A CORK native in the US is planning to buy $148,000 (€111,200) worth of the "auld sod" so that he can retire there with a piece of Ireland under his feet.
The Irish earth is being sent to America by the same company which supplied the flowers in the bowl of shamrock presented to George Bush by the Taoiseach yesterday.
The Auld Sod Export Company, which has its base in Crookstown, Co Cork, has been exporting soil and shamrock seed to the United States for the past four months after its founders Pat Burke, from Tipperary, and Alan Jenkins, from Lisburn, came up with a way to process Irish soil so that it can pass strict US restrictions.
Since then they claim to have exported over two million dollars (€1.5m) worth of Irish soil.
One of their biggest orders to date has come from a Cork native who wants to secure seven tonnes of soil. He wants to sprinkle it under the foundations of his 5,350 square foot house in Massachusetts. A 6 to 8in layer will be spread on the property’s sub floor.
Pat Burke said the man, who is in his 60s and remains anonymous for now, wants to retire with a piece of Ireland under his feet.
The two founders went over to America to view the new modular style of houses as they are built.
While the company has only been in business for a few months, the two founders are already embarking on a €1.5m re-investment which they hope will make their product more attractive to a number of American companies with whom they are currently in negotiations to stock the soil all year round.
In addition, they are designing a gift box containing shamrock, soil and a glass bowl. They are also embarking on a home-grown venture which would see American tourists able to buy the soil here. It would be certified, so that tourists would have no trouble getting it through customs.
Once St Patrick’s Day is out of the way, the two men will turn their sights to China.
They already have interest from six Chinese retailers they met when they attended a Dublin trade show. Pat said the Chinese put a lot of stock in the luck of the Irish and they are to start negotiations to sell it to the massive Asian market.
Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/archives/2007/0317/ireland/money-for-auld-sod-us-man-wants-irish-soil-under-house-28036.html#ixzz1gQx6AJuN