Trad bad?

Charles 4 Comments

There’s a fine row brewing in Cork. The County Council has forbidden the public to dig graves themselves, something they have been doing since the dawn of time.

Yes, it’s a health and safety thing. From now on graves may only be dug by those who have done the course. They must be equipped with approved equipment including ear defenders, mobile phones and underground cable detection tools. They must even have had the right jabs. It’s going to add around 500 euros to the cost of a funeral.

A local funeral director points out that “We have lots of old customs and old traditions and it is going to be very difficult to stop people doing what they always did.”

Yes indeed. The people of Myross have already struck back. They have posted a notice at their cemetery which reads:

In Myross, we dig for our own,


we shoulder our own


and we inter our own.

Our traditions and customs.


Your respect required.


Isn’t that great?

Whole story here.


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12 years ago

Wonderful story Charles, please do post any updates to this if they hit the media which you scour to great effect. (I’m just trying to imagine the reaction of our local council if we did the same!)

12 years ago

There can be nothing like the backbreaking, sweated equity in a funeral of someone the family have loved than digging the hole for their body.
There is a different spirit abroad when this has been done by the family – and a heartfelt, unembarrassed gathering at the grave. (I was once thrilled to see the ex-wife chucking the shale in on top afterwards!)
A true shame to bankrupt this honest involvement in a funeral.

Rupert Callender
12 years ago

While I am completely in favour of this, I do have to say that digging a grave is a serious art and when done badly is a bloody mess, often unusable.
Filling in, however, can be done by anyone, and should be.

Charles Cowling
12 years ago

I guess that skills passed down from generation to generation can account for a rather smart grave. If you start digging them young, so much the better. But once a community has lost that tradition, and most of its people work indoors, enthusiastic amateurism is bound to lead to something resembling a crater. Yes, it’s skilled work — and on sandy soil or very wet ground, potentially perilous.