Ireland and the UK have many similar customs. Cremation is not one of them. In fact very few people in the RoI get cremated and whilst it is on the increase it is still around 15% (compared to ~75% of us in the UK). Why? Probably a combination of belief, customs and tradition.
I found this rather interest article by Alison O’Connor: Facing up to one of life’s burning issues — cremation or burial where the author goes on an open day visit to her local crematoria, which she found entirely fascinating.
Follow the link if you wish to read the full article – it is rather good. However,I will cut to the chase and just relay the facts:
- She dispelled the urban myths that a) more than one body is cremated together and b) the coffin does not cremated with the body
- At the particular crematorium she visited it took 10 seconds for the coffin to ignite with the temperature rising up to a high of 1,000C.
- The coffin burns within the first half an hour but the average cremation takes 80 minutes. In total it can be up to five hours before the process is complete, allowing the cremated remains to be cooled down, and then to be crushed, and the ashes put into the urn.
- The remains are removed from the oven. At that point they are too hot to be further processed and are placed in a cooling cabinet before being taken to an ashes processor where they are further broken down.
- Artificial joints etc are recovered and sent to the Netherlands for recycling with the revenue from this crematoria totalling €6,000 which went to local hospice.
- From a practical point of view a low-grade, low-resin coffin works best for cremation. Irish coffins, however, are usually most suited for burial, and even if a cremation is planned, people could still spend up to €2,000 on a coffin.
- Following cremation around 50% of families opt to bury the ashes in family graves, while around 33% are scattered.
- The carbon footprint created was the equivalent of a one-way flight From Dublin to London, around 300kg of carbon.
“When my time comes I want to be cremated. If anything, what I saw on the tour, and the demystifying of it, confirmed that for me.
This was in stark contrast to the vast majority of people who I met before and after the crematorium tour who had great difficulty understanding why I was interested in it. “Why on earth would you want to do that?” was the standard question.
Maybe it’s a phase, or a particular stage of life I’m going through, but my own feeling was: why would I not want to do that?”