Urn a large or decorative vase, especially one with an ornamental foot or pedestal.

a vase for holding the ashes of the cremated dead.


Cremation is one of the most controversial topics in human history. Whilst some cultures and religions support cremation, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding it. Despite the support or not, cremation is one of the longest standing memorial traditions of human history and therefore so is the Urn.

Cremation Urns

Funerary Urns (also called cinerary Urns and burial Urns) have been used by many civilizations. After death, corpses are cremated, and the ashes are collected and put in an Urn. Pottery Urns, dating from about 7000 BC, have been found in an early Jiahu site in China, where a total of 32 burial urns are found,[1] and other early finds are in Laoguantai, Shaanxi.[2] There are about 700 burial urns unearthed over the Yangshao (5000–3000 BC) areas and consisting of more than 50 varieties of form and shape. http://asian.allanbarker.com/yangshao_pottery.htm#:~:text=A%20Neolithic%20Yangshao%20culture%20painted,circles%20and%20worked%20by%20hand.

A cremation Urn otherwise known as a funerary Urn or burial Urn is a type of vessel. These vessels are commonly used in burials to hold the cremated ashes of a loved one. Throughout history religion has been known to use urns to house vital organs and/or property of a deceased and then place them around the deceased’s coffin.

Cremation Urns around the ancient world

Educators agree today that proper cremation began during the early Stone Age around 3000 BC. By the end of the Stone Age cremation had started to spread throughout northern Europe. Around the start of the Bronze Age cremation had spread into Spain and Portugal. Cemeteries were developed for cremation in Hungary, northern Italy and of course, ancient Ireland where Cremated remains and Irish urns were deposited in large memorial sites and groundworks for Example Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.

The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 750 BC), a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, takes its name from its large cemeteries of urn burials.

In ancient Greece, cremation was usual, and the ashes typically placed in a painted Greek Urn . In particular, the lekythos, the shape of an Urn, was used for holding oil in funerary rituals. Romans placed the urns in a niche in a collective tomb called a columbarium (literally, dovecote). The interior of a dovecote usually has niches to house doves and was similar in appearance to an Urn Columbarium. Cremation urns were also commonly used in early Anglo Saxon England, and in many Pre-Columbian cultures.

In some later European traditions, a king’s heart, and sometimes other organs, could be placed in one or more urns upon his death, as happened with King Otto of Bavaria in 1916, and buried in a different place from the body, to symbolize a particular affection for the place by the departed.

In the modern funeral industry, cremation urns of varying quality, elaborateness, and cost are offered, and urns are another source of potential profit for an industry concerned that a trend toward cremation might threaten profits from traditional burial ceremonies. However many families seek out more unique and higher quality Urns online from the actual artisan, rather than choosing a factory-made generic Urn from an Undertaker or Funeral Director.

Biodegradable urns are sometimes used for both human and animal burial. They are made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled or handmade paper, salt, cellulose, or other natural products that are capable of decomposing back into natural elements, and sometimes include a seed intended to grow into a tree at the site of the burial.

Besides the traditional funeral or cremation ashes urns, it may also be possible to keep a part of the ashes of the loved one or beloved pet in keepsake urns or mini Urns or Small Urns

It is even, in some places, possible to place the ashes of two people in so-called companion urns.

Cremation Urns or funeral Urns are made from a variety of materials such as wood, natural stone, ceramic, glass, or steel. The Brass type Urn is considered the lower end of choice, as mass-produced and as such does not offer any form of uniqueness. So standard in fact, that some US larger Retail chains offer factory-made Cremation Urns. https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/110056784629858188/

The scattering of ashes has become popular over recent decades. As a result, urns designed to scatter the ashes from have been developed. Some are biodegradable, and some recyclable after being used.


Ceramic Cremation Urns

Ceramic Urns have a vast and ancient history. Throughout much of that history, people have been creating vessels and other works to use for funeral ceremonies. Many of these vessels or Urns were used to hold the remains after cremation, other Urns were used for funeral rites and rituals or to memorialize the departed. This history extends over 10,000 years and includes most of the civilizations of the world.

A variety of clays occur naturally over much of the earth and it is an abundantly common material. Because of clay’s amazing capability to be shaped and fired to stone-like hardness ceramic technology arose independently in various places and times in human history. It is perhaps the oldest technology of humanity, and ancient a revered skill and the most tradional material for an Urn.

Some of the most beautiful ceramics in the world are the ancient funerary vessels remaining from different cultures. One of the greatest Western civilizations to create a well developed ceramic Urn technology was the Greco-Roman culture. The ancient Greek culture had a long tradition of cremation that carried over into the Roman Empire and spread over much of the ancient western world. Over time the Urn ceramics used for funeral rites took on many different forms.

Blog Archive

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

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...