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Digging a grave

  • 27-07-2021 8:45pm
    Registered Users Posts: 800 ✭✭✭ duffysfarm

    Not a farming issue as such but more of a rural thing so may this may be the best forum to post. Was at a funeral lately and the topic of who dug the grave came up. For a lot of the funerals round here a bunch of neighbours will dig the grave. Its not to save money or anything, its more like a tradition and a sign of respect. In one way i can see less people doing it but i think its a good tradition. Does this happen in many other parts of the country? Whatever about it happening in the countryside i cant see it happening in towns as much



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989

    Happens in 3 small parishes in our county. The rest is done by 2 or so graveing digging teams. Me being part of one team.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,541 ✭✭✭✭ wotzgoingon

    I used to dig graves but at night hoping a ring or bracelet would be still on the person.

    They can pry it from my cold dead fingers. Is what the dead person used to say when alive so I done the honours.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,390 ✭✭✭ A2LUE42

    North Tipp. Country area. Family and friends dig the grave. Nice tradition and long may it continue. Nearby in Limerick city it is controlled by the council and not allowed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,563 ✭✭✭ Kevhog1988

    Is tradition here for some to dig the grave in north kildare alright. Tradition in my family to backfill it also. Not sure where it came from but wehave done it for every funeral i remember

  • Registered Users Posts: 57 ✭✭ kefflin

    Yeah still a nice tradition around here, although new graveyard seems to be harder dug. So maybe it might die out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 712 ✭✭✭ Tileman

    It’s nearly extinct here now the last 10 years or so. There are two or three grave diggers with little diggers who do it all. Pity as it was a nice tradition but bloody hard work I’d say. Maybe when you have a team it mightn’t be as bad but I wouldn’t fancy it on some of our land.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 95 ✭✭ nklc

    Mid Tipp , never saw less than a dozen people dig in our parish ,mostly farmers . All across to the pub for a few pints and sandwiches. Most rural parishes do the same around here but not all .

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭ kollegeknight

    Always did it here- since the new graveyard. They are trying to stop it and get a mini digger to do it.

    last one I dug was about 2 years ago in Tipp for my uncle. Met cousins I hadn’t met in ages and had a great chat.

    remember years ago digging a grave for my aunt and met my grandfathers remains on the way down. My younger brother nearly fainted,

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,767 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm

    I shed tears today when I visited the family grave and shocked to see the grave had sunk about a foot. It's going to be difficult to top up with soil, it's an old graveyard with a narrow gate entrance. My late mother's words ringing in my ears, a collapsed grave is beckoning a funeral.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,158 ✭✭✭ Cavanjack

    Still goes on here but the priest has said that the insurance companies are going to put a stop to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,767 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm

    Yes I was thinking wheelbarrow also after I had posted. It was just such a shock to see.

    If I stop posting you'll know where I am.

  • Registered Users Posts: 846 ✭✭✭ Anto_Meath

    It would be a mix around here, I ve been at the digging of a few, mostly older traditional families the grave would be dug, but for families that have moved into the area in the last 50 years or so it generally dug by a mini digger. Would have dug a few in the neighbouring parish 4 mile down the road, it's amazing the different in ground. Its all boulders and a very hard yellow soil..

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,563 ✭✭✭ Kevhog1988

    one funeral a week? Not sure what youre asking there

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭ olestoepoke

    I think this is a wonderful tradition and long may it continue, as long it's done safely and we don't end up burying anyone before their time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,767 ✭✭✭ Lime Tree Farm

    The strangest one I've seen, was a female Council gravedigger. Holding a shovel, dressed in a boiler suit, waiting for the people to disperse. She was part of team, but she drew attention.

  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭ thejuggler

    For those who dig graves regularly what’s the criteria for when previous remains are encountered? Some local authorities recommend that their staff use a rod to detect a previous coffin and leave a certain depth of soil covering this. However I imagine in some cases there would be little trace of the coffin remaining so it’s quite likely that only bones would be found. In the US most cemeteries require a grave liner or vault which is a concrete box that protects the coffin from collapse and the elements. Doesn’t prevent decay of course but the cemeteries like them as it also reduces grave subsidence. I’m surprised that they were never introduced here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭ Jb1989

    5 foot is well deep enough, apart from certain graveyards, that the order is to go three coffin deep.

    A lot of the grave diggers in the past were only too mad to get ripping the lid of a previous coffin open to get a nose at the corpse.

    If fairly fresh remains are their previous, its tasteless, to be takeing them out, to put the new remains at the same depth, with the blessing of a priest or not.

    There is still plenty of land in the country with out exhuming the dead unnecessarily.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 846 ✭✭✭ Anto_Meath

    Years ago when I was a teenager, a neighbor died, he was the last of a large family all buried in the family plot. The gave was finished the evening of the removal but the sides were poor from been dug so often. The top of the gave was planked but after much debate among the older heads it was decided against planking the sides of the grave. Morning of the funeral as we gathered in the church yard the undertaker arrives in a panic, the sides had fallen in. So a few of us headed up to dig out it out again, it was some mess, by the time we had the clay taken out you could have placed the coffin in the gave any way you wanted, lucky it was only about 5ft deep. So we planked it all around again and as the hearse was pulling in the gate we were trying to fix up the green mats, the priest came up to us and said I heard ye had a bit of handling so we used the bad weather to have the sympathising in Church.. lucky they did or the coffin would have had to sit in the hearse for awhile.