If you venture to Kilmacurragh House and Gardens, you’ll spot a curious little stand sitting opposite the gates. Atop it you’ll see local produce from jams to honey on offer, but what you won’t find is a person looking after it; that’s the beauty of this little honesty box.
Wicklownews met with the man behind the stand Michael Mulvihill, to learn the story of his micro business.
“When I was over in Galway, I drove past many farmers selling their produce over their gate to passersby. They would stand all day by the looks of it passing stuff over — but how could farmers get their work done if they were selling all day?” Well, Michael had a solution to this!
“I’ve provided eggs and jam to my neighbours and locals for many years, ‘but never had the time to stand and sell all day. I felt like tourists were also missing out — my eggs are the best in the country after all!” he said with a grin.
“Each day I’d see many head into Kilmacurragh and come out empty handed, there’s no way for them to bring home something local. So, I came up with an idea to provide local goods that all visitors could get; that’s how my little honesty stand came about.”
“I’m not doing it to make money”, Michael told Wicklownews: “Myself and my family are just doing our bit to assist in local tourism.”
The honesty stand system is not a new concept, having worked for years in the likes of the US and Denmark, but its rarely seen in Ireland. The products sit on the stand with a price attached, and the responsibility is on the customer to put the correct amount into the payment box.
If you venture to Kilmacurragh today, you’ll find Michael’s version of the stand proudly offering the best local produce to all, which you pay for through the honesty system.
So far, the system has worked a treat with it being an absolute testament to the good willed nature of both locals and visitors alike: “Only 1 in a 1000 customers take things without paying,” said Michael.
Jam, eggs, honey and potatoes are the main offerings you’ll find on Michael’s Micro Stall, with all the produce sourced within a kilometre of the stand.
When we enquired would he consider selling his “best in the country eggs” elsewhere he said: “Maybe Morrisons of Holyhead!”