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Demand at Wexford wood company is red hot as oil and coal prices burn holes in pockets

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Michael Kennedy outside his wood shed.

Michael Kennedy outside his wood shed.

Michael Kennedy outside his wood shed.

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Wood sellers across Co Wexford have been benefiting from rising coal and oil prices, but are struggling to meet demand as the colder weather sets in.

Based just outside New Ross in Arnestown, Michael Kennedy said he is getting orders earlier than ever for hardwood.

Fifty years in business on October 1, Michael said he will run out of wood by Christmas if current orders keep pace.

“Everyone is looking for it, usually there would only be a few at this time of year. It’s because of the oil and the coal. You can’t just have wood overnight because it takes over a year to dry it. People think you just go out and cut it.”

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He said it’s impossible to supply everyone when he works on his own.

Michael sources his wood in the south east region and cuts it and dries it in a large shed at his home and under covers all along the shed and in lean-tos.

He is not a fan of kiln dried wood, saying by drying it too fast the wood burns too quickly.

“It’s not natural to do that, so it just burns like softwood. Especially in Ireland where only 12pc of the country is covered in trees; it’s a waste.”

Michael has had to raise his prices slightly due to inflation. 

“When I used to buy a professional saw it was €800 to €1,000. Now it’s €1,600.”

The skilled art of felling trees is something he knows from decades of experience, adding that hardwood is selling fast. Selling chopped beech, oak, ash, sycamore, he said this year oak has been very scarce.

“I could expand the business if I wanted to but as a one-man operation I won’t be, but there is a big market for air-dried hardwood, but nobody’s doing it.”

With customers traveling from a 20k radius, he said: “If you wanted to you could sell all your timbre in two or three months but you can’t do that because you’d have nothing next year. If I was to deliver every day I could, but I don’t have time to.”

He said all the wood that’s sold has to be replaced, which takes time.


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