Alumni Spotlight

Mark Riordan – Founder, Hive Mind

25 Sep
Mark Riordan

A Masters Degree in Organic Horticulture led beekeeper, Mark Riordan, to develop an innovative approach to commercial beekeeping at his family farm in Myrtleville. His company, Hive Mind (‘we keep the bees, you keep the honey’), allows corporates and individuals to sponsor hives in exchange for an annual fee. The business is going from strength to strength, with companies like Airbnb and the Market Lane Group serving up pots of the delicious Cork honey to their customers and staff. We chat to Mark about his time at UCC.

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation

Masters in Organic Horticulture: I graduated from the second year of Peter Jones' Msc in 2015. 
The course was aimed at giving its students a solid background in plant science. Serious attention was given to organic agricultural standards and practices with an emphasis on their benefits in the face of modern farming. 
Laboratory work, field trips and hands-on practical work was carried out throughout the year and helped to equip us holistically for future careers or further study in horticulture.

Best memory of UCC
My favourite moments were spread between the many farm and site visits. 
These were inspiring times where we had the opportunity to experience and appreciate forward thinking organic farms, growers and lifestyles.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
During the MSc I started working on the idea for Hive Mind following on from a very interesting Marketing module. 
My Masters Thesis was a comparative study involving twelve colonies of bees. I had several other hives myself at the time also. 
Once the Thesis was done I had enough hives to start putting Hive Mind slowly into action.

What is your advice to current UCC students?
Try to study something that you love.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I found everybody involved to be wonderful but I would have to say that Klaus Laitenberger and Peter Jones were particularly inspiring.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
We were based in Skibbereen and that was society enough for us!

Mark Riordan pictured with chef, Aishling Moore, of Elbow Lane (photo: Diane Cusack)

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