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Ronan and Conor McGarvey in their workshop
Ronan and Conor McGarvey in their workshop
Image: Donegal Pens

Are these two brothers Ireland's youngest entrepreneurs?

Brian Cowen, Gerry Adams and Daniel O’Donnell are all pushing pens created by the tween craftsmen.
Feb 16th 2011, 1:57 PM 5,083 0

TWO YOUNG BROTHERS running a small wooden pen business have gone from strength to strength in recent months with Daniel O’Donnell amongst their many customers.

Ronan, 14, and Conor, 10, McGarvey from Loughanure in West Donegal use their evenings and weekends after they’ve done their school homework to make wooden pens through the woodturning process.

It all happens in their parents garden shed which was converted into a workshop where the boys turn wood such as bog oak, ash, yew, elm, and beech into pens that they sell all over the world on their website.

As well as selling one to singer Daniel O’Donnell, they’ve also presented pens to Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

The pair could be the country’s youngest entrepreneurs having already sold over six hundred pens at around €15.95 each, making them between €3,000 – €4,000 which has been reinvested in new equipment for their workshop.

Their father Eoin McGarvey, a postman in Donegal, told that the boys had become hooked after a visit to a woodturning fair two years ago. He said:

After they’d been, they were pestering me ‘Can we get a lathe! Can we get a lathe!’

We thought it was a fad but they were persistent so eventually we got a small lathe and touched up the garden shed a bit with more lighting and they started making pens.

The two boys managed to sell enough pens over one summer in local shops that they were able to upgrade their equipment and since then the business has grown. Their father added:

They keep whatever profit themselves and at the moment they want to buy a quad bike although I’m not sure about the safety of that!

They’re really passionate about it and it seems to be something they want to continue doing when they’re older. They’d take a hammer and a nail any day over a Playstation or an Xbox.

The two boys were unavailable for comment as they were still at school but here they are being interviewed on RTE’s Nationwide programme last year:

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Hugh O'Connell


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