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Friday 24 February 2023

Women of ‘Extraordinary Ability’

St. Brigid’s Day or Lá féile Bríde in Gaelic, is a well-known day of celebration in Ireland. It is now as of Wednesday, February 1st, 2023, to be recognized as not only a national holiday but the first, yes that’s right; the first to be named after a woman!Brigid is one of Ireland’s most beloved figures, she is both a mother saint of the country and a revered Celtic goddess. She was known for many things including learning, poetry, protection, blacksmithing, livestock/dairy production and healing.

Growing up in a catholic community in the Irish countryside, it was tradition for most kids to gather the rushes from the fields of green (often yellow with the time of year), carry them to school with annoyance and create not just a cross, but a symbol of St. Brigid. This in turn was carried back to the parents with pride, to be adorned on the walls of the home. It would be unusual for a resident of Ireland to not have heard about St. Brigid.

To acknowledge not only St. Brigid on Feb 1st, but also the amazing women walking this earth today, the Irish Consulate of New York City held a morning of celebration with networking, music from Katie Maye, poetry from Doireann Ní Ghríofa and a panel of Extraordinary Women. Some of these women were Irish, some with Irish heritage and others with no Irish ancestry but still possess an understanding of what it’s like to be an immigrant and a woman, in particularly male dominated roles. The morning was led by FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh, the first female leader of New York's Fire Department in it's 157-year history.

The panel included: Yvonne Cassidy, Irish author of 4 books, creative writing teacher and the Development Director of Bottomless Closet; Una Neary, daughter of the late Irish restauranteur Jimmy Neary, and Global Chief Compliance Officer at BlackRock; Aissata M.B Camara, Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs; Michele Fitzsimmons, Battalion Chief for the New York Fire Department and last, but of course, not least our very own Jennifer Muldowney, Chief Memorial Maker and Owner of Muldowney Memorials, Chief Author/Host of ‘The Glam Reaper’ Podcast and blog.

We are so proud of her and her achievements. May there be many more days like these to come, where hard-working, ambitious women own a stage that showcases their amazing accomplishments and achievements. They are trailblazing a way for the younger generations of women to come.

Walking away from that morning and meeting of minds, one would find it hard not to be empowered, inspired and ready to take on the world. The energy in the room was contagious, exuberant and overwhelmingly positive.

Do you have female role model in your life? Who stands out as an ‘Extraordinary Woman’ to you? Is there a woman you know in a typically male dominated role, that is forging her way to success without compromise?

Should you be interested in having Jennifer speak at one of your business events; would like to be featured on her podcast; need assistance in preplanning or need her services as a celebrant/memorial planner, do not hesitate to contact her and her team at

We also have exciting news at Muldowney Memorial and The Glam Reaper Headquarters, we now have our very own Newsletter!! Subscribing to the Muldowney Monthly Newsletter is easy, you can do so here at

You can also find articles in the Irish Independent and Irish Echo about the famous Irish man, Jimmy Neary here:

- Siobhán Regan

The Grave Woman: Discussing Racism and “Good" Death


It might seem surprising, but racism remains an issue within the funeral industry despite all the talks on gender equality in this modern society. Today’s episode on the Glam Reaper Podcast with the “Grave Woman”, Joél Simone Maldonado unveils the struggles that take place behind the scenes, and how the issue of racism has been a pushback for women and women of color in the funeral industry. Joél is a licensed mortician, funeral director, embalmer and who calls herself, ‘The Sacred Greek Practitioner’. Nowadays, her focus is in the practice of educating people, funeral industry professionals and students about cultural competency, racial inclusion, regardless of faith, race, age, or status. There were some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode but Jennifer thinks that there will be a sequel to the conversation; as Joél has a lot more to offer in the funeral industry. "My experience as a black woman, I feel like I have the right to speak on those things and shed light on the lack of diversity in the industry.” - Joél LITTLE NUGGETS OF GOLD: - Who is “The Grave Woman” and what does she do now as part of the funeral industry? - How did she become "The Grave Woman"? - What were the bizarre coincidences since childhood that led Joél to this industry? - What are Joél’s thoughts in educating the funeral community and the diversity within it? - As a woman of color, does she feel there is a ‘pushback’ for her each time she attends funeral conventions and conferences? - Some people she would love to have on her Power Team

Connect with Joél Simone Maldonado

Website Podcast - Death & Grief Talk with The Grave Woman® Instagram YouTube

Connect with Jennifer/The Glam Reaper:

Monday 20 February 2023

General Grant National Memorial

Happy President's Day 2023!

“Let us have peace”. This, in 1868, was the 18th President of The United States, Ulysses G. Grant’s campaign slogan. Right here in NYC, on the doorstep of The Glam Reaper Podcast and Muldowney Memorials headquarters, is not only a National Park but the largest mausoleum in North America. It is the final resting place of such President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant. President Grant actively helped heal a nation post-civil war and insure all rights for the citizens of his country. His original choice of burial ground was his alma mater in West Point, however; they did not allow burial of women, so he dismissed this idea. This alone shows the nature of the kind of man he was. The largest public fundraising campaign in the world at the time was held to raise money to build this tomb. $600,000 was raised, which truly showed the impact he made on all walks of life across the globe.

Forming the outline of a cross, the interior of the building is largely composed of Lee and Carrara marble from Italy and Massachusetts. The upper level consists of a gallery, enclosed by a paneled dome which is 105 feet above floor level. At the Crypt level, there are 2 sarcophagi, made of Wisconsin red granite, containing the remains of both Ulysses and Julia Grant which are then surrounded in this circular crypt by 5 statues of other Civil War generals. Even though it was completed in 1897 by Architect John Duncan, it is still to this day, the largest mausoleum in the country! There is a riddle or joke that asks, “who is buried at Grant’s Tomb?” The answer of course, is “No one”. Grant and his wife are entombed. The inspiration came to Mr. Duncan from Napoleon Bonaparte’s Sarcophagus at Les Invalides.

Grant’s Tomb is located right by the Hudson River on Riverside Drive and W. 122nd Street and open daily except Monday and Tuesday. Upon completion, it remained unobscured at one of the highest points along the Hudson River. Even if you have no interest in history or don’t even know what a mausoleum is, this one is truly spectacular and worth visiting. Plus, it’s free! 

This beautifully designed, arduously built structure is an incredible piece of architecture, but it is not just any old landmark! It symbolizes the overcoming of war and the healing of a hurting nation; it is a representation of noblemen, honor and respect. It showcases the power of the people -a nation- when harmoniously connected for a positive cause. More importantly and especially in today’s world, it is also a sanctuary, a vessel of silence and stillness in the otherwise bustling and busy city of New York. A palace of peace for not only those in the neighborhood, but for all who travel from near and far to visit this one-of-a-kind memorial.

Have you visited this national site? What are your thoughts on mausoleums? Would you like your final resting place to be a mausoleum?

Sunday 19 February 2023

5 Reasons to consider Preplanning your own Funeral

While planning one's own funeral may not be the most comfortable thing to think about, it can be an important and helpful task to undertake. Here are some reasons why people may choose to plan their own funeral:

  1. Relieve Burden on Loved Ones: By planning their own funeral, individuals can relieve their loved ones of the emotional and financial burden of planning a funeral during a difficult time.
  2. Ensure Wishes are Respected: Planning one's own funeral ensures that the individual's wishes are respected and carried out. This can include preferences for the type of service, burial or cremation, music, readings, and more.  You can decide on the type of service you want, where you want to be buried, and any other details that are important to you. This can bring peace of mind to both you and your family.
  3. Control Costs: Funeral costs can add up quickly, and planning in advance can help individuals and their families make decisions that fit within their budget. Pre-planning helps with financial planning. You can decide on a budget, choose a funeral home, and pay for services in advance. This can help prevent financial strain on your loved ones.
  4. Personalize the Service: Planning your funeral allows you to personalize the service to reflect your personality, values, and beliefs and allows you to add your personal touch to the event. This can help loved ones celebrate their life in a meaningful way. You can choose the music, the readings, the flowers, and any other details that reflect your personality and preferences.
  5. Peace of Mind: Knowing that one's funeral is planned and taken care of can provide peace of mind and a sense of control during a difficult time.

Overall, planning your own funeral can be a thoughtful and considerate act for your loved ones. It can provide peace of mind and ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled.

As memorial experts at Muldowney Memorials, we highly recommend taking the time to consider your final wishes and making arrangements accordingly.

Thursday 16 February 2023

John Adams: Helping Children Grieve Better through Bereavement Education

The current national curriculum teaches children how life begins. Sadly, however, they are not taught how to comprehend and cope with the reality of how life ends. In this conversation with John Adams, president of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) in the UK, he talks about a petition he has spearheaded, pushing for bereavement as a mandatory subject in schools. And while this topic is a tough one, it is very important to equip children with the skills to understand death and not to brush away the emotions of a child with regards to bereavement. For example, when a child's pet goldfish dies and the child is crying, parents should not dismiss the child's emotions as insignificant simply because it was "only a fish”. Listen to this episode and learn more about how you can help children grieve better through bereavement education, and what you can do to support John’s petition. "Death is unique, emotions are unique." - John Adams

Little Nuggets of Gold:

- What is the purpose of John Adams' campaign or petition for the inclusion of bereavement in the UK's national curriculum? - Is John proposing that school teachers should be teaching the curriculum? - The importance of education and counseling for the mental health of children witnessing death, regardless of its form. - What kind of parameters and guidelines does our society need in order to get rid of the stigma around death? - John’s thoughts on coffin/casket sales


If you are in UK and would like to sign the online petition, you can go to this link.

Connect with John Adams: 



Connect with Jennifer/The Glam Reaper:

Wednesday 15 February 2023

8 creative ideas for Memorial Planning

Planning a memorial is an important way to honor and remember a loved one who has passed away. Here are some creative ideas for memorial planning:
  1. Plant a memorial garden: A garden filled with your loved one's favorite flowers, plants or trees is a beautiful way to remember them. You could also add a memorial plaque, statue or fountain to the garden.
  2. Create a memory box: A memory box filled with mementos, photographs, and keepsakes of your loved one can be a touching way to preserve their memory.
  3. Organize a charity event: Organizing a charity event in your loved one's name can be a great way to celebrate their life and give back to a cause that they cared about.
  4. Commission an art piece: Commissioning an art piece that reflects your loved one's personality, interests or life story can be a unique way to memorialize them.
  5. Host a candlelight vigil: A candlelight vigil can be a touching way to gather family and friends to share memories and celebrate the life of your loved one.
  6. Create a video tribute: Creating a video tribute that combines photos, videos, music and memories of your loved one can be a moving way to honor their memory and share it with others.
  7. Build a memorial bench or monument: A bench or monument placed in a meaningful location can be a lasting tribute to your loved one.
  8. Dedicate a room or space: If your loved one had a special room or space they loved, you could dedicate it to their memory and fill it with their favorite items and photographs.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to memorialize someone. The important thing is to choose a way that feels meaningful and reflects the life of your loved one.