Belfast Telegraph

Home News Obituaries

Bee expert who travelled the world to share his knowledge


Norman Walsh, a past president of the Ulster Beekeepers Association, has died.

James Norman Walsh's interest in beekeeping began in 1954 as a student at Greenmount College.

He became an enthusiastic beekeeper, and in subsequent years he made a huge contribution to the world of beekeeping in general.

For over 60 years he kept bees at various places, including his home at Hillsborough, as well as at Sixmilecross, Omagh, Dromore and Lisburn.

In his earlier years he studied for, and passed, all the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations (FIBKA) examinations, including the honey judge exam.

During his long career, Mr Walsh travelled widely all over Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man as well as to the Ukraine to lecture on and demonstrate the basics and the art of beekeeping, and also judging hive products.

Some years ago he wrote enthusiastically about his visit to beekeepers on the Isle of Man, and this was typical of his interest in bees and his ability to make friends wherever he went, including a visit to Gorey.

His beekeeping was not extensive in itself, and he never managed more than 24 colonies.

However, he took a deep interest in queen-rearing and honey production, and he won the world cup at the National Honey Show in London on two occasions.

He also contributed to beekeeping organisations, and he was a past president of the Ulster Beekeepers Association, and a past-chairman, secretary and press officer of the Dromore Beekeepers Association, of which he became an honorary member.

One of his major contributions was as secretary of the organising committee which brought Apimondia, the huge international beekeeping conference, to Dublin in 2005.

He also attended Apimondia conferences in Slovenia, Melbourne and Kiev.

In 2007 he was made an MBE for his extensive services to beekeeping.

His passing is mourned widely in beekeeping circles, and this sense of loss was underlined by Ettamarie Peterson of Beekeepers Ireland.

Posting online, she wrote: "I have so many wonderful memories of Norman Walsh and the time he took some of my family and me to his apiary, his home and the first real honey show I had ever seen.

"My heart is very heavy to think he has passed on. I send my condolences to his lovely family and to his beekeeping friends in Ireland and in other parts of the world."

Mr Walsh's funeral will be held today at 1pm at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by his wife Rosemary, his children Gilbert, Fiona and Roxy, and the wider family circle.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph