Bees find sanctuary at foot of the Sperrin Mountains
An ancient hill fort in Co Tyrone with links to Irish fairy folklore has been transformed into a sanctuary for the native queen bee.
It is thought the apiary, at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains in Lisnanane, will host Ireland's first tree and log hives, a practice which dates back thousands of years and is seen as the most natural form of beekeeping.
Members of the public can also now visit the unique attraction, which boasts a newly constructed car park, walkways through the hill fort and surrounding woodlands, and a new observation cabin and classroom.
Arborist Jeremy Turkington, from the Mid Ulster Beekeeping Association, said: "This project started off as a research study in Greenmount Agricultural College almost 10 years ago to test whether biodiversity could be improved without the use of government subsidies.
"Our new hill fort apiary is a small part of a wider natural heritage project in the area to preserve the local genetic character of trees in the Ballinderry River catchment.
"Thanks to the co-operation of local landowners it has evolved into a more comprehensive landscape improvement initiative and a serious effort to improve the status of our native pollinators, especially our native honeybee colonies."