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Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate their life, or offer practical support to the grieving family, there are many options when choosing gifts for someone who has lost a loved one.

In this article, you’ll find some ideas for thoughtful sympathy gifts and bereavement gifts, as well as some tips to help you decide what to give and when.

What makes a good Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts

Everyone approaches grief differently, so it’s important to go for a more personal approach and choose a sympathy gift that reflects both the recipient and the person they have lost. Whatever you give, make sure to accompany it with a written card expressing your condolences, sharing a memory of the deceased, and offering support.

Here are a few different bereavement gift ideas to help .

Thoughtful sympathy gifts

Tailoring your gift is a thoughtful way to express your sympathy and ideally personalize it as much as you can.

Personalized sympathy gifts

A personalized Condolence gift focuses on the deceased and helps to keep their memory alive. A Memorial Tree, A Memorial tree with an embedded Donation to a related Charity, photo frames, and jewelry inscribed with the person’s name, photo, and the date of their birth and death are a lovely way for the bereaved to keep that special person close to them.

Practical sympathy gifts

The family will be balancing their emotions dealing with legal proceedings and funeral arrangements, the bereaved family may be struggling to keep on top of things. Even if it doesn’t feel particularly special, a delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables, a freezer full of home-cooked meals, or even a basket of essential household items is sure to be appreciated. But remember to also be around / be in contact when things settle down.

Sympathy gifts for the bereaved

When a loved one dies the family and those nearest to the loss, may feel it is inappropriate to spend time enjoying themselves. Fine wine and chocolates or a mini-break or day out with friends are wonderful gifts that even if a little further down the road, will still be appreciated even if offered and not yet accepted.

Classic bereavement gifts

If you’re not sure what to get, particularly if you didn’t know the deceased or their family very well, you can always fall back on the classic sympathy gift ideas, a Tree, Plants, Flowers, photo frames, jewellery, candles, and gift baskets are all sure to be well received and appreciated.

The etiquette of bereavement gifting

Giving a sympathy gift can sometimes feel awkward – or you may worry about causing fresh upset for the bereaved during an emotional time. Many don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do, but it is important to continue to talk about the person lost and not avoid the subject, that in itself can cause more upset. When someone dies, it’s important to be respectful but as long as your gift comes from a warm heart it will help and always be remembered.

However, following the etiquette behind sympathy gifting is always a good idea.

Is it appropriate to give Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts?

Receiving a gift in a time of mourning can be comforting, the bereaved will be genuinely grateful for the gesture. However, if giving a gift feels uncomfortable for any reason, you can’t go wrong by arranging the planting of a tree and sending the Tree planting Certificate with a simple card that may say. ‘Just to let you know i/ we are thinking about you.’ That can mean a lot!

When should you send a sympathy gift?

It’s best to send your gift as soon as possible after learning about the death, preferably within a couple of weeks, at the one-month anniversary, on the annual anniversary etc, If you’d like to give them something more personal that will take longer to organize, send a card straight away to let them know they are in your thoughts. What to write can be difficult, so maybe something short yet Personal. Our website Irishurns and our website Irish trees both offer some appropriate messages that might inspire you so click here.

Who should you send Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts to?

Sympathy gifts are usually sent to the deceased’s spouse or an immediate family member. If a friend has lost a loved one, sending them a personal gift is absolutely fine and a great way to ensure that you give them something personalized. However, if there is a death in your family and there are many people mourning the loss, a gesture such as planting a tree in the deceased’s name or donating to their favourite charity or with Irish Trees you can do both as well as the tree planting Certificate being accompanied by a handwritten Condolence, on a handmade card.

Choosing thoughtful bereavement gift ideas for someone who has lost a loved one.

It can be hard to know what to buy for a friend or relative who has lost someone. We’ve put together a list of thoughtful bereavement gift ideas to help you choose the right item to send your condolences and honour the memory of a special person.

Memorial Tree Planting

Healing the heart and the planet. A gesture that will be appreciated now but remembered forever. It is probably the most enduring act, and an act that will last a lifetime.

Food hamper

Whether you purchase a pre-made hamper online or put together a selection of their favourite food, drinks, and snacks yourself, this gift is sure to be appreciated.

Flowers

Flowers are often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of a sympathy gift. They brighten up a room and offer a gentle reminder of the beauty of life but families often get too many or ask that flowers are restricted to family only. The other drawback is that they do fade and die and that may not be the experience they need. So perhaps a plant or a Tree for their garden?

Care package

A care package is a great way to remind someone that they are loved and to support them through their grief. Scented candles, calming teas, poetry books, and comfort food like chocolate and biscuits are just a few of the items that you might include in a sympathy care package.

Personalised gift

Most types of gifts can be personalised in some way, making them even more special. This shows that your gift is from the heart, and isn’t simply something generic that was bought last minute. The Planting of a memorial tree, Jewellery, photo frames, and blankets/ Foxford rugs are just a few bereavement gift ideas that can be easily personalised.

Picture collage

A picture collage is a beautiful way to remember a special person. Choose photos from throughout their lifetime, and make sure to include their friends and family this will be welcome and appreciated and it will help you the giver comes to terms with the loss too.

Keepsake box

A keepsake box can be a special place to gather important mementos, keeping them safe and making it easy to look through when they feel the need.

Sympathy card

If none of these gifts feel right, or you can’t afford to give something more, a sympathy card will always be welcomed. You might like to include a special memory of the deceased, a poem or quote, or simply offer your condolences during a difficult time. Sometimes it is nice note to have the preprinted “With Sympathy” on the front but rather a simple card where you write the message from the heart.

I do hope this helps when you feel you must do something but don’t know what to do.

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The Funeral Director can’t arrange everything – and you have enough on your plate!

Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.  

If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA

Dara and Louise are compassionate and very competent Funeral and Memorial Co-ordinators- this is a time when others need to arrange things for you so you have the capacity to grieve!

Bob Hamilton – Irish Urns and Memorial Trees

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Funeral co-ordinators such as RHEA, take care of all the additional jobs and tasks that people often don’t realise form part of a funeral.

A recent survey of funeral directors, conducted by Dr Natalie Roche and reported on in Irish media by Lynne Kelleher, has described new trends among funerals as “crazy” with some funeral directors expected to cover a range of extra tasks requested by customers.

The survey findings identify a greater need among the public for a wider range of services, additional support and more personalised choices when they find themselves organising a funeral and perhaps these changes reported by funeral directors, point to a need for additional support for the family.

Funerals, taking place as they do so quickly in Ireland, tend to be short, intensely busy and stressful periods, however at RHEA we believe a funeral need not lack the personal meaning we have come to expect from other milestone events.

RHEA

Funeral Director / Funeral Co-ordinator – what’s the difference?

The central role of a funeral director is to compassionately look after the person who has died and this involves considerable work in preparing them for their funeral and burial or cremation. This essential, private work must be done by the professional undertaker in the short few days following a death; they may not be able to attend to the many other tasks and concerns that fall on a family and their household at this difficult time. A grieving family are likely to be focused on ensuring a personalised funeral that truly honours the person at the centre, gathering friends and family together to remember.  A significant burden of organisational tasks accompanies this.  

Funeral co-ordinators such as RHEA, take care of the all the additional jobs and tasks that people often don’t realise form part of a funeral.  This can be anything from helping with carefully chosen music pieces and particular types of music or musicians, readings and ceremonial aspects, gifts and momentos, rituals or that unique Cremation Urn.  Outside of the funeral itself, support can be in the form of helping organise the gathering together of friends and family in remembrance by organising catering, looking after guests to the house, or after the funeral ceremony, making travel and accommodation arrangements for those travelling long distances and any imaginable little detail during those days. Their job is to do that extra work behind the scenes, to allow those in mourning to support each other, relieved of the stress of to-do lists and numerous phone calls so they can arrive at the funeral ready to say goodbye, without having to juggle and manage their way through various jobs on the day.

Growing trend for non-religious funerals

At the moment, 15% of funerals conducted in Ireland are not religious ceremonies and we expect, that, like other life milestones such as weddings and the arrival and naming of children, we will see greater numbers of people opt for customised ceremonies and events that honour their beliefs and the lives they live.  Over the coming years, we will see a growing need for a wider variety of services, as more people move away from the traditional church funeral. This will bring significant changes to the funeral industry and we are pleased to be at the forefront of serving bereaved people at a time when they have many questions and difficult decisions to make. 

RHEA

Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.

Regardless of whether someone chooses a religious service or a secular ceremony, the wish to personalise the occasion and seek support with arrangements, for example, the family may prefer a very special Urn that the funeral director simply doesn’t stock,and the family doesn’t have the time or emotional capacity to find it. Help with these types of needs can mean that those in mourning can draw great comfort in their bereavement, in the months and years after the funeral itself, as they look back on the meaningful choices they made to honour their lost loved one.

Undoubtedly, funeral directors provide an essential service to the public, no more so than over the past 2 years. Perhaps, given the changing demands from the public reported by funeral directors, we are beginning to move forward to new forms in Irish funerals which can facilitate a more personalised approach with the help of a funeral coordination service, while allowing the funeral directors to continue to look after the person who has died with the specialist care and compassion required.

Article provided by RHEA at the request of Bob Hamilton – Irish Urns and Memorial Trees

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A dignified way to say goodbye.

At Irish Urn[2] s, we wanted to create a sustainable business where we can do our part in the environmental emergency – The Sea Scattering urn which is a fully biodegradable urn. The Water Scattering Urn is designed to allow families to scatter the ashes of a loved one in a water burial in the ocean, river, lake, or beach with dignity and ease. The Water Urn comes packaged in a beautiful bamboo case, which serves to protect the water urn while it is stored and/or transported.

Once the Water Urn is placed in the water, it will float upright with the top portion easily visible above the water. The proprietary urn is designed to float like an upright buoy for up to a few minutes (time depends on the weight and water conditions) after which the bottom portion submerged in water will begin to dissolve and release the cremated remains, freeing them to spread underwater.  The remaining top portion may continue to be visible for a short time before sinking and dissolving out of sight.

The Water Urn [4] is completely unique and has some strong advantages compared with other biodegradable urns for water burials, other biodegradable urns used in burial at sea, and other options for scattering remains in the water. it is shaped like a buoy and floats upright and is made from a special biodegradable material. The shape, design, and special biodegradable and all-natural composition, made from plant-derived materials, is completely unique and important for performance. These factors enable the Water burial urn to float in a controlled manner and be visible to the family for a short period before breaking down and completely releasing and freeing the ashes in the water.

As a result, families can expect a smooth ceremony and predictable performance. The shape and special material are the keys as the weight distribution allows the urn to float for one to two minutes after which the bottom will fall out releasing and completely freeing the cremated remains. Shortly thereafter, the top will break apart and sink.  This gives families control and comfort knowing the ceremony will be beautiful and dignified.

The other products available for water burials are shaped so that the weight of the cremated remains is distributed and spread out across a large surface area and as a result, the urn takes a longer time period to break down which can make it a challenge for the family to know what to expect.  It is not ideal to not know how long the urn will float and this can result in uncomfortable and awkward situations.

Some other options like the sand urn and the salt urn will quickly sink and take a long time to biodegrade and release the cremated remains. Another feature of the Water Urn is that families can write special notes to their loved ones on the urn with a regular marker. This is something that has become very popular with families. The water urn also comes in a beautiful bamboo urn case which makes it easy, convenient, and safe to transport the Water Urn to the water burial site.

One company, Carlingford Lough Sea Tours help families scatter ashes in the most beautiful of settings – Carlingford Lough, and you can arrange boat hire for a group or a family to attend the Sea Scattering ceremony. You can contact Paddy or Marie by email – info@carlingfordseatours.com


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The Burren –

One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.
It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word ‘bhoireann’ meaning, ‘a rocky place’, which is a good description for this 350 sq kilometers limestone plateau in Clare. The rough, intriguing and attractive landscape was formed 300+ million years ago under the sea. Later it was shaped by ice, hard weather and, of course, man and his animals.

Not really a cemetery but still a place with many burials. The many wedge tombs and megalithic tombs prove that people have been living in the Burren for 5000 years. One of the more famous megalithic tombs, the portal dolmen at Poulnabrone, dates back to around 2,500 BC. ‘Dolmen’ means ‘table’, which is what a dolmen looks like – a large capstone on two or three standing stones. One of Our unique Urns takes it’s inspiration from the sacred place that celebrates lives lost but forever remembered. The findings at Poulnabrone showed a hard physical life with a coarse diet for people at that time. Among the 20 to 30 people buried there, only one lived to be 40. My Friends mother Maureen (RIP) painted this Dolmen and for anybody interested, it a featured image in one of my blogs on my website, https://irishurns.wpengine.com – Bob

Dolmen at sunset Ireland
Passage Grave from Neolithic Ireland.
urn Dolmen at sunset in clare Ireland
urn Dolmen at sunset in clare Ireland

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Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery

Questions and Answers

Q – What is keepsake Jewellery?

A- Keepsake Jewellery is referred to as many things Cremation Jewellery, Jewellery for ashes, Memorial Jewellery, Keepsake jewellery, Keepsake Pendants, Memorial Lockets etc.

Basically Keepsake Jewellery allows you to keep a tiny bit of your loved one’s ashes / lock of hair close to your heart in the form or a Memorial locket.

Each pendant has been designed with an internal space to hold the remains and is closed with a screw and the screw forms part of the locket loop and is very discrete.

We currently offer Cremation jewellery in the form of Keepsake lockets and pendants.

Q – Why do people like to have jewellery for ashes?

A- To lose a loved one, which is an aching heart break, and after a cremation it can give great comfort to know that you have them with you still, close to your heart. As these are such a special vessel we don’t offer any metals other than precious metals.

Q – What are the most popular types of cremation pendants?

A- Many of our clients are looking for something that is classy and discrete, no bling just tasteful jewellery that can be worn daily that won’t tarnish is cared for properly. We have yet to be asked for anything other than lockets for men or women but some businesses do offer rings also.

Q – How do you fill a Cremation Keepsake?

A – It is a very straight forward process, we provide a tiny funnel with full instructions on how to fill the pendant for ashes. Open the screw top. Have a tiny amount of ash on a folded sheet of paper. Insert the funnel into the Keepsake jewellery, holding steady in one hand, over another sheet of paper and then gently pour a small amount of ash into the funnel. Make sure to keep the screw treads free and then seal by placing a tiny droplet of superglue on the screw tread and quickly but carefully screw closed and allow to set.  

Q – How do you seal a Memorial pendant?

A- Make sure to keep the screw treads free and then seal by placing a tiny droplet of superglue on the screw tread and quickly but carefully screw closed and allow to set.  

Q – What types of ash jewellery are there for men?

A- We offer a range of Ash jewellery for men that includes for example the Dog tag Keepsake necklace, The Cuchcullian Hammered Ash pendant necklace or the standing stone Memorial necklace, each can be personalised with a little engraving. We can discuss what might fit without taking away from the piece.

Q – Why is it better to have gold or silver Memorial keepsake jewellery?

A- Firstly, the Keepsake necklace is a precious vessel and as such any metal other than a precious metal may not be fitting. The Other practical reasons are that Gold and Silver will not tarnish or wear away as other metal do, and as these ash lockets are for life they must be durable and wearable every day for a long long time. Buying a less expensive metal may make sense now but in no time they may need to be replaced as they wear and tarnish. Some of the lower end pieces available on the internet also stain the skin.

Q – Where are your pendants made?

A- Every piece of memorial jewellery is made in Ireland, Cast in Dublin, hallmarked by the assay office in Dublin castle, engraved in Dublin, polished and finished and dispatched form Dublin – our pieces are 100% Irish Made in every element.

Q – Are all your pieces hallmarked?

A- It is a legal requirement and a mark of tested metal quality that each individual piece of precious metal is hallmarked in Dublin castle before we can pass it to our client, the history of the assay office is 100s of years old and well worth a read.

Q – How long does it take to create a Keepsake Pendant?

A- Our pendants for ashes are made to order and most silver pieces can be created within a week and gold will be a little less than two weeks. Being individually made means that your Memorial Jewellery has been made specially just for you, nothing comes off the shelf as with all our Urns each pieces is created individually in a studio and not a factory.

Q – Are memorial ash keepsake pendants made to order?

A- Yes every piece is only created when we receive an order, we could preproduce batches but that would defeat the purpose of offering commissioned pieces of memorial jewellery and would make each piece less special. We cast of pieces once a week, they are then hand finished, polished, brought to the assay office for hallmarking, then brought to our engravers if being engraved, then collected and repolished before dispatching the keepsake locket.

Q – Can I personalise my Cremation Jewellery?

A- Yes, we offer engraving on most pieces, and we can discuss this with you, as you can understand the space is limited so generally an initial or a word / name may be all that we can accommodate on memorial jewellery, but let’s chat about it.

Q – Are there different chain lengths available?

A- We offer a 24 inch chain that can be closed at various lengths depending on your outfit, longer or smaller chains are available on request – just ask.

Q – Can I discuss any special requirements for my keepsake ash pendant?

A- Of course and we welcome it. Jewellery for ashes are very very special things, much more so than probably any other jewellery and if you would like to discuss an idea just contact us and we can help make it a reality on your locket or keepsake pendant or chain.

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right? Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate ...

The Funeral Director can't arrange everything - and you have enough on your plate!

Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.   If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA Dara and Louise are compassionate ...

Water scattering

A dignified way to say goodbye. At Irish Urn[2] s, we wanted to create a sustainable business where we can do our part in the environmental emergency - The Sea Scattering urn which is a fully biodegradable ...

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The Burren - One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word 'bhoireann' meaning, 'a rocky place', which ...

Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral

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Keepsake Jewelry - what is it and how does it work

Keepsake Jewellery from Ireland for ashes. When it comes to choosing a keepsake and you want something with an Irish connection and not be limited to mass-produced impersonal pieces, Irish Urns offers ...

What is an Ash necklace called?

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Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral ~ Poems to read at an Irish funeral

Irish prayer for the departed

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I, and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes, we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect.

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before, only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

Some people like to read from the very famous Irish funeral ballad – The Parting Glass – here is a link to the words and to hear the song.

Irish death saying

Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
Love leaves a memory
no one can steal.

Irish poem about death

I pray that you will have the blessing of being consoled…
May you know in your soul that there is no need to be afraid.
When your time comes, may you be given every blessing and shelter that you need.
May there be a beautiful welcome for you in the home that you are going to.
You are not going somewhere strange.
You are going back to the home that you never left.
May you have a wonderful urgency to live your life to the full.
May you live compassionately and creatively and transfigure everything
that is negative within you and about you.
When you come to die may it be after a long life.
May you be peaceful and happy and in the presence of those who really care for you.
May your going be sheltered and your welcome assured.
May your soul smile in the embrace of your anam cara (soul friend).

Don’t grieve for me ~ Poem for the deceased

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all…
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss…
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life’s been full, I’ve savored much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief –
Don’t shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

Nature and Saint Patrick

“May the Irish hills caress you.

May her lakes and rivers bless you.

May the luck of the Irish enfold you.

May the blessings of

Saint Patrick behold you.”

May the road rise to meet you poem

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand. 

Wonder and rebirth

May each day have its own wonder and rebirth,
Its molding of new life from unwilling clay,
Its springing in surprise from reluctant earth,
Its hint of victory on final Judgment Day,
And may the God of daily resurrections bless you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Eulogy poem

May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within.
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet on the road. 

Information on the Irish Wake can be found by clicking herehttps://irishurns.com/the-irish-wake-irelands-most-enduring-tradition/

Suggestions on how to arrange a funeral are at this link to the Irish Website Aftering.com

For more Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral and Irish Wake Toasts click this link

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Keepsake Jewellery from Ireland for ashes.

When it comes to choosing a keepsake and you want something with an Irish connection and not be limited to mass-produced impersonal pieces, Irish Urns offers a stunning range of Irish Crafted Jewelry, designed, and individually handmade in Ireland. Our pieces represent high-quality craftsmanship, expressed through precious metals with a Celtic influence.

 We don’t offer Stainless steel and gold plated options, just precious metals, each individually hallmarked in Dublin Castle.

Our sense of loss, coupled with our desire to be close to them, can leave us feeling open to closure, make it difficult to complete daily tasks, and even cause us to feel despair and anger.

Having lost a loved one, we want you to know that we understand and we’re sorry you’re experiencing this difficult time. We hope that our cremation jewelry can be a comfort to you during this difficult time.

In the following article, we will explain what cremation jewelry for ashes is, how it may help you in this difficult journey, and provide you with commonly asked questions surrounding the topic.

So what is cremation jewelry or keepsake for ashes?

One of the hardest things to do as a grieving family or friend of a loved one is to let them go for many the end of a funeral service or Cremation Services, as this is their last chance to say one final goodbye.

In some cases, people may choose to place the cremains (cremated remains) into an Urn and take them home to continue to be with the family, perhaps beside a photo or a candle.

 When the lost person is thought of and loved by several people, families may choose to place the cremains in One urn, and or smaller-sized urns, and often in keepsake jewelry like a necklace.

Cremation jewelry is also known as ash jewelry or memorial jewelry or jewelry for ashes or keepsake jewelry, a keepsake for ashes, this option allows you to keep a small amount of your loved ones remains with you at all times, so it serves as a way to hold their memory, their life story, and their spirit close to you.

As well as holding cremains, cremation jewelry can contain a loved one’s hair, dried flowers from their service, perfume, a piece of soil from where they were buried, a small amount of ashes, or a piece of clothing.

All types of memorial ash jewelry contain an interior compartment where cremation cremated remains/cremation ashes rest, locked away securely. Please note that the room inside is extremely limited. Cremation jewelry has an interior compartment and is different from jewelry that is infused with the ashes of their loved one.

What is cremation jewelry made from ashes?.

When the jewelry is crafted with the infused ashes, this is called cremation ash jewelry, the concept of remembrance is the same, yet how the jewelry is created is entirely different. 

This is where the ashes are infused into a piece of glass, porcelain or similar materials, and then sometimes even created into diamonds and they have then transformed into crystals or the more expensive diamonds.

What is the history of cremation jewelry?

Throughout history, the purpose of grief jewelry has been to acknowledge the loss of a loved one and the difficult transition the family would have to undergo without that person. It served as a reminder of one’s mortality to reflect on how precious life is.

While the exact origin date of cremation jewelry is unknown, there is evidence throughout history that mourning jewelry did exist. Today it’s quite popular among families and individuals because the loss of someone can be traumatic and getting used to life without them is a very difficult path.

A little bit about the cremation jewelry story. 

Cremation jewelry through the years.

We’ll take a look at how cremation jewelry has changed through the years into what families used today as a personal way to remember loved ones.

16th-century – was first known as ‘Morning jewelry’.

Back in 1500 S [16century], the concept of Mourning jewelry, a keepsake for ashes, much like jewelry for ashes was given to families as a symbol of loss.

This type of jewelry is referred to as ‘Memento Mori’ the Latin phrase for ‘Remember you will die’ as a way to encourage individuals to pray for their loved ones and reflect on their own mortality.

It was often given to the family by close relatives or close friends.

17th-century – Memorial jewelry begins to evolve during the 1600s (17th century) memorial jewelry involved bringing in the idea that a loved one’s memory should be honored through the wearing of rings, this type of grief jewelry was to be worn as a daily reminder that our loved ones influenced our lives and their memory deserved to be remembered. To help with this the rings will be engraved with the name, age, birth and death date.

18th-century dash acceptance of cremation jewelry became extremely common among the bereaved. With the passing of Prince Albert of England, Queen Victoria’s court wore morning clothes and dark keepsake jewelry.

This notes a dramatic shift in both use and acceptance of cremation as jewelry, as from here on all jewelry made for this purpose became more elaborately designed.

It was also during the 18th-century locks a hair started to be incorporated with the jewelry while it was not placed into an interior compartment like it is nowadays, it was beautifully braided into lockets.

19th-century giving families – the way to remember.

Finally in the 19th Century- it was recorded that men during the civil war in America, would leave behind locks of hair before leaving for battle, this gesture was so that families would have a piece of them to incorporate into morning jewelry if they didn’t come home. 

How is cremation jewelry worn and displayed?

How does cremation jewelry hold ashes?

No matter what type of cremation jewelry or purchase it will be a handcrafted design with a small hollow space that runs down the center of this piece the interior.

The interior cavity is discreetly hidden away with the access point being completely flush with the top or bottom and jewelry piece so the ashes of their loved one will be inserted into the interior cavity and closed off so they remain inside. 

The jewelry’s interior cavity is accessed either through a treaded screw that provides access to the interior of the peace.

A smaller funnel is used to place the cremated remains into the interior cavity and the screw is put in place to seal the cavity closed.

What are the different kinds of cremation jewelry?

Due to the rise in popularity of cremation jewelry, ash-infused jewelry, and handmade rings necklaces pendants, there are an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to choosing a type when browsing.

When browsing online they’re going to come across cremation pendants necklaces, rings, brooches, charms, keyrings, crystal stones, fingerprints etc. We offer Precious metal Keepsake pendants that are handmade in Ireland, individually crafted with a Celtic influence on each piece of cremation jewelry.

Cremation pendants.

Also refers to as cremation necklaces these are worn around the neck many people refer to this as keepsake urns or keepsake jewelry.

They can come in just for any type of design shape or material and are ideal for men women and even young adults since these are the most popular, you can ask to have some designed in a way for all shapes and forms including hearts, letters, teardrops, crosses, lockets or even medallions and Dog Tag Cremation necklaces for men.

They are often created using poorer quality metals -stainless steel, plated gold but we only ever offer keepsake cremation jewelry in a precious metal eg- Sterling silver and 10 carat gold that are each hall marked in Dublin Castle Assay office.

Type of materials used to make cremation jewelry?

At IrishUrns.com all our pieces are made with precious metals we do not create pieces in copper-brass, tin, stainless steel, or even gold or silver plated, all our pieces are made from sterling silver or 10 karat gold.

Sterling silver.

This is one of the highest quality of silvers available which makes it a fantastic alternative to gold it is an alloy meaning that’s a mixture of 92.5% pure silver and other metals like copper or nickel it is extremely durable compared to other metals and lasts for years that was properly cared for and it’s great for those who cool or neutral skin tones.

Solid 10 ct gold.

While gold ismore expensive, a solid 10 carat gold piece is perfect for those who want the traditional radiance and timeless look of a gold piece.

Why Gold?

 It will never tarnish, it requires minimal cleaning, and is easily altered or repaired 10 karats solid gold offers a good mix of durability value and purity and while being affordable it’s suitable for both men and women.

What can you put in your cremation jewelry?.

Or purchasing personalized cremation jewelry the only limitation is the size of a token that you would like to place in your cremation jewelry as these pieces can only hold items up to a certain size.

While many individuals choose to place cremated ashes into the piece, more and more people are starting to place other types of sentimental pieces in it, for example, a favorite aftershave or perfume of the person you have lost. 

The main thing to remember is that you want to choose a keepsake item that is close to your heart and that you are comfortable with placing into your memorial jewelry. Here are a few examples of what you can place into your memorial generally.

The exterior does not reveal that any of the ashes are installed aside.

When deciding whether to keep ash, hair, etc., make sure everyone in the immediate family is on board.

Some individuals may want to keep a portion of their deceased loved one, no matter how small the pieces, but other people do take solace keeping their loved one altogether in one piece.

The immediate family can ask for a few strands of hair from their loved ones’ doctor or the funeral directors conducting their ceremony. If you are not an immediate family member but you wish to secure a few strands of hair you would need to get permission from the family.

Joy of flowers.

If you’re looking for a unique way to commemorate your loved one, get a few of their favorite flowers and dry out and crush into a powder.

To add a dried flower to earn jewelry simply place them in a plastic bag and gently massage it until this crushed into smaller pieces. Then use a small funnel to slide the pieces into the interior of your memorial jewelry and seal the bail or screw within the some glue.

Soil from the burial site to the grounds of the burial site can provide a very personal way to remember the passing of a loved one. This is an ideal option for those who may not be able to visit the burial site regularly or for those who have been incredibly touched by the funeral service.

 Make sure to take some sandy soil that does not contain any stones, grit or pebbles as they can get caught in the opening of your cremation jewelry preventing it from being closed properly. 

If you do not have access to the burial sites or do not want to take soil from the area, you can use soils from any of your favorite locations, examples of this could be a walking route they always used a favorite walk they had, a park they visited regularly their favorite beach, soil from their back garden or their childhood home, or even soil from their favorite forest, our holiday place, the important part of this is to choose from a place that holds a great sentimental or happy memories.

A small piece of clothing.

Another alternative option is to place a piece of their favorite clothing in the memorial jewelry keepsake. It could be a small piece of scarf they wore every winter etc.

This is ideal for individuals who want physical reminders but are not keen on keeping items like ashes into jewelry.

How do I fill my cremation jewelry?

We understand that filling cremation jewelry is not an everyday ordinary task. To give you an idea of how cremation jewelry is filled here is some more information on what to expect. You will need a filling kit, the cremation jewelry, and ashes for the interior.

Step 1 – locate and remove the screw locator removed the threaded screw. This can be done by removing the screw bail at the top of the keepsake jewelry or by removing the screw on the backside or bottom of the pendant.

Step 2 – place the ashes into the funnel. You can make a funnel from a piece of folded card.

And start to tip with the funnel into the opening of the pendant and using a plastic spoon or utensil, place a very small amount of ash into the funnel. Use a toothpick or match, to gently push any ashes into the keepsake. Fill the jewelry about 80% full to leave room for the screw.

Step 3 – reinsert the screw bail.

Reinsert the screw and make sure that it sits flush with the surface of the jewelry. If it does not, then remove the screw and gently tap out some of the cremains.

Step 4 – Apply the screw and twist to close.

You can add superglue when half closed with a toothpick and quickly screw closed.

Step 5 – Wipe away any excess from the surface of the keepsake jewelry and allow the adhesive to set and cure for about an hour. You can then begin wearing your cremation jewelry.

FAQ.

Can you wear cremation jewelry in the water?

While cremation jewelry will be water-resistant to varying degrees we do not recommend that you submerge your jewelry piece in water all, especially in water where chemicals or soaps will be present.

Do you have to add ashes to cremation jewelry?

Not at all you can add other tokens of remembrance cremation jewelry if you wish to. Items like strands of hair, sand from their favorite beach location or even ashes from afar, from a burnt photograph, perfume, aftershave, etc. all work! You may also want to keep the interior compartment empty. 

Is cremation jewelry just for women?

Cremation jewelry is available for men, women, and children, and there is such a wide array of memorial jewelry available in so many shapes and sizes that you can pick what appeals to you most.

I don’t wear necklaces, what are my options for cremation jewelry?

If you’re not into wearing necklaces, then other cremation jewelry such as cremation bracelets rings, or key chains might be available or you can opt for photo engraved jewelry or fingerprint jewelry if do not require an interior compartment for ashes. We currently do not offer these but let Bob@irishurns.ie know if you would like something commissioned and we will work with you on a design.

I have sensitive skin, will cremation jewelry cause a rash.

Gold is pure, so you shouldn’t have any allergies. 

Can I engrave my keepsake jewelry?

Yes- most pieces have room to add a few characters but the space is very limited. Let us know what you would like.

Can you custom make cremation jewelry for me?

Yes, we can absolutely. 

Yes, we can custom design almost any pendant or design you’re looking for send us an email at bob@irishurns.ie and we can discuss your requirements.

Is cremation jewelry expensive?

There is something available for every budget online but our range is higher-end quality. 

Irish urns and keepsakes offer gold and silver so they wouldn’t be considered as cheap, but they would be considered as very good value and each one is handcrafted in Ireland and individually made to order.

Can you put the ashes in for me?

Unfortunately, this is not a service we offer, however, we do provide a step by step instructions on how to fill cremation jewelry and we can send you a filling and sealing kit if requested.

If you’re not comfortable filling memorial jewelry, your Funeral Home may offer this as a complimentary service.

Will cremation jewelry tarnish?

Over time, certain types of cheaper metals tarnish, it is due to natural oils in your skin from wearing certain kinds of perfume, even sterling silver may tarnish over time if it comes into contact with water but weekly cleaning and polishing with a clean cloth can prevent tarnish.

Gold, if it’s plated may tarnish, but we only sell 10 carat gold and it can be easily cleaned with warm water and basic dish soap and will not tarnish.

We hope you find you found the above information very useful and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have simply by counting contacting Bob@irishurns.ie       

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What is an Ash necklace called?

What is an Ash necklace called?

Also commonly known as Memorial or Keepsake jewelry, Keepsake for ashes, ashes pendant, ashes necklace, memorial necklace, memorial locket, cremation necklace, necklace for ashes, etc,  cremation jewelry is wearable jewelry that holds someone’s urns. … Cremation jewelry comes in all shapes and sizes.

Grief is one of the hardest human emotions to process, but it is something that we all have to deal with because death is unavoidable.

People now process grief in a variety of ways, with the ultimate goal of being able to say goodbye to a loved one in the healthiest way possible.

Cremation jewelry is one of the ways that some people cope with loss since it encourages people to open out about the death of a loved one and, in most cases, it serves as a mobile urn.

Because urns are already a part of our culture, why not add cremation jewelry to the mix? Some individuals still believe the latter is just a trend, but It’s been around for such a long time that it’s improbable to think of it ever fading away.

Continue reading to learn more about cremation jewelry and why it may be a helpful aid in the grieving process.

A Brief History

Most people believe cremation jewelry is new, although it has been around since the beginning of time.

Cremation jewelry was used to celebrate the lives of loved ones who had passed away or to keep their memories alive from generation to generation as the jewelry was passed down.

See an article on Victorian Cremation Jewellery here

We would like to make a case for cremation jewelry and highlight some of the reasons why it’s such a nice idea:

Style

Some of the cremation jewelry we offer is so unique that you can wear it with almost any piece of clothing.

They make it simple to pay tribute to your loved one in style, and they’re manufactured from high-quality materials to last a long time. For every taste, there is a style.

Closure

In the grieving process, closure is crucial. It enables us to close the chapter of our lives in which we lost a loved one, and to genuinely accept their death.

Cremation jewelry can help with this since it works as a memory capsule, allowing us to take our loved ones with us throughout our lives.

Love

That is why having a gift of remembrance that allows us to continue on their memory and celebrate their life after they have passed away is so vital.

Conclusion

Death is never easy for those left behind, especially those who are left behind.

However, accepting the situation in the first place is the first step toward healing, and cremation jewelry can help with this.

It can be a wonderful method to deal with grief and provide much-needed relief.

See our range here.

Also see our other Article on Cremation Jewellery here.

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Keepsake Jewellery – Keepsake Jewelry

Just a short article on why they work emotionally and how they work practically.

It’s really difficult to make decisions about what to do with cremation ashes. It’s a difficult talk to have, and it usually happens when emotions are running high and clarity is lacking.

So, why do people choose ashes jewelry or an ashes necklace?

SENSE OF CLOSENESS — For many people, holding or wearing an ash necklace can create a sense of closeness. Even just knowing that your loved one’s ashes are kept in jewellery for ashes around your neck, in your hand, or on your bedside table might provide some comfort.

PORTABILITY – Many individuals still choose to bury their relatives’ ashes in a conventional urn. The urn is frequently kept on the mantlepiece or in another prominent location.

However, a small amount can also be kept in Memorial jewellery. Because of its portability, ashes jewelry can be worn anywhere.

This portability is especially important while traveling or being away from home for a lengthy amount of time.

We’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories of cremation urns and ashes jewelry that have been misplaced, stolen, or shattered.

 Multiple vessels are generally recommended, A nice Urn, Cremation Jewelry etc. If you have all of your cremation ashes in one container and something goes wrong, it can be tragic.  

 A backup plan is always a good idea, and a necklace for ashes can be that plan and provide you that extra peace of mind.

SHARING THE LOVE – It’s a beautiful thing to do that each member of the family has a piece of memorial jewelry or other piece of ashes jewelry.

There are no disagreements on where the ashes should be kept.

Everyone can enjoy the pleasure of possessing a personal reminder of a loved one in the shape of ashes jewelry.

Cremation jewelry, keepsake jewelry, and ashes jewelry are all terms used to describe memorial jewelry.

Jewelry for ashes is a lovely and one-of-a-kind way to honor a loved one.

The pendants are designed to store a small memento of a loved one or pet inside a delicately constructed keepsake.

You can put anything you want within your memorial jewelry. A strand of hair, dried flowers from a particular event, ashes, or soil from a grave could all be used. It is a popular way to keep a loved one close.

Our memorial jewelry allows you to carry a completely individualized and one-of-a-kind tribute with you at all times. It brings a sliver of comfort to many people during times of despair.

Many of our keepsake jewelry pieces can be personalized allowing you to create something completely unique with whatever you want to include.

What to do with ashes after cremation? 

With 50%+ preferring cremation over being buried when planning their own funeral, many elements of the ‘traditional’ funeral are changing. 

So, what do individuals do with their Ashes?

The majority of people opt to scatter their cremated remains perhaps after a year or two having the remains at home in a special Urn, and then scatter when they feel reading in a special spot on land, air, or water.

Many people, on the other hand, keep a small piece of their cremated remains in cremation jewelry. Some of the ashes can be placed into specially created cremation jewelry items in this relatively recent practice.

Individual pieces of jewelry can be made for each of the deceased loved ones. Something to cling to.

Others keep the cremation urn in a Columbarium or Mausoleum for the rest of their lives.

These are freestanding structures that provide a place of memory, usually in a cemetery or church. The ashes can also be interred in a cremation or ordinary plot.

If you’ve decided to go this way, you can still make plans.

you can still set aside a little of the ashes to keep inside a piece of jewellery.

This allows you to have the ashes with you at all times.

For some, this is a source of solace and tranquillity.

Alternatively, some of my family and friends keep the cremation urn at home, on the mantle or in a garage box, because no one knows what to do with it.

This is a relatively common occurrence and one that is totally understandable.

People’s decisions to do or not do things are entirely their own. There are a plethora of options available.

We recommend that you think about cremation jewelry. It gives us a sense of closure, in our opinion.

This is primarily due to the persistent and underlying guilt that the Ashes haven’t been treated as they should eg-  in a drawer.

You can keep the ashes with you at all times this way.

Here at irish Urns and Keepsakes Limited, we know that people like to symbolize and remember their loved ones in different ways.

For this reason, we have a range of high-quality handmade Irish Keepsake Jewellery that can be personalized for you with engraving.

 We offer sterling silver and 10-carat gold pendants and avoid the cheaper metals at all costs as they simply don’t last.

Jewellery for ashes is a highly personal option that isn’t for everyone.

People who want to signify and ‘connect’ with a loved one who has passed away might use ashes jewelry as an option.

Another crucial factor to remember about ashes jewelry is that it does not have to contain ashes!

It might be anything that has meaning for you.

Several customers have added a drop of scent (or aftershave) to their remembrance jewelry.

But just knowing that their loved one is with them gives many individuals a sense of security and tranquility.

For many people, filling an urn for ashes or cremation jewelry can be a very traumatic experience, but we discuss that later.

It is simple, however, if you wish, you can inquire with your local funeral director.

We’ve discovered that if you’re having trouble with this task, they’re typically more than willing to help.

That’s totally understandable.

Memorial jewelry is made to carry a little memento, such as cremation ashes or a lock of hair.

The size of the compartments varies depending on the style chosen, however, they are often relatively small.

The pendant’s opening is a threaded screw.

Here are the steps to take when filling the pendant:

1. On a flat surface, place a piece of paper or a soft cloth. This will ensure that no little pieces are misplaced.

2. Gently unscrew the bail screw to open the compartment.

3. Place the mini-funnel (which we supply) in the aperture.

4. Using a little spoon, carefully remove a small amount of the ash (the finest particles) from the container it is stored in.

5. Gently put the ash into the pendant and catch any ashes that remain in the thread where the screw goes in with the toothpick.

6. CAREFULLY close the screw and make sure it lies flat. Please don’t

Make sure the screw doesn’t go any lower than the pendant’s surface.

The pendant should be sealed indefinitely.

This can be accomplished by utilizing a two-part adhesive glue and the tip of a toothpick to apply it.

Use a small amount of glue and work quickly so the glue does not dry before the screw is installed.

After your keepsake has been sealed, make sure the screw and pendant sit flat (especially bail pendants where the chain must run through the bail) so they sit properly on your chain.

You can also have your pendant sealed by a jeweller. The pendants were not made to be opened and closed repeatedly.

We hope you’ll be able to find something that brings you some relief and calm.

Click here to see our range.

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How to Choose the Perfect Cremation Urn

Finding the right cremation urn for a lost loved one is rarely a simple task. It is invariably a solemn endeavour, the importance of which can be overwhelming.

A choice that is usually made while in the midst of grief, it can be difficult to think clearly and sensibly when the pain of loss is still so raw and fresh. There are several different things that must be considered if you are to procure the perfect urn for ashes.

In order to make this painful process a bit easier for you, we have compiled a list of significant questions you should ask yourself when in search of an ashes urn. Focusing on the most practical aspects of this difficult decision will shorten your search considerably, and this will allow you to return to your grieving without distraction or undue distress.

What is the purpose of the cremation urn?

Ash urns can serve a variety of purposes and deciding how the urn will be used is the first step in determining the best choice.

For instance, if the ashes are to be kept in a single cremation urn that will be forever on display in someone’s house, then you will want a full-sized permanent urn for ashes with a beautiful and elegant design. The urn should be made from a hardy, long-lasting material such as ceramic, glass or wood.

If the cremation urn is only intended to hold the ashes until they are scattered, then you will require an ash scattering urn which is easy to fill and simple to use. These are available as a water ash scattering urn and an eco ash scattering urn. All our scattering urns are full biodegradable so they can be disposed of in nature once their purpose has been served.

If you wish to bury the urn for ashes, then you will probably want a handcrafted wooden cremation urn which is fully biodegradable.

If the ashes of your loved one are to be shared among a number of people, keepsake urns are best. These small urns for ashes or mini urns each hold a small amount of ashes and are ideal for when a large family wishes to share the ashes.

What is the best material for a cremation urn?

The best material for a cremation urn is largely dependent on its purpose. You can determine the most suitable material by asking yourself what you intend on doing with the urn after the memorial service.

If you plan to keep the cremation urn indefinitely then you will want an urn made of strong, durable material that will keep the ashes safe and not lose its shape or structure due to time or exposure. In this case, a ceramic urn, a glass urn or a wooden urn would be best.

If you wish to bury the ash urn in the ground or release it into the ocean, you will need a biodegradable wooden urn. These are made of natural materials which will decompose over time and do no harm to the environment.

If you plan to travel with the urn and scatter the ashes, you will probably want a wooden urn that is light, easy to carry and simple to manage. It is also important that the cremation urn holds the ashes securely while you travel to the scattering destination. Our scattering urns are made just for this purpose.

What is the best design for an urn for ashes?

There are a wide number of different designs which can be featured on a cremation urn. The design which is chosen should be a representation in some way of the person whose remains will be placed in the urn.

For instance, Irish Urns specialises in ash urns which have a Celtic influence in their design and have been inspired by Irish history and folklore. Therefore, our urns are perfect for anyone with Irish ancestry or an Irish background. The Celtic designs serve as a poignant and meaningful symbol of a person’s Irish identity and culture.

If the cremation urn is meant for a woman who is proud of her Irish roots, the bean na h-Éireann symbol would be a perfect design as it is seen as a celebration of the women of Ireland.

Similarly, if the urn is to be used for someone who was very spiritual, the double spiral symbol would be most appropriate. It is seen as a symbol of the balance between the spiritual world and the physical world.

The Tree of Life symbol could be used for someone who was strong, wise and led a long, fulfilled life, while the Claddagh Ring symbol could be used for someone who was a loving and loyal friend.

The design displayed on a cremation urn for a lost loved one should always be a reflection of their personality, passions and interests.

Choosing the right urn is a delicate decision which deserves time and careful consideration. You can browse our full range of urns for ashes here.

If you require additional advice or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us by ringing 00353 8625 58531 or emailing us at bob@irishurns.ie.

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Urns for Ashes – Irish Celtic Symbol Engravings

Irish culture is replete with symbols which are rich in history and deep in meaning. From symbols which date back to the times of the ancient Celts to more recent symbols which have a firm place in modern Irish society, symbolism is integral to our heritage and customs.

The urns for ashes in our collection feature a number of designs directly inspired by Celtic and Irish symbolism. These symbols say so much about the Irish identity and the Irish experience, which makes them a fitting tribute to anyone who had a connection to the Emerald Isle.

We have compiled a list of some of the most significant Irish and Celtic symbols, detailing their meaning and background. Our lovingly handcrafted cremation urns are made all the more beautiful and poignant with these gorgeous Irish symbols. Perhaps you will discover a symbol that best represents a loved one of yours.

Tri Spiral Symbol (Triskele)

Irish Urn close up of trispiral as potter finishes off detailing - Urns for ashes

Our exquisite array of urns for ashes can be made all the more striking and significant by this extraordinary symbol. The triple spiral (or triskele) is an extremely famous and popular Celtic symbol with a number of meanings. It is an ancient, arcane symbol and can even be seen at the entrance of Newgrange, a prehistoric Irish monument in Co. Meath.

Some see it as a symbol of eternity, with the past, present and future in constant rotation. Others see it as a symbol of the circle of life, an incessant flow of birth, death and rebirth. Perhaps the most Irish interpretation, however, is that of the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Whatever meaning you derive from this archaic symbol, whether it be related to the passage of time, the cycle of life or Irish religion, it is the perfect decoration for an urn for human ashes. Simple and elegant in appearance, but rich and complex in meaning, this symbol’s multiple meanings are a wonderful way to commemorate a life.

One of our cremation urns which bears this symbol is the Irish Celt Cremation Urn, which is pictured below in Cobalt.

Blue celt urn on stand - Irish Celt Cremation Urn - Urns for ashes
Irish Celt Cremation Urn in Cobalt with Tri-Spiral Design.

Double Spiral Symbol

double spiral

The double spiral is another Celtic symbol which holds a variety of potent and profound meanings. It can be found engraved on ancient Celtic tombs, graves and monuments all throughout Ireland.

It is seen as a representation of the balance between two opposing but inextricably linked forces, such as life and death, light and dark, day and night, creation and destruction. All of these forces are integral to life and must exist in perfect balance with the other.

It is also interpreted as a symbol of spirituality or a spiritual awakening. The two spirals act as the spiritual world and the physical world coexisting, occurring side-by-side. Some even see the double spiral as a symbol of the passing of the seasons, with the large spiral representing the bigger, warmer summer sun and the other spiral representing the smaller, colder winter sun.

Ultimately, the double spiral represents two entities, perhaps opposites, but connected together and dependent on each other for all time. It is easy to see why this particular symbol would be so meaningful to have engraved on cremation urns, especially when it is so rich in Irish history and heritage.

The double spiral can be found on many of our urns for ashes, including our Torc Celtic Cremation Urn, pictured below in Seaholly.

Torc Urn from ireland - urns for ashes
Torc Celtic Cremation Urn with Double Spiral symbol

Tree of Life Symbol

The Tree of Life has a special place in Irish history and Celtic symbolism. The ancient Celts considered trees to be sacred and believed that they had mystical powers. The Celts believed that trees held the spirits of their ancestors and served as a gateway between this world and the next.

The Tree of Life was symbolic of all the forces of nature intertwining to create peace, harmony and balance in the world. This is represented in the Celtic knots used to illustrate the branches and roots which mirror each other. Their symmetry shows how all living things are bound together, relying on one another in order to thrive. The entwined branches and roots, one reaching up to the sky, the other burrowing down into the ground, serve as a symbol of the relationship between heaven and earth, mind and body, the spiritual and the physical.

The ancient Celts believed that the Gods used trees as a way of communicating with them, so it makes perfect sense that the Tree of Life symbolises the connection between life and the afterlife. The intricate Celtic knots used in the symbol also emphasise how the Tree of Life is eternal and everlasting, the process of life and death forever circulating without beginning or end.

The Tree of Life is depicted as an Oak tree, one of the native trees of Ireland. This is because the Oak tree was the largest of all the trees in Ireland and was associated with strength, wisdom and longevity. The Celtic word for Oak is daur, which serves as the origins of the word door. This once again reinforces the idea of trees as a doorway between our world and the spiritual world.

Due to its symbolic and historic significance, the Tree of Life is a particularly poignant symbol for urns for ashes, especially for those with Irish heritage.

You can find this ancient Celtic symbol on our beautifully crafted Tree of Life Cremation Urn for Ashes, which comes in green, yellow and blue.

blue ceramic tree of life urn in blue - urns for ashes
Tree of Life Cremation Urn in Blue

Bean na h-Éireann Symbol

urns for ashes

The harp is one of the most renowned and instantly recognisable Irish symbols. It has served as the coat of arms of Ireland since as early as the 13th century. While it may not be as popular worldwide as the Irish shamrock, it is the official emblem of Ireland and can be found on the Irish presidential seal, Irish coins and Irish passports.

The Bean na h-Éireann (Women of Ireland) symbol incorporates the harp symbol with the body of a woman to act as a tribute to Irish women and the significant role they have played throughout Irish history. It is a symbol of the fight and struggle of Irish women for their rights and freedom. From the right to vote, the right to work and the right to choose, women’s liberty has come a long way in Irish society.

The harp is considered a symbol of grace, elegance, strength and beauty, and this is why it has now also become a symbol for Irish women everywhere and the Irish female identity. The beautiful blending of the Celtic harp and the classical female form is an especially powerful and meaningful symbol.

The Bean na h-Éireann symbol, seen as a celebration of the women of Ireland, is the prefect design to feature on urns for human ashes which are intended for an Irish woman. Whether she be your mother, sister, daughter or aunt, there is no better tribute to a woman who had Celtic blood in her veins.

You can read more about our Bean na n-Éireann Cremation Urn for Ashes here. It comes in Lough Blue, Gorse Yellow and Fern Green.

Bean na heireann Urn - Urns for Ashes
Bean na h-Éireann Cremation Urn for Ashes

Claddagh Ring Symbol

urns for ashes

The Claddagh ring is one of the most iconic Irish symbols in the world. Its unique and memorable design has made it a feature of several Irish love stories since its creation. The Claddagh ring can be used as both a friendship ring and a wedding or engagement ring, though it is more commonly used as the latter.

While no one knows for certain, it is widely believed that the ring originated in Galway, many centuries ago, in the small fishing village of Claddagh. The ring is positively steeped in myth and legend, with countless folktales offering an origin story for the famed piece of jewellery.

The Claddagh ring design is comprised of two hands clasping a heart which is wearing a crown. Each of the three elements contains its own separate meaning. The hands symbolise steadfast friendship, the heart symbolises true love and the crown symbolises undying loyalty.

The Claddagh ring is ultimately a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship and is often accompanied by an old Irish expression: “With these hands, I give you my heart and crown it with my love.Another saying frequently associated with the ring is “Let love and friendship reign”.

In old times, the Claddagh ring was worn to convey a person’s relationship status. If the ring was worn on the left hand with the heart pointing inwards, a person was married. But if it was worn on the left hand with the heart pointing outward, a person was engaged. Likewise, if the ring was worn on the right hand with the heart pointing inward, a person was in a relationship but if it the heart was pointing outward, they were single.

The Claddagh ring is one of the most eminent symbols of Irish culture and is seen as an emblem or token of the Irish identity. Couple this with its association of love and friendship, and the Claddagh ring is the ideal symbol for urns for ashes which will hold the remains of those who are deeply proud of their Irish roots.

You can read more about our Cairlinn Claddagh Cremation Urn for Ashes here.

urns for ashes
Cremation Urn for Ashes with Claddagh Ring Design

To browse our full collection of cremation urns, some with more Celtic symbols and some without, please click here.

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Cremation Urns for Pets – How to Cope with the Loss of a Pet

There are some who may respond to the idea of urns for pets with a slightly quizzical look or bemused expression. But the loss of a pet can be quite a devastating thing, and anyone who thinks otherwise or fails to understand this has clearly never known that steadiest and most reliable form of companionship.

Indeed, many people who have enjoyed the unwavering loyalty and uncomplicated love of a pet for many years may, too, be surprised by the depth of their grief upon its passing.

Our pets become a part of us and our daily routine so quickly and so firmly, their sudden absence can tear a sizeable hole through the fabric of our lives. Waking up one morning and not hearing the demanding barks for breakfast or the gentle but persistent scratching at the door can be both crushing and disorienting.

People don’t tend to send condolence messages when a pet passes away. But the experience of losing a pet should not be dismissed and an expression of condolence may be greatly appreciated by the grieving. Our love for our pets is great, so it makes perfect sense that the pain we feel for their loss would be equally great.

It is a pure love, untouched and unsullied by complex or conflicting emotions, and, inevitably, this will lead to feelings of pure grief. Pets ask for so little and give so much in return. They are an endless source of emotional comfort and support, freely offering their love, loyalty and warmth without condition or demand.

It has been proven several times that an adoring pet, whether they be canine, feline or any other kind, can help cure loneliness, empower someone to navigate adversity and even diminish the effects of depression.

The pain caused by a pet’s death can be profound and they should be mourned in a healthy and healing manner. Here are a couple of ways to help you cope with the loss of your pet and deal with your grief.

Commemorate the Life of your Pet

The most important step in grieving a pet is to directly acknowledge the reality of their loss. Truly accepting that your pet has passed and is no longer a physical presence in your life is the most essential and difficult step in the mourning process. One way of doing this is to have your pet cremated and place their ashes in a cremation urn.

The use of urns for human ashes is very common and is seen as a healthy and normal way of memorialising a lost loved one. The use of urns for pets should be perceived no differently. A pet is such a significant and meaningful part of any loving owner’s life, and the life of that pet deserves to be commemorated and honoured in a fitting manner.

Cremation urns for pets is one of the best ways for you to find closure and begin the healing process. When your pet has been cremated, you can hold a memorial service for them with the pet urn taking centre place. This will help solidify your grief, enabling you to make sense of your pain and direct it towards a small ceremony or event.

You may find it cathartic to say a few words or share a few fond memories of your pet. This will allow you to feel your emotions completely, honestly and openly, instead of trying to suppress, ignore or hide them. Concealing your sadness from both yourself and others will only serve to prolong the pain, causing the grief to linger for longer and have more of a detrimental effect.

Whether it be an urn for dog ashes or an urn for cat ashes, your pet deserves to be remembered and to have their memory cherished and respected. The pet urn for ashes should be placed, with love and affection, somewhere where it will always be seen. In this way, your pet will continue to have a place in your home after they have passed away.

Throughout all their lives, our pets never forget us and a beautiful, lovingly-crafted cremation urn will help make sure that we never forget them.

Create a Legacy for your Pet

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Another way of coping with the loss of a pet and commemorating all the precious time they spent by your side is to create a lasting legacy for them. You can do this by planting a tree in honour of your pet and dedicating it to their memory.

A memorial tree for a pet is a lovely and touching tribute, perfectly expressing and symbolising the ways in which pets enhance our lives and change us for the better. Just as our pets leave an indelible mark on our hearts, their legacy can leave a lasting and positive impact on the environment and nature.

Your pet’s memorial tree can be of endless help to other animals, by providing a rich and abundant source of food and shelter for wildlife. The thought of animals, not fortunate enough to be cared for and protected by a loving owner, finding shelter and warmth under or in a tree planted in your pet’s memory is a very comforting one. It’s hard to imagine a legacy for your pet more fitting than that.

The loss of a pet can be just as overwhelming and heart-breaking as any other loss. Don’t let anyone tell you differently or make you feel as though you’re being silly or unreasonable. Your grief is entirely healthy and natural and very real. It deserves to be respected by both you and those around you. It is yours to feel and experience and process in whatever way is most beneficial and healing for you.

In terms of years, your pet may have only been there for a small part of your life, but it is likely that you were there for all or most of their life. They deserve to be remembered with as much love as they gave.

Their love for us lasted their entire lifetime, so we should ensure our memory of them lasts for the entirety of ours.

Article written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


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Irish Love Story – Celtic Legends of Romance

Planting a native Irish tree in honour of a loved one is a deeply meaningful and heartfelt gesture. Whether it be a memorial tree or an anniversary tree, there are few better ways of expressing your love.

Incidentally, when it comes to tales of love and romance, the Irish are particularly well-versed. Ireland’s mythology of ill-fated, star-crossed lovers is rich and vast. The Irish have a long tradition of epic love stories that are breathtakingly romantic and heartbreakingly tragic in equal measure. These love stories have been crafted with the singularly Irish sensibility of poetic sorrow and poignant beauty, many serving as inspiration for legions of love stories told throughout history.

We have compiled a collection of just some of the most famous Celtic myths and legends concerning love and loss that have been passed down from generation to generation in Ireland for centuries.

Clíodhna and Ciabhán

According to ancient Irish mythology, Clíodhna was the Queen of the Banshees and the Goddess of Love and Beauty. A woman of staggering beauty, she was a member of the Tuath Dé Danann, an ancient family and supernatural race of God-like beings with great powers. The Tuath Dé Danann lived in a magical otherworld which presided over Ireland, but would occasionally descend and make contact with humans and the mortal world.

Clíodhna resided on the island of Tír Tairngire, also known as the Land of Promise. There she was forever surrounded by three mystical birds who fed from the apples of a magical tree and, as a consequence, had the ability to cure any mortal ailment. Their birdsong could lull any ill human who heard it into a deep sleep. When the human awoke, whatever malady they had been afflicted with was miraculously cured.

But it was the song of another which would prove to be her undoing.

Clíodhna fell hopelessly in love with a mortal from Ireland named Ciabhán and, so great was their love, she chose to leave the magical realm of Tír Tairngire and live a mortal life in the human realm. This was a considerable sacrifice on her part, but to many of her fellow gods and goddesses, it was a grave affront.

As she travelled across the ocean to be with her mortal lover, she stopped to rest for the night in the harbour of Glandore. It was here that the other gods exacted their revenge and inflicted a cruel punishment upon Clíodhna, for her selfish and disrespectful transgression.

Manannán Mac Lir, the God of the Sea, began to play a beautiful song which lulled Clíodhna into a deep sleep and then summoned a powerful wave. While still sleeping peacefully by the oceanside, Clíodhna was swept out to sea by the merciless wave and drowned, never to reach her lover.

To this day, whenever a particularly strong or forceful wave crashes down on Glandore harbour in County Cork, it is called ‘Clíodhna’s Wave’.

Fionn and Sadhbh

Fionn Mac Cumhaill was the leader of the Fianna, a heroic band of fearless hunter-warriors who embarked on various quests of valour and honour. One day, Fionn was out hunting when he suddenly came across a beautiful doe in a sunlit clearing. Fionn’s magical hounds, Bran and Sceólang, who were humans enchanted into animal form, immediately saw that this was no regular doe. The doe was, in fact, a woman named Sadhbh transformed by dark magic.

Sadhbh was the daughter of Bodb Derg, the King of the Tuath Dé Danann. She had refused the marriage proposal of an evil druid named Fear Doirich (a name which translates as ‘The Dark Man’). Humiliated by her rejection, he cursed her to take the form of a doe and left her to be brutally killed by hunting hounds. However, a servant of Fear Doirich took pity on her and told her that if she were to ever step foot in the land of the Fianna, the spell would be broken.

Sure enough, as soon as Fionn and his mystical hounds led Sadhbh back to their homeland, the curse was shattered. Sadhbh became a beautiful young woman once more and Fionn immediately fell madly in love with the daughter of the King of the Gods. They married swiftly and not long after, Sadhbh was expecting a child. As long as Sadhbh remained within the land of the Fianna, she would be safe and protected. But evil forces were drawing closer and their happiness was not to last.

While Sadhbh was still awaiting the birth of their child, Fionn and his warriors were called away to do battle. After several days’ absence, Sadhbh finally saw Fionn returning home in the faraway distance. Overjoyed, she ran to greet him, only realising the grave mistake she had made when it was too late. As soon as she crossed the threshold of the Fianna’s land, the image of her husband disappeared, revealing the Fear Doirich and his magical disguise.

The Fear Doirich had heard of how Sadhbh had once again made a fool of him by undoing his magic, and he sought vengeance. He once more transformed her into a doe, only this time the spell could not be broken. He then set a pack of wild, rabid dogs on her and Sadhbh fled into the forest, never to be seen again.

The heartbroken Fionn spent many years desperately searching for his lost wife, but she was nowhere to be found. Then, one day, he came across a small fawn, alone and lost, in a sunlit clearing. Fionn instinctively knew that this was his child and when he brought it back home, the fawn instantly transformed into a young boy. Most fittingly, the boy was given the name of Oisín, the meaning of which is ‘little deer’.

Deirdre and Naoise (Deirdre of the Sorrows)

Countless centuries ago, there lived a powerful man named Conchubar mac Nessa, the King of Ulster. The King had a storyteller and a druid, both men being highly valued and respected members of his court. But one day, the druid foretold that the storyteller would have a daughter who would grow up to be so beautiful that men would go to war over her and much blood would be spilt.

When the storyteller and his wife did have a child, who they named Deirdre, the King’s warriors wanted the child killed. But the king had other plans. He decided that the child would be raised in isolation deep in the forest, where she could cause no harm and no harm could come to her. Then, when she came of age, the king would take this beautiful young woman to be his bride.

And so, the young girl grew up alone in the solitude of the woods, growing ever more beautiful and waiting for the king to come and marry her. However, one day Deirdre was suddenly discovered in her hiding place in the woods by Naoise, a young and handsome warrior in the King’s court. The two fell in love and decided to flee together to Scotland, where they lived for a brief spell in happiness and peace.

But the King, incandescent with rage, was not to be humiliated in such a manner. He would not rest until he had his revenge and immediately sent his warriors to track down the young couple. Before long, the lovers’ new life together was cruelly and savagely cut short. As soon as they were found, Naoise was killed by a flying dagger and the devastated Deirdre was captured and returned to her infuriated fiancé.

Deirdre had no choice but to marry the vindictive king, but the hatred she felt for him only burned more intensely with every passing day. After a year of marriage, the king was further incensed by the obvious resentment and contempt Deirdre had for him. Seeking a means of ruthless punishment, the King asked Deirdre if there was anyone whom she hated more than him. Immediately, she gave the name of the man whose dagger had cut down her beloved Naoise.

With gleeful spite, the king announced that Deirdre was to divorce him and marry the man who murdered Naoise instead. While being escorted to her wedding with the man who had killed her one true love, Deirdre was overcome with dread and despair at the prospect of her new life. She threw herself from the chariot in which they journeyed and dashed her head upon a rock, freeing herself from an impending life of unending misery. In doing so, she was reunited with her darling Naoise and forever became known as ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’.

Irish Trees – Anniversary Tree Gift

The Irish certainly appear to have a distinct perspective when it comes to tales of love, one that seems to be innately melancholy. Hopefully, your own love story is more strongly favoured by romance than tragedy, unlike these Celtic tales.

You can express your own love for your other half in a uniquely Irish way by planting a native Irish tree in their name. You can plant an Anniversary Gift Tree and have an Irish tree of your choosing grown in honour of your relationship.  All trees are planted on 10 acres of beautiful lakeside woodland in North Co. Dublin and are expertly tended to by our devoted caretakers so they grow to be healthy, strong and everlasting. There is no better symbol to represent a loving and lasting relationship.

You can also have an Irish tree planted for a number of other occasions, such as birthdays, weddings or the birth of a baby. We are happy to plant a tree for any reason you wish. To find out more, browse our options here.

There are few better ways of expressing your love for someone dear to you than the planting of a native Irish tree.

Article written by Nicholas Collender.

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The Tree of Life – An Ancient Celtic Symbol

The Tree of Life has appeared in countless cultures, religions and mythologies all over the world and throughout history. Clearly, the idea of a mystical tree which embodies the essence of life is not unique to any one civilization.

Almost every faith has its own version of the Tree of Life, including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. The Tree of Life symbol even appears on Ancient Egyptian tomb carvings, possibly predating any other culture. However, the Tree of Life is particularly prominent in Celtic tradition and is one of the most enduring and meaningful Celtic symbols.

Trees were pivotal to Celtic life and played an important role in the structure of Celtic society and beliefs. Firstly, the trees of Ireland served a number of invaluable practical purposes. Trees were a natural, abundant source of shelter, food and medicine, and their wood was extensively used for building, weaponry and to create fires for warmth. Native Irish trees were clearly essential to Celtic life and were held in such high regard that they were considered sacred.

It was believed that trees served a significant spiritual purpose and acted as a gateway or portal between this world and the next. The Celts believed that the trees of Ireland held the spirits of their ancestors and that different types of trees had different magical powers that could aid them in times of hardship and adversity.

Tree of Life illustration

Tribes and druids would often hold ceremonies and gatherings under trees that were seen as especially hallowed. Under the sprawling coverage of a vast, tremendous tree, they would appoint chieftains in political procedures or perform elaborate rituals to appease the gods.

The Tree of Life was seen as a symbol of nature’s immense forces coming together and intertwining to create balance and harmony in the world. It was seen as a representation of strength, durability, protection, knowledge, experience and wisdom.

Ultimately, the Tree of Life was a perfectly balanced combination of all the forces necessary to maintain and enrich life on Earth. The entwined branches and roots symbolise how all living things are irrevocably interconnected and bound together, dependent on one another for survival.

The symbol is depicted as an Oak tree, as this tree was the largest, strongest and longest-living of all trees. The Oak tree would often attract lightning due to its staggering size and height. The Celts perceived this as a sign from the gods and worshipped the Oak as the most sacred tree of all the native Irish trees.

The Celtic word for Oak is daur, which is the origin of the word door. This reinforces the Celtic idea that native Irish trees were doorways to other worlds. Some believed that if you fell asleep under an Oak tree, you might awake in another world.

The ancient Irish term for the Tree of Life was Crann Bethadh, which literally translates as ‘The Feeding Tree’. If the Celts ever had to clear land in order to build new settlements, they would plant an Oak tree in the centre of the clearing in order to honour the Tree of Life and ensure prosperity.

If Celtic tribes were ever at war with one another, they believed that cutting down their enemies’ Crann Bethadh tree was a devastating blow to their defences that would render them powerless and vulnerable to attack. During warfare, cutting down such a tree belonging to an adversary was seen as a major victory.

Celtic symbol of the Tree of Life

The perfect symmetry of the roots and branches of the Tree of Life was also given great meaning by the Celts. The branches spread freely in the open air, reaching for the sky above, while the roots unfurled and burrowed underground, reaching deep down into the earth.

This is symbolic of the connection between heaven and earth, mind and body, the physical and the spiritual. In this way, the Tree of Life also represents the incessant cycle of life and the gift of rebirth. Like many other Celtic symbols, the Tree of Life is comprised of a Celtic knot. This illustrates how the Tree of Life is eternal, without beginning or end.

Today, the Tree of Life is an extremely popular design or symbol, particularly for those of Irish heritage. It is used to decorate and adorn a number of items from jewellery to various types of containers, and is even commonly used as a tattoo.

Due to its potent symbolism, the Tree of Life is the perfect design to feature on a Celtic cremation urn. Handcrafted urns engraved with the ancient Celtic symbol can be found at Irish Urns and make the perfect resting place for anyone with Irish ancestry.

It is possible to continue the Celtic tradition of the Tree of Life today and have your own Oak tree (or any native Irish tree) planted in the Irish countryside. You can have a tree planted for any conceivable reason, whether it be for a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, or any other occasion.

Planting a native Irish tree in honour of someone you love who has passed away is a wonderful and deeply touching tribute. Memorial trees are a perfect way of celebrating and preserving a person’s legacy. You can also plant a tree in memory of someone as a sympathy gift or memorial gift for a friend or family member who has lost a loved one. The memorial tree can be planted in the name of the deceased with an official planting certificate sent to the bereaved afterwards.

For more information on memorial trees and sympathy gifts, please click here.

Planting a native Irish tree in honour of a loved one helps to keep alive the Ancient Celts deep connection with nature.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

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Baby Loss condolence and sentiment

Baby loss condolence and sentiment suggestions that you can use or to help with your own inspiration… for just the right message.

These sentiments can be used on our Personalised Tree planting Certificates for The Butterfly tree or on our Urn Plinths.

The Butterfly Tree planting is arranged, a Planting Certificate is issued and €40 is donated to the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association – Féileacáin (Butterfly)

Your time with us was fleeting, our love for you is forever.

“We will always love you”

“We love you forever and a day”

“Forever in our hearts”

“Held for a moment, loved forever”

“We held you in our arms briefly, we hold you in our hearts forever”

“We Love You To The Moon And Back”

“Loved for a lifetime”

On this Earth you lived a moment, in our hearts, you live forever.

I was with you for every second of your life. You will be with me for every second of mine.

Holding you in our hearts until we hold you in heaven.

We held you in our arms briefly, we hold you in our hearts forever.

Too precious for this Earth, too beautiful for this world.

We wanted a baby. We were given an angel.

You were our best few moments.

Flying with angels, dancing on stars.

Your small life was the biggest moment in ours.

The smallest life takes up the biggest room in our heart.

A moment with you inspired an eternity of love.

Here for a heartbeat, loved for a lifetime.

Your heart beats in mine.

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

A moment in time, an eternity in our hearts.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up

the most room in our hearts.”

“Precious. Remembered. Loved.”

“Too precious for this earth, too beautiful for this world”

“Little Angel in the sky, boundless your soul did fly

as we said our last goodbye

can’t wait to meet you way up high”

“You were our best few moments”

“A beautiful spirit always remembered”

“In honour of angel baby, X.

You were too precious for this earth.

A shining star at night, a butterfly by day,

you will be forever loved, in the hearts of so many”

“Forever in our hearts”

“Loved forever”

“Flying with angels, dancing on stars”

“Your memory will live on”

Féileacáin (Butterfly)-Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland – SANDAI – A National charity.

Offering support to those affected by the death of a baby around the time of birth. Féileacáin was formed by a group of bereaved parents to supporting families affected by perinatal loss.

Féileacáin is a volunteer led organisation and receives no funding from central government, relying instead on the support of the community and the families who avail of our services and their friends.

Registered as a charity in 2010 ( CHY – 19635). 

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

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Does Nature Improve Our Mental Health?

This article originally featured on connectingwithnature.ie.

Think of somewhere where you could feel calm and relaxed. Chances are that you have just imagined yourself in a woodland glade, or a garden space, or even on a sunny beach with palm trees rustling in the wind. 90% of people who are asked that question will always imagine a natural setting as their personal paradise. It’s an ingrained desire for humans to seek out nature or to be gladdened by its existence.

This need to connect to nature is known as biophilia. Literally meaning ‘attracted to life’, biophilia is the theory that human evolution is so tied in with nature and plants, that their absence causes discord within us, leading to poorer health outcomes and impaired mental and social well being.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

What happens when we view nature or natural beauty?

“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower”, Hans Cristian Anderson wrote. 150 years later, it seems that Mr Anderson is being proven correct.

Interactions with nature fill people with positive feelings and ‘prosocial’ tendencies. It doesn’t even have to be direct contact with nature. When a group of people were shown a short film about woodlands, they later reported feeling better and happier about the future. They even thought more about their own social responsibilities and less about self-importance and entitlement.

In the real world, these tendencies have been demonstrated in areas that have been regenerated with plants and trees. Areas such as these have recorded fewer anti-social activities. Those who live in these places have reported a renewed sense of social responsibility, neighbourhood civility, and increased cooperation in the community. These changes indicate that biophilia and natural spaces should be playing a large role in urban community design.

Connecting with nature offers an opportunity for mental restoration and has been shown to increase the ability for conducting focused tasks in workplaces. Even a brief walk in a planted area dispels mental fatigue and allows employees to work better when doing work that is mentally taxing. Offices with natural views, or where employees are encouraged to bring their own plants, are more productive and have a lower incidence of self-reported sick days. Even windowless offices were shown to have reduced levels of employee stress when plants were introduced.

At the University of Illinois, scientists looked at the effects of nature on children in school. They found that a short 20-minute walk in a natural park greatly enhanced attention spans in children diagnosed with ADHD. Similar studies in Norway found that pupils were more enthusiastic about going to school and their classrooms when plants were introduced and that illness and complaints such as coughing and irritability were also reduced by as much as 21%.

Connection with nature affects physical health

Nature and plants also help in-hospital recovery times and even play a role in the prevention of illness. A prolific researcher in this area, Roger Ulrich, has demonstrated that patients recovering from illness or operations recover faster when given a view to a natural landscape. This effect also happens when plants are arranged near to windows and natural light in patients rooms. He also found that greenery in a room or a natural area within walking distance reduced stress levels of both staff and patients in hospitals.

Other studies found that the presence of plants induces greater tolerance of pain in patients. Interestingly, flowering plants instil even greater tolerance than non-flowering.

So why do we respond so positively when presented with nature and natural landscapes?

Our evolutionary road has played an important role in how we respond to nature. Before the industrial revolution, the vast majority of humanity lived an agrarian, or agricultural lifestyle. This involved an extremely close relationship with nature and natural life. Indeed, it was essential for survival itself.

Consider that it is only in the last 250 years that we have moved away from 12,000 years of agrarian living. Technological developments in the last two centuries have allowed modern humans to distract and shield themselves from the natural world. Over the past three decades, in particular, we have become more consumed by our technology and less in tune with the natural world. A new approach is necessary to reduce the illnesses and disorders which are increasing in frequency as time moves on. As we abandon nature, we are creating discord within ourselves.

Reconnection with nature is necessary to lessen the impacts of modern life on our mental and physical health. A slight step back from the hectic and demanding world and a reintroduction to the natural is some thing worth considering.

We may be arriving at a turning point, however. The last decade has seen a rise in people making efforts to reconnect with nature. People are noticing more and more, the environmental degradation which has taken place and are working to fix the problems of the past. Projects to restore natural environments have been initiated on a national level with broad support from the general public.

How can we connect with nature?

It is quite simple really!

1. Go for a walk

Look around, listen, take it all in! There is a whole world out there which we have learned to ignore. It buzzes around us, floats overhead, scurries along the highways beneath the long grass. It is there if we choose to see it.

2. Grow a garden

The act of caring for a plant and watching it grow has been shown to increase feelings of self-worth and achievement. A garden is not just beautiful to look at, it is an incredibly rewarding undertaking. It can be used to create a habitat that will encourage even more life to set up home. You don’t need a huge space, even a window blooming with flowers will perform the same function on a smaller scale.

3. Invite nature to come to you

Hang bird feeders close to a window or a place it can be easily seen. Plant pollinator-friendly plants and provide safe nesting places for the pollinators by hanging bee & insect hotels, encouraging these tiny friends to visit and stay. Not only does the act of viewing nature calm the mind, but the quick, darting behaviour of birds and insects helps to sharpen mental acuity and eye coordination.

4. Introduce plants and flowers inside and outside your home or workplace.

Even just one plant has been shown to increase feelings of positivity and wellbeing. It also has the bonus of reducing dust and freshening the air inside.

5. Encourage and inspire others to get involved.

Organise kids activities such as ‘bug hunts’ or scavenger hunts. Share photographs on social media of insects, birds, plants, etc. The act of taking or even just viewing these photographs can help in reducing stress or anxiety.

We have evolved to appreciate and want to connect with all forms of life. Perhaps it is time we organised our social activities to focus more on the natural and less on the technological. There is room to find a balance for both. In the end, we may find that this balance is what is needed to achieve higher life satisfaction.

Article written by Julie Power.

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right? Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate ...

The Funeral Director can't arrange everything - and you have enough on your plate!

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Tree of Memories – In Partnership with LauraLynn

LauraLynn (Ireland Only Children’s Hospice) and Irish Urns and Memorial Trees have partnered to offer a ‘Tree of Memories’ with an embedded €40 donation to this wonderful charity.

Planting a native Irish tree in memory of someone is a beautiful gesture and cathartic act. It enables us to express our grief and offer comfort in a profound and moving way that goes beyond mere words.

 The gift of a memorial tree can now be made even more heartfelt and unique due to this wonderful collaboration.

Our recent collaboration with LauraLynn means that your loved one can continue to have a deeply positive impact on the lives of many, even after they are gone. When you plant a tree in memory, you can also make a donation to this worthy cause in the name of your lost loved one.

“There is no better tribute to a life than a charitable contribution made to a remarkable organisation. Your Memorial Tree can be both an act of lasting remembrance as well as an act of compassion and generosity.Bob Hamilton – CEO – Irish Urns and Memorial Trees.

LauraLynn – Ireland’s Only Children’s Hospice

”LauraLynn are honored to partner with Irish Urn’s Memorial Tree initiative this year. Planting a tree in memory of a loved one is a very compassionate act that lasts a lifetime, and we are so grateful that this kind act will also support the work that we do here in Ireland’s only children’s hospice. Creating lasting memories and moments is a huge part of what we do in LauraLynn, making this a lovely way for people to support the specialized care and support which we provide to children with life-limiting conditions and their families across Ireland.” Kerry McLaverty – CEO, LauraLynn

LauraLynn is Ireland’s only children’s hospice. They provide specialised care and supports to children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Their aim is to make the most of short and precious lives and all of their extraordinary work is underpinned by their core values of Compassion, Collaboration and Excellence.

They help to make every day memorable, fun and enjoyable for those in their care and organise special events which give families the opportunity to spend quality time together in a stress-free environment specifically tailored for them. They also provide various forms of support to the family of the child and offer a respite from the responsibility of caring for an ill child.

LauraLynn’s ultimate goal is to provide first-rate, personalised care and specialised services to both child and family in a fun, friendly and compassionate environment. The LauraLynn Model of Care describes the five pillars of children’s hospice care: Direct Care, Family Support, Symptom Management, End-of-Life Care, and Bereavement Support. The aim of this Model of Care is to ensure that the unique needs of each individual child and their family are met and provided for in the best possible way.

How to Order a Tree of Memories and Make a Donation

A ‘Tree of Memories’ can be ordered on either one of our websites, www.irishurns.com and www.irishtrees.ie. You can choose your tree from a range of eight native Irish trees. The tree will then be planted on 10 acres of beautiful lakeside woodland located in North County Dublin, near the small village of Naul. The tree will slowly grow forever in this tranquil setting, surrounded by thousands of bulbs and millions of wildflowers.

A personalised official Planting Certificate (customised at checkout) is both emailed to you and physically posted to your chosen delivery address. Your donation to LauraLynn is included in the price of the tree and specified at checkout. This donation will be acknowledged on the Planting Certificate, but not the exact amount. Once the tree has been planted, it will be expertly tended to by our caretakers so it grows to be strong, healthy and long-lasting.

Next Steps

If you have any questions or wish to speak to someone directly about this service, please email us at bob@irishurns.ie or call 00 353 (0)86 255 8531. You can also visit either our Irish Urns and Memorial Trees website, www.irishurns.com, or our Irish Trees website, www.irishtrees.ie.

About LauraLynn

LauraLynn is Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice providing palliative and hospice care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families from all across Ireland. LauraLynn, provides a range of services including, symptom management for children, music and play therapy, psychological support, family and sibling camps, short breaks, Crisis Care and End of Life Care. Care can be availed of in our specialized hospice in Leopardstown, at hospital, in the community, or in the family home, depending on the location and medical needs of the child and the family’s preference. LauraLynn provides vital bereavement supports to families after they have lost a child. LauraLynn also undertakes research into the relatively new area of children’s palliative care. LauraLynn relies primarily on fundraised income and this year alone must generate €5.5 million through fundraised income. Since opening in 2011, LauraLynn has cared for almost 481 children and their families, with 374 children and families currently availing of care & supports.

For further information please visit lauralynn.ie

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Irish Trees in Mythology and Folklore

Irish Trees in mythology and folklore are often celebrated for the numerous benefits they provide for the environment. However, the Celts cherished trees long before their environmental values were discovered, which can be seen through their mythology and folklore. 

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

The Irish’s love for trees is reflected across the country as over 10,000 places in Ireland contain a tree in their name. This includes the county of Derry, whose named evolved from the Gaelic name for a place of Oak trees.

It is believed that our fascination and admiration for Irish trees stemmed largely from the fact that they serve as symbols for pure human life, as they too are living beings that fight to live and grow. 

In Ireland in particular, their deep respect for trees can be seen throughout history. One of the earliest examples that showcase the Celt’s appreciation for trees is the Ogham alphabet, which was used to write the early Irish language.

Every letter of the Ogham alphabet is associated with a tree that begins with the sound that the letter depicts. Out of the Ogham alphabet grew the Celtic Tree Calendar which consists of 13 months, each of which is symbolized by a tree and its ogham letter. The roots of the calendar lie within ancient Celtic folklore. 

Irish folklore and mythology is saturated with tributes to trees. According to Celtic mythology a tree, in particular a hazel tree, was the first creation on Earth.

The first Irish hazel tree, which grew upon the Well of Wisdom, was said to have held all the knowledge of the universe within its branches. When a salmon in the Well of Wisdom ate the nuts that fell from the hazel tree, it obtained all the knowledge of the universe that the tree bore, becoming the Salmon of Knowledge.

The legend goes that the first man to eat this salmon would then have all the knowledge passed on to them. The man to do so was Fionn MacCumhaill, who later used this knowledge to become the leader of Fianna, a band of famed warriors in Irish mythology. 

The story continues with Fionn’s son, Oisín, who went on to marry Niamh, the daughter of the King of Tír na nÓg. Oisín traveled with Niamh back to Tír na nÓg, a Celtic Otherworld known as the Land of the Young, where the trees stay green and the people never age.

After 300 years, Oisín traveled back to Ireland where he immediately aged into a withered all man when he touched the ground and filled with sadness upon hearing the news that his father, Fionn, and all of Fianna had died. Oisín spent the last of his days telling tales of his father and Fianna as well as Niamh and Tír na nÓg, which continue to live on to this day.

Yet the Irish folklore tales regarding trees do not end there. Due to their extraordinary structure, with their roots spreading underground and their branches reaching high in the sky, ancient Celts perceived trees as doorways to the underworld and heavens.

They also believed Irish trees were home to the spirits of their ancestors. As such, trees in ancient Ireland were believed to be protectors.

Five Irish trees in particular were known as the “Guardian Trees of Ireland”, which sheltered each of the five provinces. Celtic folklore describes the “Guardian Trees of Ireland” as follows: Eó Mugna (Oak tree), Bile Tortan (Ash tree), Eó Ruis (Yew tree), Craeb Daithí (Ash tree), Craeb Uisnig (Ash tree).

Legend says these trees grew from seeds given by a descendant of the otherworld. 

The Celts further showcased their respect for trees by tributing a specific symbol to individual tree species. In Celtic history, Oak, Ash and Hawthorn trees were the most sacred trees.

Oak trees embodied truth, courage, and wisdom. The Oak tree is also featured in the Celtic Tree of Life symbol.  Irish Ash trees were cherished for their strength and healing power.

Hawthorn trees were believed to be representative of love and protection.

Perhaps due to their prominence in Irish history, which brands Hawthorn trees as a tree to be respected, Celtic folklore tells of how these trees are also the subject of a variety of superstitions. One of the most famous examples of such is the “Irish Fairy Tree”. 

Believed to be sacred to the fairies, and possibly even serve as a gateway between worlds, lone hawthorn trees that stand in the middle of a field are never cut down.

These trees are thought to bring good luck to the landowner and terrible misfortune upon whomever damages it.

This superstition is so widely shared that it is not uncommon to drive around Ireland and see fields of farmland with Irish fairy trees right in the middle, as many farmers fear to cut them down and instead choose to work around them.

While many “Irish fairy trees” exist, the most well-known is located on the Hill of Tara.

People often travel to these trees in order to tie ribbons around them, representing their wishes or prayers, and many leave gifts behind as a sign of gratitude for a wish that was granted. 

The rich history of trees in cultures around the world, particularly Irish mythology and folklore, tied with the environmental benefits they provide make the planting of an Irish tree the perfect gift for any occasion.

The planting of an Irish tree to memorialize a loved one is growing increasingly popular around the world. 

Article written by Charlotte Morten

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Irish Genealogy – Finding Your Roots in The Wake of Loss

The death of a loved one can be an utterly transformative experience. Losing someone dear can send a person reeling and leave their world in disarray. Priorities change, values shift and a person’s perspective on their life and what is important to them can be irrevocably altered. What you once knew about the world is no longer necessarily true and what you once thought about life is no longer a certainty.

Death can feel like an explosion that tears mercilessly and suddenly through your life, shattering everything to pieces. The closer you were to the one who died, the closer you stood to that explosion and the greater the impact it had. As you attempt to piece your world back together in the wake of loss, you may find yourself wondering how your life came to be shaped this particular way in the first place. How did all the different pieces of who you are fall into place?

For these reasons, the grieving process is often a very reflective and pensive time. It can usher in prolonged periods of profound contemplation and introspection. You may find yourself ruminating who you are and where you fit in a world that now feels very different in the abrupt absence of your loved one. As you ponder these big questions, the search for answers may lead you to the past. Facing a future that has been made uncertain and strange by loss is frightening and there is sometimes comfort and wisdom to be found in looking back into your history. This is where genealogy can play a significant and meaningful role.

Culture, Connection and Identity

A person’s identity can be left shaken greatly by grief. Experiencing a loss may leave you feeling isolated and untethered; lost, alone and set adrift in the anguish of mourning. Genealogy can be extraordinarily reassuring for a person’s identity and strengthen their sense of place and purpose in the world. The more knowledge you have regarding your heritage and cultural background, the more authentic and singular your identity and life will feel. It can also help ground and centre you during a very confusing and painful time in your life. Knowing where you came from can help you decide where you might go next, the course of your ancestral past giving direction to your personal future.

Tracing your roots and learning about the history of your family tree can help you feel closer to your family, even if they are no longer alive. Understanding your ancestry in minute detail and embracing your own distinctive culture and traditions will help you feel more connected to a long line of varied and diverse people, no two of whom lived the same life. No matter how long ago they may have lived, each and every one of your ancestors played a consequential hand in moulding the shape of the life you now lead. The echo of their lives, whether it be from a hundred years ago or a thousand, continues to resonate in yours today.

Tracing the roots of your family tree is the main goal of genealogy.
Tracing the roots of your family tree can strengthen your sense of identity

As you explore your family history and heritage, you may even uncover ways of mourning a loss or honouring a death that are unique to your culture. For instance, one Irish tradition concerning the death of a loved is the Irish Wake. Many people in Ireland still practise this age-old custom today, congregating at the home of the deceased to show their respect and raise a toast to their memory. Learning how your ancestors confronted death and responded to the passing of a loved one could bring you some solace or clarity as you process your own grief.

Genealogy has the power of boosting your self-worth by making you understand just how truly individual you and your family history are. It can make you feel a part of something much bigger than yourself and give you a sense of belonging. It can give you a reinvigorated sense of motivation and autonomy in life by framing the complete story of your ancestors in your head accurately and meticulously. You are part of a story that is still unfolding, a story in which you play a pivotal role and determine the course of the next chapter.

A New Perspective

Genealogy can also give you a fresh perspective on life and a renewed appreciation for living when and where you do. Life is rarely easy for any of us, but life many years ago would have been even more challenging and unforgiving. Your ancestors almost undoubtedly faced seemingly insurmountable hardships and adversity, the world they inhabited vastly different from the one we inhabit now. You can acquire a wider and deeper knowledge of the social and political landscape of the world down through the centuries and use this to paint the most vivid picture possible of the environment your ancestors were immersed in.

Your ancestors may have endured and overcome rampant prejudice, blatant discrimination and inequality or cruelly uncompromising and deeply oppressive social mores and customs. They may have suffered dire poverty or succumbed to the ruthless ravages of old diseases and maladies which have long since been cured and eradicated. All of this can serve to make you more resilient and dauntless in the face of your own challenges.

People who avail of genealogy services often describe it as an eye-opening experience which provides them with a more positive and discerning outlook on life. Learning the intimate details of your ancestors’ past can imbue you with a new vigour for the present and embolden you to live life to the fullest and seize the day while you can. Discovering the endless multitude of ways that a person can experience life and spend their time on this earth can make you a more kind, thoughtful and empathetic person.

Gratitude and compassion are often the emotional outcomes after learning of life outside of your own lived experience. This can be particularly true when that life is so close to your own in one way yet so far removed in another. The sheer scope and infinite number of possible lifetimes lived through time and space can be dizzying, humbling and life-affirming.

How to Get Started

Thankfully, tracing your family history has never been easier. In the last ten years, Irish genealogical records – both online and offline – have become more accessible than ever before. There are a number of publicly funded websites which provide the tools necessary to unearth your family history. This rapid development in genealogy has been propelled by Ireland’s long history with emigration and diaspora. A large number of people all around the world have expressed everything from a mild curiosity to a burning passion for learning their Irish ancestors’ exact experiences in life. Consequentially, the now wide availability of records and transcripts means most people with Irish roots should be able to trace their family history back to at least the mid-to-early 1800s quickly, easily and, most probably, for free.

Irish Genealogy - Irish Emigrants
The Irish have a long history of emigration and spreading their roots all over the world

But before you start perusing and poring over countless records, registries and databases, the best first step would be to talk to the oldest living members of your family. Whether it be a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle or even your own parents, asking your family for as much details as possible concerning your family history can be the best place to begin, pointing you in the right direction and saving you a great deal of time.

Tangible records and documents are all too easily destroyed or lost, and often have been down through the years in fires, floods, explosions and other cataclysms. That is why it is of paramount importance to accumulate the oral history of your family from your eldest relatives while you still can. Otherwise, all of that precious, irretrievable information could die with them and be lost forever.

Once you have all this verbal knowledge gathered, you can then embark on the task of unravelling the plethora of invaluable sources. This includes censuses, tax surveys, civil records and church registers, all of which can be found online. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht operate a fantastic free site at irishgenealogy.ie that features complete images of the civil records of births, marriages and deaths ranging from 1864 to 1966.

Additionally, superlative advice on how to conduct the best genealogical practices and news of new historical records being released can be found on the Irish Genealogy Toolkit. This site can serve as wonderful and insightful starting point on your genealogy journey, telling you what records are available and where.

Another website which offers a range of professional Irish genealogy research services is Timeline, who are the Irish researchers for Who Do You Think You Are? UK and USA and many other radio and television shows. They have also conducted research for governments, public and private institutions and thousands of people across the globe wishing to discover their Irish origins. If you want to look further, here is a list of other free Irish genealogy resources of which you can easily avail.

Irish Coat of Arm Parchments

If you wish to possess a physical representation of your Irish family’s history and heritage, Gifts of Ireland are providing a truly unique and remarkable service. The written and illustrated story of 180 traditional Irish surnames can be found here, replete with distinctively Irish designs, symbols and markers such as the Book of Kells or the Claddagh. Beautiful, intricate parchments featuring historical coat of arms for numerous Irish family names have been exquisitely realised using Celtic calligraphy and art, lavishly elaborating their rich history.

Irish Genealogy - Irish Coat of Arms Parchment
Example of an Irish Coat of Arms Parchment

Created by Irish artist Edmond McGrath and just recently rediscovered after over forty years, the ornate documents are now available to the public for the first time. This superbly rendered illustration and lovingly crafted expression of your Irish identity can be proudly hung on your wall to always remind you of where you and your family first began their sprawling saga. Click here to see if your surname is a part of this resplendent collection of Irish Coat of Arms Parchments.

Past, Present and Future Collide

Genealogy is a fascinating, unpredictable and deeply rewarding undertaking. It is a journey which transcends time and space, connecting you to the past, present and future. It enables you to forge a stronger and deeper emotional connection with your family’s past and enriches your present with a greater knowledge and understanding of who you are and where you came from. It will also motivate you to seriously consider the future generations of your family and the possible course or trajectory of their lives.

In doing so, you may decide to record and preserve the details of your own life for posterity. Any number of descendants could inherit your inquisitive nature and prove to be as curious about their family history as you are now. You have the power to make their genealogical endeavours even easier and more accessible than your own by documenting your days. After all, before long, your present will become their past.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Article written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

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Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.   If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA Dara and Louise are compassionate ...

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The Irish Wake – Ireland’s Most Enduring Tradition

The Irish are a people well-versed in tragedy and suffering. Beset by famine, poverty and colonization, the history of Ireland is one that is steeped in immense adversity and sorrow. Perhaps this is why the Irish are so particularly adept at mourning the loss of a loved one and saying goodbye. There are many unusual customs and traditions which are unique to the Irish, but the Irish Wake is one of the most distinctive and renowned funeral traditions world-wide.

The Irish Wake may seem slightly peculiar or strange to those from other countries. For the Irish, however, it is a widely recognised ritual of death and grieving that has long been an inextricable part of the culture and heritage of Ireland. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the Irish Wake is unusual in a number of ways, not the least of which being the atmosphere. It is often a bittersweet experience that can encourage laughter as much as it can tears. 

The feel and tone of an Irish Wake can be both heartrendingly mournful and joyously commemorative, sometimes simultaneously. It is not just an opportunity to grieve and process the pain of loss but also to celebrate and honour the gift of life. This is why alcohol and music, both significant staples of Irish culture, are often heavily featured at a wake. This unique mixture of melancholy and mirth is partly why the Irish Wake is so famous the world-over. Such an atmosphere is especially likely if the deceased was elderly or ill for a long period of time.

In the instance of the death of a young person or child, however, a wake is decidedly more sombre, solemn and restrained. Despite some elements of an Irish Wake which may be a bit more spirited than other funeral customs and traditions, it is always deeply respectful to and mindful of the deceased and their immediate relatives. The tone of the wake will always be appropriate and fitting for the circumstances surrounding the death in question.

The Irish Wake can be as much a social gathering as anything else. People converge in the home of the deceased to meet and greet one another, perhaps for the first time in many years. It can be a curiously apt setting for strengthening bonds and reuniting with old acquaintances, as people reminisce and trade stories of the loved one lost and times gone by.

People’s pretences and defences are often lowered in the face of grief which can leave them more vulnerable and open to moments of genuine connection and emotional honesty. Feeling strongly connected and close to those around you can be incredibly life-affirming. It can also help centre and ground you in the midst of grief.

While an Irish Wake is first and foremost a final farewell to the one departed, it can also serve as a potent and bracing reminder to those in attendance that they are still alive and a part of the world. This might be why an Irish Wake is occasionally quite a lively affair.

An Irish wake with men sitting around a coffin used as a table
An unorthodox Irish wake from many years ago.

The exact origins of the Irish Wake are unclear, possibly forgotten completely or lost in time. But what is clear is that this ritual of death has been an integral part of Irish life for countless generations. It is widely believed that the Irish Wake was heavily influenced by elements of Paganism and may have originated with the Ancient Celts. The Celts believed in life after death and thought that when a person died, they then moved onto a better life.

The Ancient Celts, therefore, saw death only as a new beginning and treated it as a cause for celebration and festivities. It is easy to see how these customs may have influenced the traditional Irish Wake. However, there are those who think that the origins of the Irish Wake go back even further than the time of Paganism, into an indeterminate and obscure period of ancient history.

Some historians claim that the earliest evidence of a wake can be found in the ancient Jewish custom of leaving the sepulchre (or burial chamber) open and unsealed for three days. This was done to ensure that the person in question was most definitely dead before closing the chamber permanently. During these three days, family and close friends would visit the body repeatedly in the hope of seeing it return to life. Ultimately, though, they would pay their respects and say their final goodbyes.

Some believe that the term ‘wake’ originates from the practice of mourners keeping a watch or vigil over the body all through the night until it was buried. In olden times, the body of the deceased was never left alone until after burial, lest it fall prey to evil spirits and roaming demons. Lighted candles were placed closely around the body and clay pipes of tobacco and snuff were smoked continuously by male attendees during the vigil as they stood guard.

It was believed that the smoke would help keep malicious spirits at bay and stop hungry demons from finding the deceased and stealing the soul. In another effort to thwart the scheming, pernicious demons, clocks were often stopped immediately at the time of death and mirrors were covered in a shroud or turned to face the wall. This was done to allow the soul to travel safely to heaven, as it was believed in Irish folk legend that mirrors could act as gateways to other worlds.

There is one story which purports to explain the origins of the Irish Wake. Some say that both the tradition and the term of the wake in Ireland were borne from incidents involving lead poisoning during ancient times. Long ago in Ireland, pewter tanks and cups were used to hold beer, stout, wine and other beverages. These pewter tanks contained lead which then caused lead poisoning in those who drank from them.

It was said that this poisoning could induce drinkers into a catatonic or sleep-like state which closely resembled death until they abruptly woke up a few days later. So, in order to ensure that a person was actually dead and not just in a catatonic state or deep sleep, people would stand watch over a body for several days before burial and wait for it to possibly reawaken. However, while intriguing, this story is almost definitely myth or part of ancient Irish folklore.

An Irish Wake in times of old.
The Irish Wake has been a central part of Irish culture and heritage for centuries.

Whatever the mysterious origins of the Irish Wake may be, it remains a prominent feature of Irish funerals all these centuries later. However, there is some concern that the Irish Wake is dwindling in prevalence in some regions and not as widespread throughout the country as it once was. Indeed, there is no doubt that wakes are far less common in Irish cities and metropolitan areas than in preceding decades. As these parts of Ireland are rapidly modernised and progress into the future, the ways of the past and old Ireland are left behind and replaced.

This is precisely why the Irish Wake is such a unique and significant experience. It is a relic from a time that, in many ways, no longer exists and must be preserved and respected in order for us to retain and pass on our Irish heritage. Thankfully, in most areas outside of cities, the Irish Wake is a custom which is still revered and upheld by many in Ireland today. It is an opportunity to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a loved one in equal measure, as they depart from their home for the final time. It is a uniquely poignant and deeply heartfelt goodbye, expressed in a time-honoured way known only to the Irish.

Please find helpful and insightful information regarding more specific questions about Irish wakes below.

Where is an Irish wake held?

  • A wake is usually held in the home of the deceased or the home of a close relative. However, it is now becoming more common, especially in cities, for the traditional wake to be replaced by a ‘viewing’ at a funeral home. The immediate family of the deceased will be at the funeral parlour and the protocols are similar to those followed at a wake held in the home.
  • If a wake or viewing is taking place, the death notice will normally state ‘reposing at…’ and then give the address of the wake. The location of a wake is usually evident by a large number of cars parked outside. As well as this, groups of people often gather outside the home to chat and converse.
  • Typically, the body is waked for at least one night. During this time, family, neighbours, friends, work colleagues, and acquaintances visit the house to pay their respects.

Who attends an Irish wake?

  • If you knew the deceased, or know any member of the deceased’s family, then you could attend the wake. You do not have to wait to be invited. Typically, a wake is attended by family, relatives, neighbours, friends, work colleagues, school and college friends, and acquaintances. However, if the death notice states ‘house private’, the wake is restricted to the immediate family and invited guests.
  • It is not usual for children to attend a wake, unless they are close relatives of the deceased.
  • Men often visit the wake house late at night and sit with the body until morning. Close male neighbours and friends often volunteer to do this so that the family can get some rest.

What is the atmosphere like and how should I dress?

  • The atmosphere is respectful and considerate, though you may hear both laughing and crying as people reminisce and recall stories about the deceased. Music is sometimes played and alcohol may be served.
  • Dress respectfully and avoid loud or flamboyant colours.

What should I do when I enter the “wake house”?

  • Typically, when you enter the wake house you will be greeted by a member of the deceased’s family, who will guide you to where the body is laid out. If not, someone close to the family will show you the way. Shake the hand of the person who meets you and offer your condolences.
  • Expect to see lots of people sitting around and chatting as they drink tea and eat sandwiches, biscuits and cakes – even in the room where the body is laid out.
  • The closest family members will usually be beside the body, which is typically laid out in a coffin. You should make your way to them, shake hands and offer your condolences. It’s sometimes hard to know what to say, and most people will understand if it is an awkward or difficult situation.
  • Take a moment to stand and look at the body, during which time you may say a prayer. Some people touch the hands or head of the corpse for a few seconds or sprinkle some holy water (which is often on a nearby table) on the body. The best advice is to watch what others are doing and follow suit.
  • Once you have met the family, shaken hands and viewed the body, it is customary to take a seat and chat for a while with those who are present. Expect to be offered a cup of tea, coffee or a nip of whiskey.
  • An acceptable time to remain at the wake is anything from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how well you know the family.
  • Close neighbours and friends often volunteer to help in the kitchen (making and serving tea and sandwiches) or undertake other chores such as minding children, running errands, etc.

What should I take with me to an Irish wake?

  • Nothing in particular is required, but many people take along a condolence card and place it on the table beside the coffin or on the coffin.
  • Only if you know the family very well do you take something to a wake. Although, if you do, it is always appreciated by the family, as it is such a tiring and stressful time. Typical things close relatives, neighbours and friends might take along include sandwiches, cakes and biscuits.
  • Close neighbours may offer chairs, crockery and tea pots for the duration of the wake.

When should I attend a wake?

  • If you are not a close relative or friend of the deceased or the family, the most usual time to attend is between 5pm and 8pm.
  • The latest time to attend varies from county to county, but often a wake continues throughout the night. It is customary for close neighbours, relatives and friends to “sit with the body” during the night, so that the family can get some rest. If you are at the house close to the time the body is due to be removed, you should leave early enough to give the immediate family some time to pay their last respects to the deceased.
  • You will often see a Guest Book in the hallway of the wake house. You should sign this so that the family knows who has visited and is able to thank them.

What will I see at a wake or a viewing?

  • You can expect the body of the deceased to be visible in an open coffin in the house or the funeral home.
  • Usually, the body is dressed in their best clothes, but covered with a shroud from the chest down. The head and hands will be visible.
  • If the upper body has been disfigured in death, the coffin will be closed.
  • It is usual for all the curtains in the wake house to be drawn, but for one window to be left open in the room where the deceased is lying.
  • Mirrors in the house, especially those in the room where the body is lying, may be covered or turned to the wall.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information.

Irish wake drink
The Irish Wake Toast Set – available for purchase at Irish Urns

Article written and researched by Nicholas Collender.

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The History of Cremation and Urns for Ashes

The act of cremation and the use of urns for ashes has been practised throughout human history for thousands of years. Such burial customs have appeared within many different cultures and societies across the world in various time periods and settings. While the traditions of human cremation and keepsake urns have waxed and waned in popularity throughout the millennia, it now appears to have entered a new age of acceptability and prevalence in recent decades.

During the last century or so, cremating the remains of a loved one and preserving their ashes in a decorative, personalised cremation urn has been increasingly favoured by many in the aftermath of a loss. However, to fully understand contemporary cremation ceremonies and the use of urns for human ashes in the modern era, we must first understand the history and origins of these practices.

The Stone Age – Origins of Cremation and Urns

It is impossible to determine the exact time and place of when and where cremation originated. However, modern historians and archaeologists agree that the first formal cremation ceremonies seem to have begun during the Stone Age at sometime between 7000 – 3000 BC. It is believed that the practice was pioneered by civilisations living in central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Near and Far East.

The earliest evidence of pottery urns containing human remains was unearthed in China, dating from approximately 7000 BC. A total of 32 burial urns were uncovered in an early Jiahu site, a Neolithic settlement based in the central plain of ancient China, close to the Yellow River. For reasons unknown, the majority of the burial urns were only used for the cremated remains of children. The cremation urns discovered from this time were not overly ornate or particularly sophisticated, but simple and unadorned due to the primitive, basic tools of the era.

As the Stone Age drew to a close, the act of cremation began to slowly spread throughout Northern and Western Europe. There is evidence of cremation taking place in Ireland during the Stone Age, but, unlike other civilisations of the time, the cremated remains were not placed in crafted urns. Instead, human ashes were placed inside large stone structures known as passage graves or passage tombs. These were constructed with megaliths (large pre-historic stones) and a number of much smaller stones, with a narrow passageway granting access to an inner chamber. These Neolithic stone monuments, found all throughout Western Europe, were often used as the final resting place for the deceased or as burial mounds.

Passage Grave from Neolithic Ireland

The Bronze Age

In Pagan Ireland, cremation became a widespread practice throughout the country with human ashes being placed within ornamented, stylised urns. These cremation urns were usually made of baked clay but were occasionally made of stone. Urns from this specific time period containing cremated human remains have been excavated all throughout Ireland.

The Bronze Age saw the practice of cremation and use of urns for ashes begin to take root more firmly throughout many other European countries such as Britain, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The custom had even begun to spread to the faraway shores of North America by this point. The increasing popularity of the practice at this time is evidenced by the fact that several cemeteries were established throughout Europe which were exclusively intended for the housing of ash urns and cremated remains.

As the Bronze Age wore on and entered its later periods, the Urnfield Culture became the dominant funeral and burial culture throughout Central Europe. This culture was so named due to the now prevalent customs and rituals of cremating the dead, placing their ashes in urns and then burying the urns in large fields. These burial rites were pervasive and commonplace through much of Europe by this point in history, with some believing it to have originated in Hungary.

The Urnfield Culture followed the Tumulus Culture, a strong feature of warrior societies. This preceding culture was distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds. This was seen as the most reverent form of burial for high-ranking members of society such as tribal chiefs.

The transition from Urnfield to Tumulus Culture would have been gradual, in both the style of pottery urns and the traditions of burial rites. Pottery urns would have been far more sophisticated toward the end of the Bronze Age, with smoother surfaces and more strongly defined shapes. Many historians believe that the newfound popularity and preference for cremation and urns for ashes in society was indicative of a fundamental shift in people’s religious beliefs and ideology about life and death.

Ancient Rome

In the early history of Ancient Rome, both inhumation and cremation were common means of disposing of the dead. However, by the mid-era of the Roman Republic, cremation became the predominant funeral custom and almost exclusively replaced inhumation. The ancient Romans saw cremation as the most hygienic way of disposing of a body, particularly if someone had died of disease or pestilence. Cremation was also regularly employed to quickly dispose of the bodies of dead soldiers on battlefields.

While elaborate cremation ceremonies were held for high-ranking members of society, cremation was also seen as a quick and efficient way of disposing of the dead bodies of the poor. Large buildings known as columbaria were created to serve as ash tombs for the masses. These buildings contained countless niches in which urns holding the ashes of the dead poor could be easily stored in large quantities.

Ancient Roman Architecture

The catacombs of Rome served a similar purpose with many receptacles in the underground walls to hold dead bodies. During this time, urns generally became far more intricate and ornate with extravagant details, designs and more structured shapes.

Early Christianity

The dawn of Christianity saw a sudden and sharp decline in cremation and the use of urns for ashes throughout Europe. This is because Christians saw it as a Pagan tradition and therefore considered it to be sacrilegious and an affront to their culture and beliefs. Christians viewed cremation as a form of fire worship and human sacrifice which directly opposed their belief in the resurrection of the body.

By 400 AD inhumation was the only acceptable form of final disposition in Europe and, except for the circumstances of plague or war, it would remain this way for over a thousand years. Cremation was viewed as a reprehensible act of heresy that was met with severe condemnation and censure. In many countries, cremation was strictly prohibited by law and was even punishable by death if combined with heathen rituals.

Modern Times

By the 20th century, the controversy and stigma surrounding cremation and its perceived blasphemous and ungodly influence began to diminish. It slowly began to receive varying levels of acceptance in most primarily Christian countries. While the first crematorium in the Western World opened in Milan in 1876, the first crematorium on the island of Ireland opened in Belfast in 1961. The first crematorium in the Republic of Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery, opened in March of 1982.

The increasing popularity of cremation can be attributed to the gradual acceptance of it by the Roman Catholic Church under certain conditions but also to the fading power and influence of the Church in modern society. This has led to a significant change in the attitudes, ideals and values of many people.

Since the 1960’s and 70’s, the rate of cremation has been steadily rising in regularity in many western countries. It is estimated by some sources that the rate of cremation in the United States has risen from 3.5% in 1960 to over 40% by 2009, and the rate continues to increase. Cremation is less common in Ireland than in the States, but it is still increasing in popularity nevertheless. Some sources estimated that cremation accounted for just under 20% of all deaths in Ireland in 2017.

Modern day urns for ashes can be highly embellished, personalised and made from a variety of materials. While ceramics are still the most popular type of cremation urn, urns can also be made of wood, marble, bronze, brass, stone, stainless steel and glass. Some cremation urns are used to hold ashes until they can be scattered while others are kept forever as keepsakes in the homes of the family members of the lost loved one.

From its archaic and arcane origins through to its storied and eventful past, the practise of cremation and use of urns for human ashes has meant many different things to many different people at various points in time. In today’s world, however, many people see cremation urns as a poignant and cathartic way of honouring and memorialising the life of a loved one. It is an elegant, simple and entirely natural means of accepting loss and processing grief.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Article written by Nicholas Collender.

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The Irish Harp symbolism and Irish history

The Irish Harp symbolism and Irish history inspire a design that is featured one of our Urns. The Journal of Music writes that the harp has been played in Ireland since the year 1000. It is a large wire-strung instrument and it is now Ireland’s national emblem.

Our Bean na h-Éireann Cremation Urn is one Urn that features a harp symbolism with Irish Urns. Ireland is often represented as a woman on the ancient Irish Harp which is unique to our Celtic Irish heritage. This elegant Irish Urn is named as a celebration of the“ woman of Ireland” or Bean na h-Éireann in Gaelic.

The Irish Harp is also attributed to the many prominent Irish women our culture has produced throughout history. Ériu – Matron Goddess of Ireland to which she gave her name ‘Érin’ to Erins green Isle. Gráinne Ní Mhaol, Countess Markievicz, and the Cumann na mBán, and more recently president Mary Mc Aleese. 

Our Urn for human ashes marries together the iconic harp symbol of Ireland with its beauty, form, and grace. A Celtic collar knot represents how the Irish are all bound together for eternity. This Urn has a beautiful feel and texture and you will clearly see the hand-thrown nature of the piece designed and created by a National award-winning Ceramicist Ciaran.

Included with the Urn is a handmade Oak plinth – Created and signed by an Irish National award-winning Woodturner- Seamus. It can be engraved on request.  

History

Turlough O’Carolan is a prominent name in Irish history when it comes to the Irish harp. He was born near Nobber, county Meath in 1670. O’Carolan, who was the son of an iron founder, became blind from smallpox at the age of 18. 

He was befriended by Mrs. MacDermott Roe, the wife of his father’s employer, who apprenticed him to a harper, supported him for the three years of his training, and then gave him money, a guide, and a horse. He traveled throughout Ireland and is regarded as a composer. His songs have been interpreted and appeared in 18th-century collections.

One example of an interpretation of his work is Mark Harmer playing Carolyn’s Dream. Harmer said he recorded “this piece very late one night, and just went with the first take so the playing has the odd rough bits. I like to think that’s authentic – apparently, Carolan never played the same way twice.”

In the early eighteenth century, harp imagery was used in newspapers, political letters and other printed material however it was also seen in the hands of figures such as ‘Hibernia’ and the ‘bard’.  ‘It is new-strung and shall be heard’ was the optimistic motto of a new political organization of that period, The Society of United Irishmen, according to Mary Louise O’Donell in Ireland’s Harp: The Shaping of Irish Identity. 

CELTIC HARP SYMBOL ON URN
CELTIC HARP SYMBOL ON URN

In 1792 a pivotal moment in the history of the Irish Harp occurred with The Belfast Harpers Meeting. The organisers called it an assembly or festival while others referred to it as a meeting where transcription of the harp music was taken there by the teenager, Edward Bunting.

Edward Bunting of Armagh was a nineteen-year-old professional musician in Belfast when he was engaged at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792 to note down the music of the last of the oral-tradition Irish harpers. 

O’Donnell writes that although news of the Belfast Harpers’ Meeting of 1792 had made it as far as County Kerry in the southwest and possibly also abroad, there were no attendees from County Meath. After this, Bunting noted a steep decline in the number of harp players in Ireland.

However, Harp Ireland states that there are currently 1,000 harp players across Ireland which means it is an instrument that isn’t going anywhere. The Irish harp was adopted as the official emblem of the Irish Free State in 1922 and it has remained an image of continuity and stability in Irish politics and society for almost a century.

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Tree of Life and its meaning and symbolism

The Tree of Life and its meaning and symbolism appears on our handcrafted Irish urns. This design represents Ireland and being Irish. The Tree of Life Urn embodies so much of our identity. The urn is a piece of Art in itself. It is a celebration of what it is to be Irish, forever connected to our place, our people, and intertwined with our friends and family forever.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

The balance and harmony prevalent in nature are best symbolized by the tree of life. The Celts attribute the tree of life symbol to qualities like wisdom, strength, and longevity. The different meanings associated with rebirth and the tree of life were derived from seasonal changes which the Celts observed in these trees. These qualities of trees were the reason behind Celts worshiping them.

The phenomenon of rebirth is associated with Celtic trees. The Celts performed various rituals to mark the changes that a tree of life underwent. The changes observed in these trees were tagged as birth, death, and rebirth. The tree of life is the symbol of an entity that connects the upper and lower worlds. The roots of this tree penetrate the depths of the lower world. 

Tree of Life and its meaning of growing upwards and stretching out to the heavens. The trunk of the tree of life remains on the earth’s plane. Our Celtic ancestors believed that gods in heaven used to communicate with humans through the trees of life. The Rowan or Mountain Ash is considered the Tree of Life and a popular choice for people looking to plant a tree as a mark of condolence.

The Celtic knot on the collar of The Tree of Life Cremation Urn represents how we are all bound together for eternity. And the Tree of Life knots symbolizes the branches of a tree which are woven together with no end to show how the cycle of life is continuous. The Tree of Life is represented across the world.

However, there are many reasons why the tree of life is a well-known symbol. The tree of life is related to a sense of connection with everything in the universe. This symbol means that nothing is ever alone or isolated and that there is also a connection to ancestry which is why it is an important feature on our urns.

Our urns are all inspired by our Irish heritage. One of our Top Artisans is Ciarán. This design is his interpretation of a Celtic Tree of life. It is interlaced with ancient knot-work and ancient spirals. This Urn has a beautiful feel and texture and you will clearly see the hand-thrown nature of the piece. Included with the Urn is a handmade Oak plinth – Created and signed by an Irish National award-winning Woodturner – Seamus.


It also represents peace. After the death of a loved one, the tree of life is a reminder that this connection will always remain which we hope will bring peace. Trees have always evoked a sense of calm and peace which is why we have this carefully designed and why we also give families the option of planting trees in honor of those who have passed. Our Irish Memorial Tree is a gift you can give when words aren’t enough. The planting of a tree allows us to offer something to our grieving loved ones beyond words. By planting a tree, the person’s memory can live on through a compassionate act that lasts a lifetime. A tree is planted and dedicated on our Lakeside land in Naul Co. Dublin. You will also receive a personalized planting certificate and a handwritten sympathy card.

Many people like to dedicate and plant a Tree as a mark of a life well lived while also making a donation. The Irish Hospice Foundation has partnered with Irish Memorial Trees to offer the “Remember me Tree” which €40 or $ 48.50 is allocated to this very compassionate cause, a tree planted and a Planting certificate confirming the Tree planting and the Donation is issued by email and then by post.

Researched and written by Roisin Maguire.

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The Burren - One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word 'bhoireann' meaning, 'a rocky place', which ...

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What is an Ash necklace called?

What is an Ash necklace called? Also commonly known as Memorial or Keepsake jewelry, Keepsake for ashes, ashes pendant, ashes necklace, memorial necklace, memorial locket, cremation necklace, ...

Memorial Jewellery in Gold and Silver

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Funeral Celebrancy in Ireland

What is a Funeral Celebrant?

A funeral celebrant is a professionally trained person who conducts funeral and memorial ceremonies outside of the church setting. A funeral celebrant works closely with the bereaved family to create a unique ceremony that truly reflects the essence of the person who has died. The ceremony will usually consist of a life tribute/eulogy, poetry, readings and music chosen by the family. This ceremony is then delivered with empathy, respect and professionalism. This can take place in the family home, the funeral home, crematorium, place of burial or another venue if desired.

Your funeral, your way.

When a celebrant is contacted by the family or the funeral director, they will arrange to spend time with a family member
either face to face, or via video call. During this consultation they learn about their loved one, discovering who they were, what kind of life they lived, what made them who they were. There is no hurry during this conversation. It’s important that this story is told and that the family has time to get every aspect of the funeral ceremony just how they want it. Honouring their loved one will be at the heart of the ceremony that is created together.

Everyone’s story deserves to be told. Everyone’s life deserves to be honoured, every funeral/memorial deserves to be as unique and special as the person who has passed away. This will enable their loved ones to move forward into good grief, knowing that they gave them the best send off.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Overseas service.

In the online world a celebrant can also provide a unique service to those whose family origins are Irish. We Irish have our own special requirements when it comes to saying goodbye. With our rich and long heritage of great music, poetry, writing and of course our beautiful Gaeilge language, a bespoke ceremony can be written and can then be delivered by a family member or close friend. Using a video consultation as discussed above, the ceremony can be written and sent by email within 24 hours. Changes can be made if necessary.

A ceremony can be created for a commital, wake, burial or memorial service. It will incorporate aspects of Irish heritage that are meaningful and authentic – some lines about their Irish heritage, a poem by an Irish poet, a beautiful piece of Irish music and a reading or a prayer ‘as Gaeilge’ (in the Irish language). Being far from Ireland doesn’t mean that you can’t avail of this service.

Rest Assured.
Advance funeral planning service is also available. Give your family the gift of being prepared. Have your wishes documented, securely stored,image of celebrant catherine hastings and available, just ask Catherine, contact details below.

Written by
Catherine Hastings – Independent Funeral Celebrant.
Accredited by Irish Institute of Celebrants.
Member of the Association of Funeral Celebrants Ireland.
Living in County Mayo, Ireland.
Serving families in counties Mayo, Sligo, Galway, Roscommon and across the globe. Slán abhaile.

catherinehastings10@gmail.com
00 353 863859217

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

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Condolence Message – What to write in a sympathy card

Writing a sympathy card is often a daunting task. When someone who is dear to us is suffering a bereavement or experiencing adversity, we yearn to comfort them. But despite our best attempts to craft the perfect condolence message, the right words can evade us. We want to ensure that our sympathy message has meaning, but we worry about saying the wrong thing or not sufficiently expressing our concern.

In today’s world, there are countless and ever-increasing means of communication and expression. But these more modern means can feel inappropriate for a message of condolence. This is why a handwritten sympathy card feels all the more thoughtful and caring. Sympathy cards can act as a physical token of the love and comfort you have to offer and will be appreciated all the more in a world gone digital.

Yes, writing a sympathy card is rarely easy, but it is very necessary to reach out and support those struggling with a loss. The small but heartfelt gesture of a sympathy message can help ease someone’s pain simply by acknowledging it. This is why we have a compiled a list of tips and techniques that will help illustrate what to write in a sympathy card intended for your grieving loved one.

Simplicity can have the most impact

When writing a sympathy card, it is best to keep things relatively short, sweet and simple. You are not writing a letter or newspaper article and the meaning of your words may diminish if you use too many. The last thing you want to do in a sympathy message is ramble or inadvertently convey a tone of confusion or uncertainty. The recipient may be feeling enough of those emotions already.

A handful of well-chosen, sincerely-felt words can make the most impact and have the most capacity for comfort. Verbose or long-winded sympathy messages can appear insincere or glib. Poignancy lies in honesty and an honest, heartfelt condolence message should be expressed succinctly and simply.

Sample condolence messages for a sympathy card:

You have been in my thoughts ever since I heard of (loved one’s) passing. It was a joy to know him/her. I will miss him/her dearly.

I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of (loved one). If there is anything I can do to make this painful time easier, please reach out to me.

As you grieve, please know that we will always remember (loved one) with great warmth and love. We miss him/her so much.

We are so deeply sorry for your loss. We are all wishing you as much peace and comfort possible in this very difficult time.

Sincerity is not the same as perfection

Don’t spend too long labouring over your sympathy message or dwelling on the use of the exact right words. It doesn’t have to be poetry to have power. The most important thing you can do is show that you care and that the person suffering is in your thoughts. Perfect grammar or stylish eloquence does not necessarily equate to sincerity or heartfelt emotion.

The best thing you can do is to ensure that your sympathy card is received soon after the loss has occurred, when a person may need it most. Although, this is not to suggest that a sympathy card can only be appreciated in the immediate aftermath of a death. Receiving a condolence message after a long time has passed since a death can also be very touching.

If you spend too long considering the structure and content of your sympathy message, you run the risk of having it sound formal or emotionless. Any condolence message that is expressed genuinely and warmly will be seen as perfect by the one who needs it.

Sample condolence messages for a sympathy card:

Words cannot convey how truly wonderful (loved one) was and so words cannot convey the enormity of his/her loss. Please know that we are all thinking of you.

Though it may be hard to feel in the midst of such pain, please know that you are surrounded by love and support. We will all miss (loved one) enormously.

I have been holding you close in my thoughts since hearing of your loss. I am so grateful to have known (loved one) and will remember him/her always.

I am so deeply saddened to hear of (loved one’s) passing. If you ever need help of any kind or someone to talk to, please let me know.

Share your own experiences with grief

A condolence message can show empathy as well as sympathy. Sharing your own experience with loss and grief can help make people feel less alone in their suffering. For example, if a person has just lost their mother, you could briefly express how you too once lost your mother and how difficult you found that time.

However, you should only empathise in this way when appropriate and fitting. If your experience with loss didn’t affect you in a similarly significant way, you may unintentionally trivialise or devalue their pain. You may even offend or insult them.

Empathising in a way that is proper and respectful can make their pain feel clearly recognised and understood, which may help ease it. Sharing your own experience can tacitly demonstrate to those mourning that this period of intense pain and grief will, eventually, come to an end. Adding such a personal touch can also help prevent your sympathy card from seeming generic or cursory.

Sample condolence messages for a sympathy card:

When my father died, you were always there for me. I intend to do the same for you.

When I lost my sister, I couldn’t imagine a life without her. Slowly, I learned to live a life where her memory will always be with me instead. The memory of (loved one) will always be with you, and so many others.

I won’t say I know how you feel, as no one knows this but you. But when I lost my husband, I found comfort in the love and support of those around me.

What you shouldn’t write in a condolence message

While your sympathy card doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel or stun in its originality, it shouldn’t be too general or commonplace either. Avoid the use of cliches or platitudes. These could include vapid, overused phrases such as: “He’s in a better place now’’ or “I know she’s smiling down on you’’. This can make your sympathy message seem overly conventional or trite, even cheesy. It can also make you seem unfeeling or suggest that this is only being done as an obligation without much thought.

You should also avoid phrases such as: “You’re strong enough to get through this’’ or “I know you’ll come out the other side of this’’. You don’t want to invalidate their grief or make them feel that they are expected to rush their period of mourning or conceal their pain. Don’t make them feel as though there is an expiration date on the amount of time they are allowed to grieve. Your condolence message should sensitively legitimise their feelings of sorrow and bereavement, but without making them seem insurmountable either.

Sample condolence messages for a sympathy card:

The grief of his/her loss may be with you for a long time, but the joy of his/her memory will stay with you forever.

Things will never be the same without (loved one), but we will always remember him/her.

I don’t know when this grief will leave you, but I know his/her memory never will.

I won’t say I know what you are going through, but I do share in the love and memories you have for (loved one).

Share memories in a condolence message

If you knew the deceased personally, it can be enormously comforting to share a fond, happy memory of them during better times. You should highlight their good qualities and unique traits. Show that this person made a positive impact on your life and you are better for knowing them.

For instance, you could describe a time in which this person helped you overcome a difficulty, showed kindness when you needed it or simply even a time in which they made you laugh or smile. A sympathy message doesn’t have to be too sombre or solemn. Expressing how the deceased brought happiness to others in ways their loved ones may not be aware of can be tremendously uplifting.

Sample condolence messages for a sympathy card:

Your daughter showed me great kindness during a very difficult time. I will never forget her.

I will always remember how much (loved one) made me laugh. My life is better for knowing him/her.

I will always remember the Summers your mother and I spent together as children. Whenever I remember those day, I will think of her.

Some of my best memories were spent with your brother. He was such a funny and kind-hearted person. I will miss him dearly.

I am so grateful to have grown up with your husband. The times I spent with him in our youth will remain a part of me forever.

I spent the past twenty years working with your father. He was a wonderful colleague and an even better friend. I will remember him for the rest of my life.

Hopefully, these tips and techniques will bring some clarity to the emotionally taxing experience of writing a condolence message. There is no one correct way to write a sympathy card and, ultimately, every loss or death requires its own specific message of support and comfort. But as long as your condolence message is sincere and simple, heartfelt and honest, it should be dearly appreciated by those who need it.

Condolence Messages in Irish:

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha – May they rest in peace

Ní maith liom do thrioblóid – Sorry for your loss

Mo chomhbhrón ort agus ar do mhuintir – My condolences to you and your family

Comhbhrón ó chroí – My deepest sympathy

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine – In the shelter of each other, people survive.

Suggestions of sympathy messages to include as part of a memorial tree gift:

This tree shall nourish the earth, as memories of (loved one) nourish our hearts.

As this tree takes root forever in the earth, memories of (loved one) shall take root forever in our hearts.

This tree will make a positive impact on so many lives, just as (loved one) did.

Just as (loved one) enriched our past, this tree shall enrich the future.

Let this tree help heal your heart as it helps heal the planet.

Just as (loved one) changed so many lives for the better, so too will this tree.

May this tree serve as a living and growing tribute to the memory of (loved one).

As this tree grows, so does (loved one’s) legacy.

May this tree stand strong and eternal as the memory of (loved one).

This tree is a symbol of how (loved one) left this world a better place.

Only the beauty of this tree could symbolise the beauty of (loved one’s) life.

Let his/her memory be as undying as this tree.

A part of (Loved one’s) heart remained always in Ireland, which is where this tree shall always be.

We plant this tree in honour of (loved one), so a part of them shall always be in Ireland.

We plant this tree in loving memory of (loved one), who was always so proud of his/her Irish heritage.

If you need further advice on how to support someone who is grieving, please click here.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Article researched and written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


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Grieving Process – The Stages of Grief

What is the grieving process?

The grieving process is a very healthy and normal reaction to a loss of some kind, usually the death of a loved one. While grief is a universal feeling, grieving is a unique and strange experience for everyone. Not all people mourn or respond to loss in the same way.

Everyone will journey through stages of grief at some point or another in their life, often more than once. But people’s journey through the grieving process can differ in paths taken and time needed. Hopefully, though, we should all arrive at a similar destination.

The grieving process is inevitable after suffering a loss and is as natural as it is necessary. However, this does not mean that it cannot be deeply disconcerting and distressing. Grieving a loss is an incredibly painful and confusing time that forces you to run the whole gamut of human emotion. The vast array of emotions contained in this simple five-letter word can leave your life in disarray and turn your world upside down.

This is why we have attempted to demystify grief for those who may be wandering lost in its winding, convoluted corridors. Clearly naming and identifying an emotion or feeling can be the first step in resolving it and reducing some of its power over you.

The grieving process is a messy and uncertain time that fosters complicated, painful feelings. Vagueness and lack of clarity can prolong and strengthen these intense, overwhelming emotions. It is easier to move a clearly-defined, solid object than a shapeless, formless mass that lacks definition and scope.

Hopefully, these words will help give some form and shape to the complex multitude of feelings one can be immersed in while grieving.

It is very important, however, that you reach out and ask for help and support in dealing with your grief, if needed.

Grief Definition – What is Grief?

The literal definition of grief is an intense feeling of sorrow, typically caused by a death. But, in truth, grief is many things. Grief is shock, disbelief, fear, panic, numbness, uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, loneliness, pain, anger, hopelessness, depression, guilt, exhaustion, isolation and suffering. Grief is all these things and more, and none of the emotions caused by grief should be called incorrect or abnormal. But, in time, grief can also come to mean acceptance, strength and peace.

Grief can take many forms, but it is always a deeply personal, profound and intimate experience. It never fits any predefined model or particular structure and can’t be allotted a specific period of time to run its course. Everyone’s grieving process is uniquely theirs. But there are some broad stages of grief that often occur within a person’s grieving process.

What are the Stages of Grief?

It is widely considered that the grieving process can often follow five distinct stages. This theory of the five stages of grief was created by the Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. However, it is important to note that while this may be the most widely accepted theory on the stages of grief, it is not the only one. There are many other popular theories, including one with seven stages and another with only two.

It is also worth remembering that not everyone will experience all five of these stages of grief and not necessarily in this specific sequence either. However, it is still worth learning about the stages of grief as it could give you some much needed context for your own grief and confusion.

It is best to look at the stages of grief more as points of reference rather than a set of rules or regulations that should or need to be followed. Think of it as a framework to help you through the messier and more tumultuous moments of mourning. The stages of grief can help you make sense of where you are in your grieving process journey, where you have been and where you may go next.

Denial

Grief is a devastating and frightening emotion. It can be overwhelming in its intensity and suddenness and the thought of living in grief can seem unbearable. That is why a person’s first response to grief may be denial.

Profound grief has the ability to alter your life, even change you as a person. The idea of living in a world of which your loved one is no longer a part can feel bizarre, or even surreal. Confronting the gaping void left in their absence can be terrifying. That is why some people may refuse to allow themselves to acknowledge this new reality at first.

It is a defence mechanism that gives you more time to slowly absorb and process the news. It numbs you to the shock as you adjust to your new reality and reduces the risk of you being overwhelmed or breaking down.

Anger

As numbness wears off, you can no longer pretend that the loss hasn’t occurred and that grief is something you can avoid. This may cause you to feel angry. Anger is often used to conceal other, more vulnerable emotions like fear or intense sadness.

In many cultures, anger is a far more socially acceptable emotion than others, one that can be expressed without fear of judgement or rejection. It can hide the messier, more complicated feelings we have deep down or serve as an emotional outlet for them. You can redirect your pain as anger onto other people or simple matters that are easier to understand than your grief.

Unfortunately, such anger can leave us isolated and cut-off at a time when we need human connection the most.

Bargaining

As you move away from anger and let yourself be vulnerable, you may feel powerless and helpless. Therefore, it is only natural to want to regain a sense of autonomy or control over the situation. It is tempting, maybe even comforting, to think that you have the power to control the outcome or result of a situation.

You may also be so desperate that you will be willing to do or give anything to avoid the pain of grief and loss. At this point, you may start imagining a number of ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ scenarios, such as: “if only I had been a better friend’’ or “if only I had made him stay longer before driving home’’. There is a tendency to blame ourselves or focus on our faults and perceived mistakes.

You may even pray to God or a higher power and try to bargain with them for another outcome. Bargaining is ultimately a way of clinging onto hope and delaying the pain.

Depression

At this point, grief is no longer avoidable. There are no other distractions or defences. The initial shock, panic, anger and fear has subsided and the cloud of confusion has begun to clear. You are forced to confront the uncompromising reality of the situation, in all its grim starkness.

Fully realising the loss that you have suffered and its finality can cause intense sadness and despair. While in this stage, you may withdraw from others and isolate yourself as you learn to live with this pain. However, it is important you reach out to others and talk when you are ready.

Although depression is extremely painful and difficult to overcome, it is a very normal and natural response to grief. It may be a necessary step on your path to healing.

Acceptance

Acceptance is not an end to your pain. Acceptance is no longer ignoring or denying your pain. Acceptance is understanding your pain and letting it be a part of your world. It is about being able to feel your loss and grief in its entirety and no longer trying to resist or escape your new reality.

Once you have accepted the loss you’ve endured, you can begin to make the necessary readjustments and rearrangements to your life so you can move forward. Your life has indeed changed now and, in some ways, you must change as well and learn to adapt.

Once you have reconciled the past in which your loved one was alive and the present in which they no longer are, you may be able to progress into a new future. This stage of grief is not always a happy or easy one, but it might bring more peace than previous stages.

It is important to remember that there may be times when your acceptance relapses and you return to a previous stage of grief. This is also normal and healthy. The grieving process is very rarely a linear, one-way path. You may revisit previous stages or experience new stages for the first time, at any time.

In conclusion, you need to remember that grieving is a highly subjective and individual process. There is no wrong way to grieve and no emotion that you should be feeling instead of the emotion you are feeling. Grief is never a neat, straight line. You may go through your own grieving process in a number of weeks or it could be something you experience for several years. Do not let the above stages of grief guide your grieving, but merely help to clarify what you may or may not be feeling.

If you feel that you need help in coping with your grief, there are a number of mental health professionals and services you can avail of to give you support.

When you feel that your journey with the grieving process may be coming to an end, a memorial tree can be a poignant and meaningful way to symbolise acceptance and peace. Planting a tree in memory of someone can also help consolidate the acceptance of their loss. Grief is entirely natural and this is best represented by the natural beauty and power of planting a remembrance tree.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Article researched and written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right? Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate ...

The Funeral Director can't arrange everything - and you have enough on your plate!

Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.   If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA Dara and Louise are compassionate ...

Water scattering

A dignified way to say goodbye. At Irish Urn[2] s, we wanted to create a sustainable business where we can do our part in the environmental emergency - The Sea Scattering urn which is a fully biodegradable ...

Dolmens - Ancient Irish Tomb graves for Cremation and Burial

The Burren - One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word 'bhoireann' meaning, 'a rocky place', which ...

Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery Q&A

Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery Questions and Answers Q - What is keepsake Jewellery? A- Keepsake Jewellery is referred to as many things Cremation Jewellery, Jewellery for ashes, Memorial Jewellery, ...

Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral

Traditional Irish blessings for a funeral ~ Poems to read at an Irish funeral Irish prayer for the departed Death is nothing at all I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I, ...

Keepsake Jewelry - what is it and how does it work

Keepsake Jewellery from Ireland for ashes. When it comes to choosing a keepsake and you want something with an Irish connection and not be limited to mass-produced impersonal pieces, Irish Urns offers ...

What is an Ash necklace called?

What is an Ash necklace called? Also commonly known as Memorial or Keepsake jewelry, Keepsake for ashes, ashes pendant, ashes necklace, memorial necklace, memorial locket, cremation necklace, ...

Memorial Jewellery in Gold and Silver

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How to Choose the Perfect Cremation Urn

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Native Irish Trees and their Ever-Growing Importance

Native Irish trees have always been rich in history and mythology. Trees have featured prominently in the culture and society of Ireland from the times of the ancient Celts who believed that Irish trees had mystical powers that could aid them in times of hardship.

Several centuries later, there is a re-emerging interest in the native trees of Ireland. While few may believe that trees have magical abilities today, it does seem that trees in Ireland have untapped potential in helping us overcome a number of adversities, such as the struggle against climate change.

Organisations such as Coillte have fully dedicated themselves to increasing the amount of carbon sequestering done by trees by managing Ireland’s forests on an entirely sustainable basis. In early 2021, Coillte reported how the visitor numbers to their local forests had tripled during lockdown. This proves that Ireland’s woodlands are not just of an environmental benefit to people but an emotional one too.

A little over two years ago, the Irish government announced an ambitious plan to plant 440 million trees in Ireland by the year 2040. This huge endeavour is being undertaken in an effort to combat Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is hoped that this incredible increase in the number of native Irish trees will ultimately create a massive carbon sink that will have a significant positive impact on the currently dire climate crisis.

In order for this goal to be realised, a grand total of 22 million trees in Ireland will have to be planted every year. As outlined in the government’s 2019 Climate Action Plan, they intend to plant an average of approximately 8000 hectares a year.

As the trees of Ireland look set to play a much bigger role in our lives, slowly covering more and more of our landscape in the years to come, it may be worthwhile to take a closer look at some of the native Irish trees in which we here at Irish Trees specialise.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

What Trees are Native to Ireland?

The Common Oak Tree is one of many native Irish trees and is able to grow in all Irish soils. Oak trees are some of the longest living trees and are even capable of living for many centuries, provided they avoid infestation or disease. Remarkably, Oak trees can produce 2000 acorns every year and potentially over 10 million acorns throughout their entire lifetime. There are over 600 different kinds of species of Oak trees and some can grow to be over 45 meters tall. The ancient celts believed Oak trees were associated with wisdom and strength. Perhaps this is why they are such a popular choice for memorial trees.

Hazel is another of the native trees of Ireland. It played an important role in ancient Ireland when it was regarded as the Tree of Knowledge. It was widely believed that its nuts could grant immeasurable wisdom and knowledge once consumed. Hazel trees are perhaps one of the smaller varieties of native Irish trees, typically growing somewhere between 12 and 20 ft. The normal lifespan of a Hazel tree is usually 70 to 80 years if well managed. Hazel trees also act as an invaluable wildlife food source as they produce an abundance of fruit and nuts.

The Rowan Mountain Ash is a relatively small native Irish tree but its bright red berries add a vivid splash of colour to the Irish landscape. Within Celtic mythology, the Rowan tree symbolises courage and protection and is seen as the Tree of Life. The Rowan tree favours well drained areas but should thrive and flourish in most soils. Rowan trees are often used in gardens and parks as they are known for their compact size and pretty appearance.

Other native trees in Ireland include the Holly tree. Another relatively small and visually-pleasing tree, many people consider it bad luck to cut down a Holly tree. A Holly tree is either male or female but only the female trees are capable of producing berries. If planted and nurtured in the right conditions, the Holly tree can live for up to 100 years. The Holly tree was considered to be highly sacred in ancient Celtic times and was seen as a symbol of peace and goodwill.

Crab Apple Trees are small deciduous trees that can grow between 4 to 12 metres and live for anywhere between 30 to 70 years, depending on climate and care. These native Irish trees remain attractive looking all year around and are known for their distinctive, colourful petals and blossoms which can range from white, pink or red. The ancient Celts associated this particular native tree of Ireland with love and marriage.

The Alder tree is a fast-growing, rounded-leaf tree that can grow to a height of 20 metres. One of the most traditional and widely-spread of the native trees in Ireland, the Alder tree tends to grow in damp, marshy areas. The Alder tree has proven to be particularly effective in improving soil fertility. It possesses a bark that is dark and deeply fissured. In ancient Ireland, the trunk of the Alder tree was often used for shields and weapons.

The Sycamore tree is a large deciduous tree that can grow to a height of 35 metres and live for up to 600 years. This native Irish tree is known for its distinctive bark which is covered in a creamy white and reddish-brown patched surface. The seeds of Sycamore trees are known as “helicopters”, because of their wings that rotate and carry them along the air. Sycamores can grow very fast and their branches are known to spread out to give them a large and impressive rounded dome shape.

The increasing recognition of the importance and effectiveness of native Irish trees in reversing the consequences of climate change looks set to continue. In the coming years, trees will become a steadily more noticeable feature of the Irish landscape as they serve their natural purpose. Therefore, it is best that we all familiarise ourselves with the many native trees of Ireland.

Article researched and written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


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Why You Should Plant a Tree in Memory of Someone

The Solace and Strength of Memorial Trees

To plant a tree in memory of someone is to honour their legacy in a unique and poignant way. Memorial trees serve as a physical, tangible representation of a person’s time on Earth and allow them to continue to have a positive impact on the planet even after they have left it.

Due to the innumerable environmental benefits of planting trees, gifting a tree in memory of someone is also a gift to future generations. A gesture that is both deeply touching in its symbolism and extremely beneficial in its practicality, there is no better way to honour the memory of a loved one than to plant a tree memorial.

People who suffer a bereavement, and then plant a tree in memory, often describe it as a very cathartic and healing experience. The sorrow and grief felt by the passing of a loved one can be profound and overwhelming. Mourners can find themselves set adrift in a world of anguish and confusion.

One healthy, comforting way to alleviate and process that pain is to get back in touch with the simple beauty of nature and plant a tree in memory. For those who suffer a loss, it can be difficult to initially navigate the new world in which their loved one is no longer present.

The physical and practical tribute of planting a tree in memory of someone can help them make sense of their loss by translating it into something tangible, permanent and rooted in the earth. This simple act can help solidify their sorrow into something of substance that is easier to confront and comprehend.

Planting a tree in memory can also be done as a gift by someone who is not directly or most affected by a death but cares deeply for those who are. It isn’t always easy to find the best gift or tribute to console someone who is mourning. Flowers and cards can be sent, but flowers eventually wilt and cards serve a limited purpose.

This is why gifting a tree in memory is such a lasting and heart-warming act of remembrance and compassion. Memorial trees can help express and soothe a person’s grief by acting as an external symbol of the internal pain inflicted by a loved one’s passing. But they are also a symbol of the boundless joy and happiness their life brought to others.

The benefits of planting a tree in memory of someone don’t just extend to the bereft but, in truth, to everyone. Of all the ways to memorialise and honour a lost loved one, memorial trees are easily the most widely beneficial and environmentally friendly.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Planting a tree in memory gives hope to the future

The positive impacts on the planet of gifting a tree in memory are manifold. It is a tribute that is worthy of all but particularly fitting for those who were environmentally conscious or concerned with the wellbeing and future of the planet. No other memorial gift or act of remembrance is greener in its effects or more sustainable to the environment.

Gifting a tree in memory can serve the dual purpose of tackling the harmful effects of climate change along with a person’s grief. Trees have the natural ability to cleanse and improve the quality of our air. Trees remove carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and replace them with clean, pure oxygen.

This physical process can be seen as similar to the symbolic process of planting a memorial tree, which has the power to absorb a person’s pain and sorrow and help transform it into acceptance and peace. A higher number of trees planted will inevitably lead to a lower carbon economy.

This isn’t the only environmental benefit produced when you plant a tree in memory of someone. The positive effects of planting memorial trees are endless, particularly in the fight against climate change. Trees help in causing more rain to evaporate before it reaches the ground and this reduces surface runoff.

Reduced surface runoff helps reduce the amount of potentially dangerous and harmful chemicals that are transported to our waterways and pollute our systems. It also reduces the likelihood of flooding as well as the risk of soil erosion, which can severely damage the fertility and moisture of land.

Planting memorial trees can also provide shelter and sustenance to various wildlife. When you gift a tree in memory, you are also creating a home and food source for birds and animals and helping preserve and enhance our biodiversity. The physical tribute to your loved one will help ensure the survival and prosperity of countless woodland animals.

Planting a tree in memory of someone is a comforting and healing act of preserving their legacy and a practical means of ensuring our environment’s sustainability. When words fail us, the simple but powerful action of planting a memorial tree or tree of remembrance can help relieve the extraordinary and all-consuming pain left in the wake of a loved one’s passing, whether it be our own pain or the pain of another.

There is no better way of memorialising a loved one than by making such a positive and meaningful difference to the world. Planting a tree in memory will prove to be a tribute to their life that will outlive us all and continue to heal the planet long after it has healed our hearts.

Memorial trees help to sustain both the health of the environment and the memory of a loved one.

Article researched and written by Nicholas Collender.

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Planting Native Irish Trees -The Environmental Benefits

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information. A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

Planting native Irish trees isn’t just a meaningful way to cherish the memory of someone who has passed, nor is it simply a way to gift a tree to a loved one in times of celebration. Planting trees has a myriad of significant benefits for the environment.

By their very nature, trees serve to both cleanse and protect the environment from harmful substances and activities as they slowly help to repair the damage foolishly inflicted onto the environment by mankind. It is not inaccurate to think of planting a tree as akin to opening a window in a room full of thick dark smoke.

The woodlands of Ireland are our greatest and most effective natural asset in detoxifying our air and lands. Therefore, few things are as crucial to maintaining and improving the health of our environment than planting trees.

First and foremost, planting trees helps to slow down and combat the devastating effects of climate change. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with clean, pure oxygen. Trees absorb carbon and store it within their trunk, branches and leaves in a process known as sequestering. As long as a tree lives, and trees can live for many decades and even centuries, the carbon remains trapped within.

It is helpful to think of the planting of trees in Ireland as similar to creating natural sponges, soaking up countless amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and keeping our surroundings clean and fresh. The excessive production of greenhouse gases from destructive activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing, can be partially counterbalanced by the planting of native Irish trees.

Another important benefit of tree planting is the fact that trees and their root systems help to purify and slow rainwater before it seeps back into our streams and rivers. Trees act as a buffer between the water falling from the sky as rain and the water coursing in our rivers.

Trees in Irish woodlands intercept rain as it falls, providing rain with more places to land such as on their branches or leaves. This means that much of rainwater evaporates before it even reaches the ground and this is pivotal to reducing surface runoff.

Extensive surface runoff can cause streams and rivers to swell and overflow, breaking their banks and ultimately flooding. The roots of large trees near rivers also help to stabilise and strengthen river banks and prevent them from collapsing. The roots of trees promote the infiltration of water from the surface of the ground into the soil as tree roots absorb large amounts of water.

The extra surface area provided by leaf canopies and foliage helps to reduce the detrimental effects of soil erosion by minimising the impact of rain onto the ground. The more times that people plant a tree means that there is more surface area to intercept the fall of rain. Rainwater slowly drains down the branches and trunk of a tree and is then soaked up by the soil.

If it weren’t for trees, rainwater would hit the ground with unimpeded force and wash the soil away rather than be soaked up by it. Excessive soil erosion can lead to infertile land, stripping soil of its moisture and nutrients.

Infertile, degraded land is far less capable of absorbing and holding water, which causes increased amounts of pollution and sedimentation in rivers as well as increasing the risk of flooding. Native Irish trees act as natural filters to soil and rivers. This is yet another reason why planting trees in Ireland is so vital to the health of the environment.

Planting trees in Ireland is also imperative to maintaining the natural balance of the environment and its inhabitants. Simply put, birds and animals need trees in order to survive and the native Irish trees found throughout our woodlands are the most critical component of protecting and preserving our wildlife.

Trees act as a limitless source of shelter and sustenance for countless woodland creatures. Trees and their undergrowth provide an abundance of food for various wildlife while also providing them with a natural habitat. The cover and shade supplied by the canopies of leaves and foliage protects small animals from harsh conditions and predators, both animal and human.

Our environment would be greatly damaged by the absence of all the animals who depend on the trees of Ireland, which is why we must conserve and expand the environments in which they thrive. Every time you gift a tree in honour or celebration of someone, you are also providing a home and food source to the many animals inhabiting the woodlands of Ireland.

There are no conceivable negatives to planting trees in Ireland but there are countless positives. Nature-based solutions, such as planting trees, are consistently found to be the most effective in the fight against climate change and it is something to which you can easily contribute.

Gifting a tree in memory of a loved one is also an invaluable gift to the future of our precious planet. It serves a dual purpose of remembering those who have passed and considering the health and happiness of generations to come. Planting native Irish trees is the best weapon we have at our disposal in tackling the climate crisis and saving our environment.

Your memorial tree can be in honour of both the past and the future.

Article researched and written by Nicholas Collender.

Blog Archive


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The History of trees in Ireland-Plant a Tree of history.

Lakes of Glendalough
Lakes of Glendalough

A History of Ireland’s Trees – Plant a tree of history

While Ireland’s history boasts achievements in stone and bronze, it is the forest and the Irish wood people that facilitated the advancement of humanity.

Plant an Irish Oak Memorial Tree, in memory, as an enduring gesture to help heal the heart and the planet. Click HERE for more information A handwritten card will accompany the Planting Certificate.

The Irish language itself is based on eighteen letters pronounced after the tree. While the Romans destroyed most of the ancient forests of Europe, a large percentage of Ireland was under ancient forestry up until the 17th Century. Ireland had clusters of valuable ancient woodlands. 

The story of Ireland’s trees, deforestation and tree planting is one topic that is underreported with very little academic or political coverage however a number of important works have been published. Nigel Everett believed that pre-colonial farming is one aspect that possibly led to Ireland’s forest decline. When the Tudors and Stuarts began to survey the land, they found that they were dealing with disappointing levels of Irish woodlands. Eileen McCracken wrote about how Ireland’s forests were only at 12.5 percent by the time the Tudors arrived while Everett suggests this percentage was actually four percent by 1650.

Another cause of the decline in Ireland’s trees is the Elizabethan wars for military purposes and speculators being granted woodlands before Cromwell. One of them being Sir Walter Raleigh who was granted twenty thousand acres of woodland in Cork which was then sold to Richard Boyle. England was also expanding their empire at this time and was keen to use Ireland as a source of food production which contributed to more of this deforestation. The provisions for the colonies in America in the 1600s were also coming from Ireland meaning an industry developed in making casks and barrels for transportation.

While opinions vary, these figures show that much of Ireland’s ecosystem was gone and that much of the forestry of Ireland that was available was cleared as part of a military operation by England to secure the colony. Elizabeth I was known for the destruction of the woodland to deprive the Irish of this shelter. Many species were lost including the wild boar and then wolf in the 18th century. However, small areas of woodland have survived in Ireland.

The descendants of the planters that inherited large estates were the people who took the first steps in planting trees in Ireland and between 1766 and 1803, 25 million trees were planted. However, without support, tree planting in Ireland declined and Ireland became an agricultural producer. In the 19th century, Ireland struggled with Catholic emancipation, the Great Famine, poverty, and a decline in population due to emigration yet saw the rise of small farmers. With leaders such as Charles Stewart Parnell who devoted interest in the restoration of Irish trees and forests, the Government was also met with the realisation that Ireland was missing this resource. Ireland, like Britain, was dominated by planting conifer in the 19th century to the present day because this was faster growing. 

The Irish Forestry was established in 1900 and in 1903 Professor John Nisbet of the West of Scotland Agricultural College, found that one-fifth of Ireland which was thought to be a wasteland, could be planted with forestry. However, it was in 1948 that Ireland finally saw an increase in tree planting led by Sean McBride and Laura Hobson. 

Currently, Coillte Nurseries produce 25 million bare-rooted plants every year, most of which are used to renew our own forests. To Plant a Tree, the seed is required every year, but trees don’t always produce a good crop of seeds.  In response, Coillte Nurseries manages Ireland’s National Tree Seed centre, collecting in years when the harvest is good.

Another supporting business is Forestry Services Ltd., a private forestry company specialising in providing forestry services to all woodland owners and persons considering forestry. Forestry Services do everything from planting to harvesting to timber sales to reforestation. Investors can purchase both existing forestry plantations and lands suitable for afforestation. 

It’s very common to plant a tree in memory of a loved one or to gift a birth tree in celebration of the birth of a baby. Be a part of this movement. When you gift a memorial tree in Ireland you are also contributing to reforestation.

Researched and written by Roisin Maguire

Blog Archive


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Irish Hospice Foundation and Irish Memorial Trees partner up to bring you the Remember me tree

Irish memorial trees team hold irish Hospice Foundation sign at gate to irish memorial trees lakeside woodland
Bob Hamilton and John Doran- Irish Memorial Trees

Press release -March 2021.                 Irish Memorial Trees

Covid 19 has had a huge impact on people’s lives and none more so that families and friends of families trying to find a way to grieve and offer comfort to those who have lost family during this time.

To offer an alternative way to help people, Bob Hamilton had expanded his Irish Urns Business to include Irish Memorial Trees so people can arrange to plant a tree for their lost loved ones.

What is a memorial tree? Why Plant a tree?

Arranging a memorial tree with Irish Urns and Memorial trees means that they will plant a tree on your behalf and a hand-made hand-written sympathy card will be sent , along with an A4 personalised and printed Planting Certificate to a member of the grieving family.

Where are these trees planted?

Irish Memorial Trees have a 10-acre peaceful lakeside location in North County Dublin and they mix a range of 8 different native Irish tree types. The favourite being the Irish oak, The Mountain Ash a beautiful flowering and berry covered tree and often the whitethorn, Crab-apple, Holly, Birch, Hazel and Alder are also popular choices.

Bob has a high degree of empathy and his customer skills have him receiving nothing but 5 stars in his many reviews, as he goes above and beyond to help people choose the right tree and the right words for both the Card and the Certificate. Irish memorial trees email a digital certificate to the person ordering and post the Card and certificate to their chosen addressee.

Bob understands death and loss, not just from his own personal experiences,  but also from his related business – Irish Urns and Keepsakes Limited

He offers a truly personal service and feedback on his Irish Memorial Trees have been amazing, not just from the buyers of the service but from the family members receiving the Certificate and Card. They are deeply touched by such an enduring and thoughtful act.

Irish Memorial trees and the Irish Hospice foundation recently announced a partnership that also allows people to plant a tree and dedicate a tree while also donating to a cause that is so needed right now more than ever.

Bob would love to be able to let people know that this service exists and is keen to expand on the positive benefits and impact of this service, not just to the sender or receiver but also on the environment and the legacy of those lost.

Blog Archive


Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right? Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate ...

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Whatever your beliefs, saying goodbye your way is important.   If you need advice and a little bit of help, contact Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien at RHEA Dara and Louise are compassionate ...

Water scattering

A dignified way to say goodbye. At Irish Urn[2] s, we wanted to create a sustainable business where we can do our part in the environmental emergency - The Sea Scattering urn which is a fully biodegradable ...

Dolmens - Ancient Irish Tomb graves for Cremation and Burial

The Burren - One of my favorite landscapes in Irelands and about .5% of the landmass.It will be no surprise that the Burren takes its name from the Irish word 'bhoireann' meaning, 'a rocky place', which ...

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