Pretty much in the centre of Ireland, Offaly is a county of contrasts with a landscape ranging from the lovely, unspoilt Slieve Bloom Mountains in the south-east to the bogland, which is most typical of the area and has the Grand Canal running through it.
A unique and interesting area for food production – perfect for honey as shown by third generation apiarist Andrew McGuinness, at Meadowsweet Apiaries.
Now recognised nationally for the beautiful honey and beeswax products the McGuinnesses have been producing since 1956, their honeys are natural (no heat filtration) and regional, reflecting the varying flowers and herbs available to the bees in different areas within a 32km/20 mile radius of the farm as they change through the summer. Well deserved accolades have included one of the very small number of annual Good Food Awards given by the Irish Food Writers’ Guild.
The honey and other related products can be found at farmers’ markets (Athlone, Ballinalsoe, Farmleigh) and speciality food shops as well as the McGuiness’s own farm shop, where they sell not only their honey (in comb as well as in jars) and beeswax skincare products but also bee keeping equipment and a range of foods including preserves, seasonal fruit and vegetables, free range eggs and home baking.