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Bantry group is seeking five-acre site for its woodland burial plots

February 21st, 2016 7:20 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The Woodbrook burial site in Wexford is Ireland's only natural burial site

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A GROUP looking to develop a woodland burial plot in West Cork has issued an appeal for a suitable site.

Tim Rowe, one of the organisers of a recent public meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a natural burial site in West Cork, confirmed that the group is hoping to replicate the success of Woodbrook in Co Wexford – Ireland’s first natural burial site.

He also confirmed that the newly-formed West Cork group already has over 230 members. And he said he is ‘happy to hear from anyone interested in joining or from landowners who might have a suitable property for sale, donation or long-term lease’. 

Mr Rowe said the site would need to be a minimum of five acres and meet the strict planning conditions that would be attached to the development of such a site.

The idea of burying people in a natural setting is as old as man, and all around the world people are returning to it for practical, social and environmental reasons.

In the UK alone, there are now more than 350 such sites, but the Woodbrook Natural Burial Ground – which is adjacent to Woodbrook House at Killane, Co Wexford – remains Ireland’s one and only site since it opened in 2010.

Colin McAteer – one of the people behind the creation of Woodbrook – attended the meeting at the Westlodge Hotel on Thursday, January 14th last and explained how the initiative was the brainchild of the Green Graveyard Company.

Mr McAteer made the point that most traditional cemeteries will be full within the next 10 years, and he explained that Woodbrook has already become established as a nature reserve and a beautiful memorial to the 70 people who have been buried there so far.

He said the ethos of these sites is that natural or green burial grounds help to create, conserve and sustain native Irish woodlands because natural burial grounds are usually woodlands or wildflower meadows, or a combination of the two. 

Trees are planted on, or near, the graves and individual graves may be marked by small stones – or may not be marked at all – which allows the whole area to become a wild yet sacred memorial to the loved ones buried there.

Tim Rowe said he believes that ‘it is time that West Cork had an alterative for people who want to be buried in a natural setting.’ 

And he added that anyone interested in getting involved, or anyone that has a suitable site, can email him at [email protected] 

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