The biggest Christmas tree farm in Galway is expecting a bumper year as more families ditch the mass manufactured plastic ones in favour of cutting down their own real tree.
Meadow Lane Farm grows four varieties of Christmas trees over six acres three miles outside Athenry.
It is the only farm in the region where members of the public can choose their preferred tree and have it chopped down in front of them.
In fact, a visit to Meadow Lane Farm has become a real family tradition for a new generation since it opened 16 years ago, explains the woman of the plantation, Jacquie Lynskey.
“Once they come once, they’re coming back every year. They’ve built it into their family tradition and they tell us it doesn’t feel like Christmas until they come here and put the wellies on and place a red ribbon around their favourite tree,” she opines.
The average tree takes eight years to grow. For every tree picked, the farm plants three new ones.
It will be all hands on deck for the Lynskeys – Jacquie and Martin – for the first two weekends of December as they rope in extended family and friends to help out. They have a dedicated person in charge of parking such is the hectic pace of business next month.
“It really is the calm before the storm right now. All the activity tends to be funnelled into those two weekends. We’ve had people come as far away as Kildare, Clare and the far side of Connemara to experience what it’s like to pick their own tree,” says Jacquie.
“They tend to make an event out of it. They like to wander, have a look at every tree and we have tea and coffee going, we encourage them to come into the Christmas cabin to have a chat and meet others.”
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.