From Atlas Obscura:
WHY IRISH DIRT IS WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
Official Irish Dirt is normally sold in the U.S. in small pouches or canisters—sometimes with shamrock seeds thrown in for extra luck—but for some folks, that’s not enough. One 87-year-old lawyer hailing from the Emerald Isle spent $100,000 worth of Irish dirt to fill his American grave, while a man originally from County Cork purchased enough Irish-sourced earth to spread under his freshly constructed house in New England, a total investment of $148,000. Funeral directors and florists order the dirt in bulk, while others just need enough to sprinkle around a tree or on a casket to connect with their land of birth.
It all began when Jenkins, an Irish immigrant then in his mid-50s, found himself at a gathering in Florida of the Sons of Erin, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Irish heritage. “The only thing everyone [at the meeting] would give their right arm for was a drop ‘of the auld sod’ to put on top of their casket,” Jenkins . It seemed that while Irish-Americans had been able to bring over their families, their schools, their churches, and their pubs, the one thing they didn’t have was their dirt—and Irish dirt, it turns out, holds a special place in Irish hearts. Men would sometimes tear up, said Jenkins, expressing how deeply they wished for a bit of true Irish dirt to be spread over their caskets....MORE