Ronan and Conor McGarvey Photo by: Google

Donegal schoolboys present Obama family with specially designed bog oak pens


Ronan and Conor McGarvey Photo by: Google

Schoolboy brothers Ronan and Conor McGarvey, who make pens from wood in their back garden, breached Ireland’s tightest security cordon and written the deal of their young business lives.

On Monday they gave President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha special gifts of pens made from Donegal bog oak and ash.

The first lady and her daughters received theirs when they rejoined the president in Northern Ireland on Tuesday following a 24-hour private visit in Dublin.

Ronan, 16, and Conor, 13, from the west Donegal Gaeltacht, plotted to target all the G8 leaders for pen gifts when they scored a hit on a junior business awards show on RTE television last month.

They wrote to the G8 conference resort at Lough Erne near Enniskillen and to embassies of the G8 leaders offering gift packs.

The resort, bound by security arrangements, said gifts had already been selected by the Foreign Office in Britain and they heard nothing from the embassies.

The boys believed their biggest international promotion gig had failed – but they were wrong.

Ronan said, “We had given up on our offer but then we got the call. We would have loved to put a special inscription on the president’s pen but we just didn’t have the time. We managed to make up a special presentation wooden bowl with a pen for each member of the family standing in it.

“We are especially thrilled that our gift will be flying to the U.S. in Air Force One.”

Two of the pens are made of Irish bog oak sourced from bogland near Inver outside Donegal town. Another is made from ordinary Donegal oak and the fourth is made from Donegal ash.

The brothers’ dream is that the president will use his pen for personal signatures next St Patrick’s Day in Washington.

The brothers, pupils at the Rosses Community School in Dungloe, set up Donegal Pens in September 2009, in a shed in their back garden. They now have their unique pens carved from a wood-turning machine stocked in 29 shops in Ireland and three in Germany.


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