Where there's muck there truly is brass (apologies for the cliché) according to today’s Observer
Pieces of Irish dirt are being bought by Irish-Americans so that they can grow authentic Irish roses, or throw handfuls of soil from the home country on their loved ones' coffins. A Belfast entrepreneur, Alan Jenkins, and Pat Burke, an agricultural scientist from Tipperary, have already shifted around $1m (£512,000) of Irish muck to the United States.
Their company, called Official Irish Dirt, has also received online contacts from people all over the world keen to get their hands on dirt from back home. “It's been unbelievable. It's such a simple idea - even the girl in the US Patents Office said so - and it was the first time it had ever been done.” Said Pat Burke
Jenkins came up with the idea during a visit to see friends in Florida where he heard some Irish-Americans at a meeting of the Sons of Erin, a community organisation for people with Irish ancestry, saying they would like to have some Irish sod placed on their funeral caskets. Soon afterwards he met Burke, who worked at the Irish Department of Agriculture, at a dinner party and the business grew from there.
'This is a full-time job for both of us now,' he said. 'We first put the feelers out in July 2006 when we visited New York. The response everywhere was just overwhelming and I thought, "right, that's it". I'm a young man with no ties, and I didn't want to look back in 20 years and think, "why didn't we do it"?' The company also offers shamrock seeds so that customers can grow their own luck
Ach I suppose this would be an opportunity to have a go at Irish Americans and sentimentality about Ireland but sod it! If they want Irish soil and someone is happy to provide it at a reasonable price, who are we to sneer?
Official Irish Dirt website