Based on his family’s mixed farm in the Sliabh Aughty Mountains, Noel grew up in a big family and maintains the bees were always an important part of life on the farmyard.

A proud family business, Leahy Beekeeping goes back four generations.

“We grew up with bees; they were always there and if we weren’t chasing bees, we were chasing cattle,” he recalls.

After completing a stone masonry apprenticeship and working on buildings for years, Noel explains how the job took a physical toll on his body.

The family farm is located on the Sliabh Aughty Mountains.

“My back started giving me a lot of problems. The recession came and in one way, it did me a favour – it gave me an opportunity to get out.

“I pulled away from building and went back doing a bit of farming,” he recalls.

Start of business

Noel says growing up on the farm, among jobs like managing stock and cooking, there was always beekeeping. From a young age, his father and grandfather taught him the tricks of the trade.

He recalls how his beekeeping business Sliabh Aughty Honey really took off when he was asked to fix up a few old hives in the garden.

“I remember being up with my mother one evening and she wanted to give me something to do,” he says.

“She asked me to fix up the hives in the yard. There were literally briars and weeds keeping them together.

Noel, Caroline and their three daughters Chloe, Heather and Aoife.

We sorted them out a bit, made a couple of new hives and after a few stings, we thought we'd better do something,” he continues. “So, I got an old bee suit from a friend of mine."

Noel explains he was soon back into the swing of things and got involved in the local beekeeper’s association.

While he was “tipping away” working as a beekeeper, he hadn’t considered selling honey until a neighbour called to the door looking for some in 2012.

Sliabh Aughty Honey took off from there and the Leahys built themselves up to 40 hives.

Today, they have around 180 hives on their farm.

Supporting local

Noel believes people value local family businesses like his.

“Over the years, we have built up a relationship with other local, artisan family shops and businesses.

“These people understand the amount of passion and time that goes into this local niche produce,” he says.


2020 gave Noel's family the opportunity to spend less time on the road and more time at home.

“Before lockdown, I was always too busy and we were running; chasing our tails!” he says.

Sliabh Aughty Hot Honey - All honey is 100% raw, single filtered and unpasteurised.

“The world literally stopped during the first lockdown, people took a deep breath and it allowed us to realise the value of having family time."

Noel had a bucket list of jobs he wanted to do at home, but before lockdown never had a chance to do them.

“As a family, we spent a lovely summer together,” he says. “There was more time to sit down around the family table and have a meal.

“We’d chat about the products and think [about] what we should do next – the laidback business meeting, as I call it! I also got back cooking again and I loved that,” he adds.

“We spent time beekeeping, working side by side and instead of me on my own, there was three or four of us going out in the morning.

“If anything, lockdown allowed us to increase the number of ties we have.”

Throughout our conversation, Noel’s overall message of “family is everything,” really comes to the forefront.

The natural approach

Leahy honey is 100% raw, single-filtered and unpasteurised which means it retains the pollen’s antibacterial and medicinal properties.

Noel says working with a pure, natural product such as beeswax has many benefits and his products receive great feedback for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and nappy rash in babies.

More information on Leahy Beekeeping and the Sliabh Aughty products is available here.

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