Jacquie and Martin Lynskey have been selling Christmas trees from their farm in Athenry for over ten years. They tell us about the magic of buying a real tree and their fondest festive memories.
What’s the best thing about selling Christmas trees?
One of the most magical parts of the business is to see families coming back every year because picking their tree has now become part of their Christmas tradition. We have had couples come to us initially and now they are arriving with their kiddies. We see whole generations every year and it’s wonderful.
The people who come to us year after year tell us that the whole experience of picking their tree on our farm is special. We give each family our signature red ribbon (and we even supply wellies), they take off out into the trees and can take hours picking one. They have a choice of three types of trees, both shedding and non-shed. Most people say they want a non-shed but when they see our Norway spruce many change their mind because they are full and shapely and irresistible. Once they decide on their tree, they watch it being cut down, the kids can help carry it in and see it go through the netter and they head home already looking forward to coming back next year. It is so special for us to be part of so many people’s Christmas tradition. Long-lasting memories are created which span generations and we are part of this – it couldn’t be more special.
How long have you been selling Christmas trees?
Our Christmas tree farm emerged slowly, having experienced a setback in the late 1990s. Martin originally planted acres of Christmas trees under contract with a commercial company who went out of business a few years later, leaving him with thousands of trees and no market. It took him a few years to come to terms with this loss but after he dusted himself off he decided to put a sign at the end of the road for passers-by to pop in and pick their own tree. Sales grew little by and now we have a steady flow of loyal and new customers every Christmas.
How long does it take to grow a Christmas tree?
On average it takes about eight years for a Christmas tree to grow. As soon as January comes, Martin gets into planting mode to make sure there are trees coming to maturity every year. For every tree cut down he plants three new ones so real trees are also environmentally friendly. He spends all year working on his trees to make sure they are the most beautiful trees in Ireland.
Is there a standout memory for you?
It has to be a couple who picked their tree and then told us that they had just gotten engaged – right out among the trees. They had been coming to us for a few years and decided that the experience was so special to them this was where they wanted to get engaged, so he popped the question.
There are numerous benefits to buying a real Christmas tree, not only is it good value for money but they are environmentally friendly and can be recycled to create compost for gardens and landscape use. New Christmas trees are continuously being planted to replace those that have been harvested, ensuring sustainability. To find out more see Bord Bia or see Galway Christmas Trees.
This interview originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Irish Country Magazine.
Decorated your tree with:
Newbridge Silverware - €35
Jenny Walsh - €30
Blarney - €25.43
Arnotts - €25.95
Tipperary Crystal - €12
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