Donegal Bees hoping to create a buzz around beekeeping

GLENCOLMCILLE natives who are taking the Irish Beeswax market by storm are aiming to encourage more people to take an interest in beekeeping.

Thomas Ellis (41) and Áine Curran (33) are the co-owners and directors of Donegal Bees based at Cashel, Glencolmcille.

The unique business is 10 years old this year having started in 2013 when Thomas, a skilled carpenter by trade, discovered beekeeping as a hobby.


When friends and neighbours approached him to make beehives, he saw an opportunity to turn his passion into a business.

Inspired by the traditional CDB Hive, an old Irish method specializing in producing Section Honey, Thomas became the only person in Ireland to revive its production.

With the recruitment of Áine’s expertise in 2015, the company has grown to be the biggest supplier of beekeeping supplies in Ireland.

Her dedication to beekeeping goes beyond professional expertise as she is currently completing a Diploma in Apiculture from NUIG University.

Speaking about the business, Áine and Thomas said their goal is to make beekeeping more affordable for everyone in order to sustain beekeeping culture in Ireland as it is so vitally important for the environment.

“We own the only beeswax foundation machine in Ireland which allows us to produce our own foundation sheets, we use a mix of recycled wax from local Irish beekeepers and European wax, ensuring that our foundation is Irish, premium quality and affordable.

“As we make it in house we are able to offer it to beekeepers at the best prices.


“We try to keep our prices as competitive as possible.

“We even had a reduction in our machinery prices at the start of the year, and constantly keep an eye on what else we can reduce in price throughout the year.

“Keeping the prices affordable means that more people will hopefully be enticed to take up beekeeping, which is our ultimate goal.

“Beekeeping is crucial to the survival of honeybees, especially the native Irish honeybee.”

The company has recently expanded their range and have started to produce Irish beeswax candles.


Donegal Bees is aiming to encourage people to take an interest in beekeeping, ideally even start beekeeping themselves.

The candles are unique in as they are hypo-allergenic, which means they can aid people with environmental allergies, sensitivities and are even known to help relieve asthma symptoms.

They are also useful in aiding stress relief and meditation.

Áine and Thomas explained, “We source our beeswax from local and national beekeepers with our Beeswax Exchange Service, which is then melted and filtered multiple times to ensure we are using the cleanest and purest wax.

“We then produce our own premium beeswax foundation sheets using our wax band and foundation embossing machine, the only one of its kind in Ireland.

“The sheets are carefully hand-rolled with a cotton wick to make an Irish Wildflower beeswax candle.

“They are naturally scented with a honey-like aroma, and help eliminate any unwanted odours,” Áine and Thomas.

Celebrating 10 years in business this year, this is a testament to Thomas and Áine and also all the team at Donegal Bees and their loyal customers.

Looking ahead to the future, Donegal Bees is aiming to introduce tours of their operations and beekeeping courses in September or October.

Áine and Thomas said they are passionate about encouraging people to take an interest in beekeeping and hope the addition of the tours will encourage more people to start beekeeping themselves.

They continued, “We want to encourage people to take an interest in beekeeping, ideally even start beekeeping themselves.

“Mainly we want to promote awareness of the vital importance bees represent to our ecosystem, and to encourage people who can’t keep bees to do their small bit for the bees.

“We hope our expansion plans will aid with the preservation and promotion of these vital creatures and their importance to our ecosystem.

“We place a major focus on providing excellent customer service while we also want to continue being as sustainable as possible.

“With the tours/courses we are also planning on creating further local employment, and boosting tourism to the area.

“Glencolmcille is an area of rich history and culture, which is the ideal setting for our tours, while it is also in the heart of the Gaeltacht and hosts an Irish college during the summer months, so it does be busy at that time of year.

“We hope that our tours will boost the number of visitors throughout the year.

“We will be celebrating the upcoming #LoveDonegal day on September 14, so keep an eye out on our social media,” Áine and Thomas.

To find out more about beekeeping and the company, visit

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