Cork’s Elbow Lane restaurant is giving a helping hand to Irish honey bees, by agreeing to financially supporting honey bees at Mark Riordan’s family farm in Myrtleville House.

Myrtleville House, at the cliff-edged village of Myrtleville, is producing some of the best wild honey in the country today. Called Hive Mind, Mark Riordan’s apiaries are available to ‘rent’ to organisations and individuals in exchange for his honey.

Aishling Moore, head chef of award-winning Elbow Lane restaurant, who rates Hive Mind amongst the best honey she has ever tasted, has just committed the restaurant group to financially supporting three colonies of honey bees at Riordan’s farm.

Mark’s collaboration with Aishling, the first with a restaurant, will not only provide for the restaurant’s honey needs throughout the year but it also means that Hive Mind gets solid financial support to build up bee stocks and increase the number of hives. It will also help to maintain a vibrant, healthy habitat for these bee colonies and help Mark to engage other beekeepers to spread the word.

In Hive Mind’s wild meadow, bees can feast on blackberry bushes, ivy, clover and wild fennel as well as gorse and hawthorn bushes closer to the sea. The resulting raw honey, which is virtually unfiltered, contains some of the honeycomb and pollen and is creamy and delicious.

Hive Mind is now making an appearance as a hero product on the menus at Elbow Lane, which is part of the progressive Cork-based Market Lane Group of restaurants. Aishling has woven the honey into dressings, sauces and even spun it into ice cream and cocktails.

Factors such as weather, parasites and pesticides have meant that local bee stocks are diminishing every year, so initiatives like Hive Mind will be vital for the survival of the honey bee into the future. These black and yellow-striped flying friends are key to the country’s biodiversity and economy. It is estimated that they contribute some €53m to the Irish economy every year.

Mark Riordan, who has a Masters in horticulture and years of experience as a beekeeper, set up Hive Mind in 2014. “I am delighted to be working with Aishling and the Market Lane Group. This company is so well established and respected for its ethical and sustainable approach to sourcing. It is a perfect partner for Hive Mind. It is also a vital link into the city for me.”

To buy by the jar, shoppers can go online and fill in an ‘expression of interest’ form. They will be contacted when the next harvest is completed at the beginning of Autumn.

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