Bantry may get an ‘eco' woodland burial site

January 19th, 2016 4:50 PM

By Jackie Keogh

A natural burial ground is a graveyard where the land has a second use, as woodland or a wildflower meadow.

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MORE than 200 people have expressed an interest in creating a natural burial site in West Cork.

Tim Rowe – one of the organisers of a meeting in West Cork this week to discuss such a proposal – has called on ‘anyone interested in making it happen to get involved’.

Colin McAteer – one of the people behind the creation of Ireland’s first woodland burial site in Wexford – outlined how the Woodbrook Natural Burial Ground – which is adjacent to Woodbrook House – was developed and finally opened in October 2010.

The initiative was the brainchild of the Green Graveyard Company, which was formally established as a company in 2009. Following the success of Wexford’s ‘Woodbrook’, the company is hoping to open more woodland burial sites throughout Ireland.

A natural burial ground is a graveyard where the land has a second use, as a living, developing native Irish woodland and wildflower meadow. Instead of marble headstones and concrete surroundings, the person’s final resting place is identified only by the placing of a small, simple marker, and the planting of a native Irish tree.

In Wexford, there are pathways through the wildflower meadows that visitors can walk along – all of which is seen as a mark of respect in the sacred but natural burial ground. Woodbrook also encourages the use of ‘eco’ coffins, made from sustainable materials like willow.

The ethos of these sites, according to Colin, is that natural or green burial grounds help to create, conserve and sustain native Irish woodlands.

Tim Rowe told The Southern Star that it was time that West Cork had an alterative for people who want to be buried in a natural setting. ‘I would ask anyone interested in getting involved to contact me directly on 086 0608695 or email me at [email protected]’ You can also check the proposal out on Facebook at Woodland Burial Sites For West Cork.

Colin McAteer will also address the meeting which takes place in the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry on Thursday, January 14th at 7.30pm.

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