Thursday 27 April 2017

Revealed: Where can you find the cheapest real Christmas tree in Dublin

Nathan Warren and Harry Small with their selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the Supervalu Killester Howth Road Junction.
Nathan Warren and Harry Small with their selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the Supervalu Killester Howth Road Junction.

Gavin White

Nobody is enjoying the festive season more than Christmas tree growers and sellers, with some customers paying up to €120 for a festive fir.

Independent.ie surveyed a number of retailers across the capital, whose prices ranged from €30 for a three-foot tiddler to more than a €100 for a 10-footer.

Philip Bannon with his selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the junction of Hamstead Avenue and Ballymun Road.
Philip Bannon with his selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the junction of Hamstead Avenue and Ballymun Road.

While it has been a tough few years for Christmas tree sellers, the business is now worth an estimated €21m to the Irish economy, according to a survey carried out on behalf of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association.

It says the smaller, three-foot trees are most popular with apartment dwellers while families usually go for the bigger ones.

It is a competitive market, with Swedish giant Ikea selling trees for €30 with a €20 voucher to spend in store.

However, just down the road, Glasnevin brothers Phillip and Hugh Bannon, who source their trees from a forest in Wicklow, said business is flying. Their prices start at €35 for a three-footer.

Dean Hand from Ballyfermot who is working with a Step Programme and Matthew Sweeney from Rathmines with a selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the YMCA in Sandymount.
Dean Hand from Ballyfermot who is working with a Step Programme and Matthew Sweeney from Rathmines with a selection of Christmas Trees for sale at the YMCA in Sandymount.

Phillip and Hugh, who enjoyed a "mad weekend" trade-wise, were the cheapest surveyed by the Herald when it came to 10ft trees, priced at €70.

Phillip said their location between Glasnevin and Ballymun means they "have to be as competitive and balanced as possible".

"Business is really affected by the weather, but this year has been great and it has been an absolutely mad weekend," he said.

Across the city in Sandymount, the YMCA has partnered with the Step Youth Programme to help raise funds for projects by selling trees.

Harry Suttle from The Yard Florist on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf with their selection of Christmas Trees.
Harry Suttle from The Yard Florist on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf with their selection of Christmas Trees.

Theirs are priced at €10 a foot, so people looking for a big tree in Sandymount will be paying that bit more than on the north side of the city.

However, Matthew Sweeney (34) said that "100pc of profits go to the fundraising campaign and into our youth projects in the inner city".

The Step Youth Programme is a back-to-education scheme that gives people a second chance to progress to further education and gain employment.

"Every year the venture grows to new levels as we are able to analyse the different types of trees people need in the area," said Matthew.

Dean Hand (21), from Bally- fermot, is one of the many youngsters benefiting from the Step Youth Programme.

"It's a great thing for me to do," he said.

Christy Kavanagh grows his trees in the Wicklow Mountains and sells them from Leopardstown Racecourse in South Dublin and Kilruddery House, Wicklow. "Sales are going up and up," he said.

A 10-foot Christmas tree from Christy will cost €120, but he said: "The price will reflect different parts of the country."

He also said it would be "no problem" selling his trees abroad because Irish trees are in huge demand all over the Continent.

At The Yard Florist in Clontarf, trees are flying out of the shop with prices starting at €35 and going up to €85 for a 10 to 12-foot tree.

Harry Shuttle (20) said they have sold 90 trees in the past week.

Up the road in Killester on the Howth Road, the Dublin Christmas Tree Depot said business has "been quieter in recent years".

Nathan Warren (18) said "we sell trees from three feet to 10 feet and we've been so busy since we opened".

Harry Small (14) said: "I'm here helping out my parents and we really love this time of year."

James Jesson, from Jesson Landscaping, said the market "has become a lot more competitive this year, with quite a lot of trees being imported from Germany".

Herald

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