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Blás award a sweet win for local honey business

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By Michelle Crean

Winning a major national food award after only two years in business is a sweet success for one Kilcummin honey producing family.

Tim and Kathleen Regan of Regan’s Family Apiary were awarded Silver by the Blás Na hEireann judges this week - which is considered to the Oscars of the Irish food industry.

Normally presented in Dingle, this year’s winners tuned in for a second year running from every corner of the country for a virtual celebration of the very best in Irish food.

Products from every county in Ireland were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver or Bronze in over 150 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.

According to Tim, who runs the artisan business with his wife Kathleen, with help from his son Liam and daughter Katy, the win is thanks to the bees!

"It's down to the bees and the forage rather than the beekeeper," Tim told the Killarney Advertiser. "Good honey depends on three things, good weather, forage and the bees."

The former St Brendan's College Science and Maths teach explained that they started out with two hives seven years ago but that has now grown to 20 plus hives. The bees feed on briars, clover and other flowers which gives their wild flower honey its distinctive taste.

"On average you can get 40 to 50 pounds of honey per hive, on a good year it could go up to 100 pounds per hive," Tim, who is currently Chair of the Kerry Beekeepers Association, added. "Last year we had 20 to 30 pounds as the weather was too cold and the clover didn't release the nectar as it needs to reach 20 plus degrees."

At present the business runs from the family home in Inchicullane with an honesty table outside where customers can put the money in the box. They plan to sell online in time with the addition of candles, face creams and lip balms made from the honey. They're also planning a walking experience around the meadows to show how the honey is produced.

The 12 other Blás winners announced were: Camos Artisan Foods (Gold and Silver), Cistin na hEireann (Gold), Dingle Distillery (Silver), Dingle Farm (Silver), Dingle Goats Cheese (Bronze), Kells Bay Cheese (Silver), Kennedy’s Butchers (Gold and Silver), Prestige Foods Ltd (Gold and Silver), Quinlan's Kerry Fish (Gold and Bronze), Valentia Island Vermouth Ltd. (Bronze), West of Dingle (Gold), Rogha na Gaeltachta (Best in County), supported by LEO Kerry, and Knockatee Natural Dairy (Gold).

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Housing Will Never Be The Same

Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors. Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, […]

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Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors.

Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, it’s easy to see why real estate functioned as the de facto investment portfolio for an entire generation.

Wealth creation was a rinse-and-repeat function where couples put money away until they had enough for the ‘next house’. As a result, we have an economy where 70% of household wealth is tied up in real estate.

Driven by the profits it created, Ireland became obsessed with owning real estate.

But real estate as an investment won’t be nearly as successful for our generation. (If you are able to get a house, that is)

All you have to do is look at the anecdotal evidence all around us to confirm this.

My parents bought the house they currently live in for 30k (pounds) 35 years ago. The house is now worth roughly 450k.

I typically despise these back-of-the-envelope calculations when It comes to property, given the endless variables and ongoing costs involved, but bear with me.

That’s a gross return of 15 times the original value. Now there are upgrades, a change in currency and other adjustments to consider here, so for argument’s sake, let’s call it 10X.

To achieve the same level of growth over the next 35 years, you would be left paying 4,500,000 euros for what is a pretty modest house.

Sure, we will still see property prices increase over time, but the rate of growth won’t be anywhere near as meaningful for one simple reason.

Interest rates.

Artificial Growth

Over the last 30 years, real economic growth has been stagnant, yet Ireland has experienced enviable nominal growth.

How did we manage it?

We created imaginary wealth.

We pushed interest rates lower and lower to stimulate economic growth.

And it worked.

After all, if you make 100k/year you can probably afford a 400k mortgage at 4%. At 2%, with the same 100k/year salary you can now take on 600k in debt.

So, were we getting richer, or was the debt just easier to afford?

Where do we go from here?

We have now squeezed interest rates as low as they can go.

The house price appreciation we have seen was justifiable because the mortgage rates on housing continued to fall in recent decades. This allowed people to take on more debt without severely impacting their ability to repay that debt.

If we go back to my parents, they were paying 14% on their mortgage. Mortgage rates are currently between 2 to 3%.

A relentless drop in interest rates gave way to higher and higher prices for houses, but interest rates are now on the floor.

The juice has been squeezed.

In fact, the trend has started to reverse, with rates expected to rise 1.5% in the first half of 2023

Be mindful that the same credit expansion cannot happen again.

How the next generation thinks about their investment options has to change.

Banks offering 0% returns for the use of your money and a housing ladder you can’t get on are not your only two options.

If you need help creating your own investment portfolio, just reach out to me at mike@theislandinvestor or simply scan the QR code above.

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Biddies performance celebrates St Brigid

Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association. The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly […]

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Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association.

The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly known as the Beaufort Biddy Group – and Kilgobnet Biddies came together for the event.

The tradition of the Biddies is one of the oldest and most colourful customs in Ireland, a blend of pagan and Christian pageantry, held on February 1 each year, heralding the beginning of springtime and honouring St Bríd the patron saint of the farming community.

Master traditional craftsman, Pat Broderick, at Muckross House, was also part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations, making a St Brigid’s Cross as part of the traditions.

 

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