is now hobbling and needs an arm either side to get her up and down stairs. I asked about her daughter, Maraid, but she was too busy at work to come this year.
John Robb decided not to come as he is confined to a wheel chair following a flying accident and there are too many steps at Gormanston.
I was hoping to meet up with Brian o’Dochartai and go up to Newgrange to test a theory I have about the shadows cast there, but he didn’t show up. Maybe I didn’t spend enough time in the pub! He has given up beekeeping but lives nearby and keeps in touch.
I know there are others whom I missed at the time but whose names escape my brain as I’m sat at this keyboard. Looking on the bright side there were plenty of new faces which I am sure will reappear for many years to come.