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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 October 2006, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Where there's muck, there's brass..
Photo from their website
Their website is expected to begin selling dirt in the coming weeks
People talk about selling sand to the Arabs or snow to the eskimos, but two Irishmen might have taken this audacity even one stage further.

Lisburn man Alan Jenkins, 65, and agricultural scientist Pat Burke, 27, from Tipperary, have built a thriving business out of flogging dirt to America.

They claim their "official Irish dirt" has become a prized commodity for Irish-Americans, especially those who want a bit of the auld sod sprinkled on their graves.

Fresh from selling their first $1m shipment of muck to the US, the pair say demand has been "phenomenal".

But don't be fooled, it's not just a matter of them heading out onto the nearest mountain or bog armed with a couple of shovels or a digger.


Mr Burke has cleverly used his scientific background to patent a way of processing the soil to pass US import regulations, meaning it is disease-free and has no Irish insects lurking within.

His business partner got the brainwave that such a market existed when he heard Irish-Americans at a "Sons of Erin" meeting in Florida talking about wanting "a drop of the auld sod" to place on their funeral caskets.

One elderly New York businessman has already placed a $100,000 order so he can be fully buried in Irish soil, deep in the heart of Manhattan.

And the pair are so confident that the 0.75lb bags which retail for $15 will take off, they have already pledged to donate 80% of their profits to charity.

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