Lifestyle – Dara Scott’s passion for bee-keeping began when he was living in New Zealand. Since then, the Galway man has moved from deep-sea exploration to developing a seaweed-based supplement to keep honeybees healthy and productive. It’s become a leading product in a niche market. Now his company is branching out into a bodycare range that’s also based on natural products, as he tells JUDY MURPHY.
When physics graduate Dara Scott took a year out from his career in 2002 to travel to New Zealand and work on organic farms in return for bed and board, he discovered honeybees. It was the beginning of a fascination that was to ultimately change his career path – although that didn’t happen immediately.
“Everywhere I went I could the see beehives,” he says of his New Zealand experience. It was different to Ireland where hives are generally not visible and it piqued his interest.
Dara, who was born in Galway City and whose family later moved to Moycullen, studied at GMIT and NUIG, and joined Bayer Ireland after college. Based in Dublin, he was involved in research, development and quality control in the area of medical instruments.
But it wasn’t for him, so he left to go travelling throughout Asia and on to New Zealand where his growing fascination with honeybees left him determined to get into bee-keeping. That’s what he did, gradually, while also continuing to work in his specialist scientific field.
After his ‘gap year’ Dara went on to spend almost a decade working with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which is based in Cape Cod in the USA. It’s the world’s leading, independent, non-profit body dedicated to ocean research, exploration and education.
Dara was responsible for managing its underwater robot, Jason which at the time, was the deepest ocean robot in the world capable of travelling to depths of 6,500 metres (four miles).
Based out of Hawaii and Seattle, the job required a lot of travel – mostly to the Pacific region – because the ocean there is deeper, he explains.
The intensive nature of the contract work meant that when he was off, Dara could return to Ireland for lengthy periods.
That was when he followed his passion for honeybees, having begun keeping them after returning from New Zealand in the early 2000s. Dara had attended a meeting of the Galway Beekeepers’ Association. Its chairman, Professor Breandán Ó Cochláin, took the younger man under his wing.
“He kindly took me out and I learned by watching him,” Dara recalls of Professor Ó Cochláin who taught Physical Chemistry at NUIG. And the professor also gave Dara his first hive. That happened when he was called to deal with a swarm in the city and Dara accompanied him.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!
WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.
The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.
The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.
“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.
As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.
“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.
“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.
City Council houses Travellers in county
Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.
Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.
The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.
Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.
But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.
And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.
He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.
Long drives still out of bounds for golfers
This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.
The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.
Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.
That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.
Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.
He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.