03 Jul 2022

IN PICTURES: Laois school enjoys childrens book reading for Bee Day

Children in a Laois primary school enjoyed a special bee book reading on the recent World Bee Day.

Laois author Johnny Renko, aka former Senator John Whelan, visited Shanganamore National School, Barrowhouse to read his book The Last Beekeeper, and see the many school projects and activities which they have been working on all year to boost nature, biodiversity, habitats, and environmental awareness.

The Last Beekeeper, Reading Aloud project is described as more than just a reading but an inter-active sensory session involving storytelling, song, and drum circle. All these elements are intertwined in a fashion that weave through the storyline, its origins and inspiration.

"The event was an outstanding success thanks to the enthusiasm and interest of the 5 th and 6 th class pupils who were especially attentive and involved," the author said afterwards. 

The moral of engaging childrens book The Last Beekeeper, a tale of two children who go on an adventure to save the world's nature, is that who knows where it will happen next, as the final chapter has yet to be written, and that is in the hands of the Shanganamore sixth class students and their generation.

The event was scheduled to coincide with the recent National Biodiversity Week and World Bee Day.

Also participating in the programme was Slieve Bloom Sean Nós writer and singer, Paddy Fitzpatrick, and David Day of
Jabba Jabba Jembe drum circle fame.

One of their teachers is Eilish Candy.

“That was most enjoyable, and you could see that the children were into it and captivated from the outset, really curious about the story and how it came about. It fitted in lovely with the work they have been doing on the environment and their nature murals,” she said. 

The school children were also keen to learn more about the book, its source influences, how it came about and the striking cover image, an original painting by Canadian artist, Autumn Skye Morrisson.

Teacher Patrick Kennedy said it inspired the children.

“That was really fantastic for us today in terms of our English classes and reading, the meaning of words, the use of language and as we are encouraging the students to write their own stories, we are also talking about the importance of the opening sentences to have a hook and get the reader interested, so it is really beneficial and encouraging,” he said. 

The Last Beekeeper team would like to thank Muireann Ní Chonnaill and the Laois Arts Office for their support, and to the Principal of Shanganamore NS, Barrowhouse, Pauline Lawlor and her staff Eilish Candy, Patrick Kennedy and Christine Wall for their warm welcome and enthusiast support for this event.

The project was made possible thanks to the support of the Laois Arts Office and the Local Live Performance Scheme, funded by the Department of Culture and Arts.
More information on The Last Beekeeper can be found on

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