On Saturday, June 25th 2005, a man from Monaghan endeavoured to make it into the Guinness Book Of World Records. The record-breaking attempt featured live on Mooney Goes Wild, and the man at the centre of all the buzz was our very own bee expert, Philip McCabe. From that moment on, he became known as 'The Beeman'. Fast forward twelve years, and Philip is now President of Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeeper's Associations (www.apimondia.com).
In this brand new documentary, Philip travels with presenter and producer Derek Mooney to the places that influenced and formed him, from the post office in Newbliss, Monaghan, that was his childhood family home, to Louth where we meet Philip's wife Mary. Along the way, Philip regales us with tales of growing up in the border town, and his father's role in the War of Independence, to his early days of beekeeping during the Troubles. We find Philip back at school, at the Presentation School Primary School in Drogheda, as he captivates the next generation with stories about the importance of bees. We hear about how he overcame the pain of losing his daughter-in-law and grandson, and the solace he finds in the church choir. And we learn about how his involvement as President of Apimondia has seen him travel from Kazakhstan to Dubai to Tehran, addressing politicians, presidents and princes, helping explain to those at the very highest level why we need to do all we can to protect the world's bee populations...
Left: Philip in the Mooney Goes Wild studio with Eanna ni Lamhna, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Derek Mooney; Right: inspecting the beehives
Visiting pupils at Presentation Primary School, Drogheda, in his beekeeping (or Sherriff) suit
Left: Philip back in Monaghan, heading for his childhood village of Newbliss; Right: outside the former Post Office in Newbliss that was home to Philip growing up
Left: Philip and Mary McCabe at home; Right: Mary McCabe admiring a montage of Philips achievements
Singing with Termonfechin church choir
As President of the 39th Apimondia Congress in 2005, Philip was instrumental in bringing this major event to Ireland; to mark the occasion, a special stamp was issued by An Post
Philip is now the worldwide President of Apimondia (the International Federation of Beekeeper's Associations)
Pictured here at Bee Week 2016 in Brussels; (i) clockwise from top left: Philip deep in conversation with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; (ii) Gerry Ryan (President of the Federation of Irish Beekeeper's Associations, or FIBKA - www.irishbeekeeping.ie), Eamon Magee (former President of FIBKA), Philip McCabe and Mairead McGuiness MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament; (iii) Philip with Mairead McGuinness MEP and Mariya Gabriel MEP, the organisers of Bee Week 2016; (iv) Philip addresses beekeepers, scientists, farmers, researchers, politicians and a prince, as he delivers the opening address at the European Week of Bees and Pollinators. For more information about Bee Week, visit www.beeweek.eu.
Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.
UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:
Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed
BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted. It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.
Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made. This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.
The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:
(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).
The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.
BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal. In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie) to report such activity.
BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.
To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.
Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.
If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit www.irishwildlifematters.ie