Death is the only certainty in life – so a funeral is something that everyone will eventually have – but no one likes to plan ahead for it.
Most people in Ireland are Catholic (even if lapsed) – and the vast majority of funerals take place in a church. (Even if the dead person hardly set foot in it).
It is common in most parts of Ireland for the burial to be as quick as 2 or 3 days after the death.
In Dublin there may be a bit more of a delay due to the size of the population there.
The fast speed of burial – means that most local radio stations read out the local death notices every day – usually twice or three times a day. It would be too late if it was published in the local paper.
Irish Wakes: – a tradition that is dying out now is the Wake. This is where the dead body is kept in the house overnight – and relatives and friends spend the night drinking and eating and remembering the departed person’s life. It’s not a time for tears – more of a party than anything. It is the old Irish way of celebrating a life and ensuring that the deceased person has a good send off.
Many Irish born people living abroad express a wish to be buried in Ireland when they die. It is fairly common practice to fly coffins over from the UK. Some bodies are even flown from the USA. Security being tight these days – there may be delays with paperwork – but a good funeral director or undertaker should take care of all that for the family. Most UK and USA undertakers would have experience of burial abroad. You would need to have an Irish based undertaker too – to take care of things in Ireland.
Here are 3 UK based undertakers that specialise in organising funerals and burials in Ireland.
Neville Funeral Service – Luton England. Tel : 0044-1582-490005
Patrick Ryan & Daughter Funeral Directors – Ealing W5 4QA, Phone: 00442085671664
Golden Charter Trust – Glasgow – Phone: 0800 111 4514
Undertakers / Funeral Directors will also usually take care of the provision of the coffin, hearse, habit/shroud, transport of family and embalming , organisation of and payment for the grave purchase, grave opening/cremation charges, church offerings, newspaper announcements, flowers, music at the ceremony and catering. Every small town in Ireland has an undertaker – and most people stay local when choosing one.
The price of a coffin varies widely, depending on the style and size required. A very basic oak coffin can start from €550 but more elaborate ones could be €2,000 and more.
Cremation is not very common in Ireland – probably because it is frowned upon by the Catholic church (or it used to be). There is only one crematorium – and that is in Glasnevin – Dublin Tel 01-8305211.
Wreaths and floral tributes are common practice – although more families are asking for charity donations instead.
Memorial cards – printed a few months after the funeral are also common in Ireland. These are a small card or bookmark with a prayer or two and some words abou the deceased person. A small picture is also on it. These are sent out to relatives and friends to help them remember the dead person.