CLARE’S first crematorium is on the verge of completion at Illaunmanagh in Shannon.
An open day will be held at the new facility, which is adjacent to Illaunmanagh Cemetery, on May 28 with the public welcome to view the development for a few hours.
Developer Jim Cranwell said this week that things are nearly ready.
“Everything is going very well. I’m down in Shannon at the moment and everything looks perfect.”
He added, “All the equipment is in. The construction of the pathway and the roads and everything is being done. We’re nearly there alright but building always takes a while. We should be testing by May 20.”
Mr Cranwell expects the first cremations in Clare will take place within a month.
At the moment, one in six people in Ireland are cremated, with the figure having risen very significantly in the last 10 years. However, it is far below the rate in the UK, where almost 75% of bodies are cremated.
Cremation only arrived in Ireland in the 1980s but since then has largely been a Dublin phenomenon. In recent years, more people from Clare have opted for cremation for their loved ones but have had to travel to Dublin or Cork.
The development in Shannon is set to cost in the region of €1 million to complete, with a small number of jobs being created upon its opening.
Nowadays, the Catholic Church approves of cremation but it was only in 1963 that a ban on it was lifted and three years later, priests were allowed to perform cremation ceremonies.
Since 1997, cremated remains have been allowed to be present at funeral masses.
Last year, the Vatican issued further instructions on cremation, stating that it still has a preference for burial but that if cremation is chosen, the ashes must be laid to rest in a sacred place, such as a cemetery. It said it was not permitted to scatter ashes of the deceased.
By Owen Ryan