Search This Blog

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Happy Christmas Irish Joke

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honour of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The Englishman fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It's a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The Scotsman reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The Irishman  started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The paddy  replied, 'These are Carols.'

And So The Christmas Season

Tuesday 25 November 2014

I'm going to be a priest...ess?!

So I was at a bar in Soho NYC last night and was reading a publishing contract for my next book and sitting beside me was a teacher who was also an editor and...a priest....and drinking Lemon Drop martinis! Unheard of in Ireland. We got to chatting - mostly as we had the bartender and a love of Lemon Drop Martinis in common but she had also spotted what I was reading.

I was intrigued that she had a serious boyfriend, was drinking in a bar, was young, witty, chatty and sound...and a priest! I hadn't experienced much of that before. In the past I typically kept my religious preferences to myself - my first book details various religions and their funeral rites. I am an Irish born Catholic but I often find myself questioning the church and its decisions, choices, limitations and people.

The conversation that developed with this young woman intrigued me so much I almost considered joining priesthood! If you asked any of my friends they would probably laugh...hard at this. But when she explained how it was very popular for event planners to turn to the type of priesthood she spoke of and what her day to day entailed - I was genuinely enthralled. Much of what I have tried to do while under the guise of Farewell Funeral Planners and now The Glam Reaper is to ask people to celebrate theirs and others lives, to LIVE their life to the fullest, to tell their loved ones how much they love them,  and to consider their own mortality, accept it and move on with LIFE. Apparently that's what this woman does every day - she organises gatherings where they talk about life and death, she throws parties where people can come for open discussions, give thanks, pray for each other and get inspired.

How many meetings, conferences and exhibitions have I gone to as a start up business where I have paid a great deal of money to hear someone INSPIRE me to 'go get 'em', and this woman seems to do this on a daily basis in the form of religion. VERY interesting for me.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Top 10 funeral songs?

As found on several websites online - Here are the top ten funeral songs:

1. “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt
2. “You Raise Me Up” by Westlife
3. “Time To Say Goodbye” by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli
4. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler
5. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
6. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John
7. “With or Without You” by U2
8. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
9. “Angels” by Robbie Williams
10. ”Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

What do you think?? Right wrong? I think I might have to compile a list but my this list could be LONG!!!

Thursday 9 October 2014

Top 10 Irish Drinks

1 -Guinness

In 1759, Arthur Guinness acquired a four acre site and signed a 9,000-year lease for the St. James' Gate Brewery in Dublin. As the current Guinness ad claims, they are only 250 years into a 9,000 year lease with alot of Guinness left to brew. Guinness is a dark stout which can be bitter to taste. I personally can't stand to drink it but I have been told it is an acquired taste and to persist. Known for its amazing iron properties some people will claim a 'Guinness a day keeps the doctor away'.

2 -Tea

You can take your earl, chamomile, green, chai but if it ain't Barrys or Lyons then keep on walking mister! As I am not a tea drinker myself I am fascinated with the tea obsession in Ireland. On Average someone in Ireland will drink 4 cups of tea a day. Literally you cannot walk into someone's home without "will you have a cup of tea?". It solves EVERYTHING. NO matter what has happened the solution is ALWAYS "sure we'll have a cup of tea". My mind boggles but there is no denying it and sometimes you just have to accept a cuppa to be polite. Also known as a 'rosylee', 'cuppa joe', 'cup of cha' and a million others besides!

3 -Bulmers Cider

Also known as Magner's abroad due to branding issues with Bulmers in the UK, Bulmers Original Irish Cider is made in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. A firm favorite over recent years for both men and women alike especially in the summer or after sport in the local clubhouse at the weekends. A very refreshing drink, sweet but dry and beautiful with ice on a hot sunny day after a hike allowing you to relax and soak up some Irish atmosphere.

4 -Poitin

Also known as Moonshine in other parts of the world, the production of this spirit has been banned in Ireland since 1661. It was wickedly potent - akin to Absinthe and although you might think you have stumbled upon a rarity when you see Bunratty Irish Potcheen, alas this is not as potent as the original one.

5 -Baileys Irish cream

An Irish liqueur cream enjoyed either neat or with ice or as an alternative to the Irish coffee mentioned above. Baileys is a nice, albeit fattening drink and for me, I prefer it with other ingredients as part of a cocktail but it is very smooth, sweet, creamy and extremely popular around Christmas in Ireland.

6 -Irish Whiskey

'Uisce Beatha' is Irish for whiskey and means  “the water of life”. Black Bush, Bushmills, Jameson, Kilbeggan, Paddy, Powers, and Tullamore Dew are all world renowned Irish Whiskeys. The crazy thing is because of our taxes, Whiskey is more expensive to buy in Ireland than in most other countries - even though it has been made here!

7 -Irish Coffee

An Irish coffee combines coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and freshly whipped cream. Here is our guide on how to make the perfect Irish Coffee. Get yourself to a decent pub at any time of the day for one of these to cosy up to. Delish!

8 -TK Lemonade

Mixed with whiskey for the adults and a glass on birthdays etc for the kids, this was the drink us 80's kids grew up with! Forget you Coca Cola! Still massively used in the country TK (red or white) is not as popular in the cities but still a firm favorite, having been nudged off by the likes of Coca Cola and Lucozade.

9 -Club Rock Shandy

Ahhhh the hangover cure in a fizzy bottle! The original Club Orange was the first orange soft drink to come on the market in Ireland. Club Lemon followed and then this new drink was discovered purely by accident - a dude called Frank Murphy from Blackrock in Co. Dublin enjoyed mixing his Club Orange AND Lemon, and thus Rock Shandy as we now know it was born! Hurrah for Frank!

10 -Miwadi/Ribena

No Irish top ten list would be complete without a nod to Ribena or Miwadi. Both are dilutable fruit drinks. During war torn Ireland people were given this when they were sick. Now it is an easy way to get more water into your body and be healthy but let's be honest - it is also a big ask in bars post a night out - another hangover cure for Irish people!

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Free Range Reaping!

So....we are going through a little shift in branding currently. Why? Well because to be honest we tried for too long to fit into a box that was just too small to handle us really and after reading Marianne Cantwell's book - Free Range Humans given to us by the awesome Voice Coaching Ireland, we felt we needed a change. Break free from the reins! A bit of a Run Forest Run moment. Kinda ironic considering my name is Jennifer and I OFTEN get slagged with the "Jennaaaay" quote. Anyway I am (as always) the Glam Reaper? Well it was actually an Irish Tabloid paper that nicknamed me this name some months ago and it stuck - Amongst friends, family, acquaintances, clients and more. The more I thought about it, the more ME it seemed.

Farewell Funeral Planners - the original name is a fabulous name (if I do say so myself) but it described what we were and NOT who we are now and where we are going. I am NOT a funeral planner. I am not as soft spoken as the name suggests either. The Glam Reaper might seem crass to some but meet me, hear me, read me, listen to me and you will know I am anything but crass. I started this business because I care greatly about people. I have loved and will continue to love hearing the fabulous and often heartbreaking stories from people I have worked with on funerals, on their businesses and through my book and my jewellery.

I looooove what I do but the Farewell Funeral Planners box was just too tight for what I have grown into - I have written a book - Say Farewell Your Way, I have created a line of Irish glass cremation jewellery for Humans and for Pets. I do marketing for Funeral Homes and a variety of other non funeral related products and services in the UK, USA and Ireland. I am making a documentary on the funeral business.  I write for publications all over the world, I chat with real live humans about the stories they have, the lives they have lived and the action they have seen. I want something that represents ALL of that and not one facet of it.

Summary - I like to write, think and talk about things most people don't!

Here is an update on our online communication portfolio -

You are here Blog:

Come join the chat!!!

Here are some other ways to connect with us!! --->
USA Shop -
Pet Shop -

Monday 1 September 2014

Top 10 Irish Foods

1. Irish Stew

Beef or lamb, although typically made with beef these days, carrots, onions and spuds - oh and a delicious gravy like sauce that its all stewed in - hence the name!

2. Soda Bread and Brown Bread

Soda and Brown Breads are very versatile recipes which have stood the test of time as Irish classics because of their simplicity. No-knead, no-fuss styles of bread which are delicious on their own (with lashings of REAL Irish Butter!!), toasted (also with butter!) or served with a warm bowl of soup.

3. Roast Lamb

Personally I can't stand Lamb BUT I believe it needs very little work to get stunning natural meat flavours. A staple on Irish dinner tables for years, this continues to be a firm favorite. Roasted with rosemary and garlic is the way to go and with these flavours I might actually be tempted!

4. Fish!

NOT a massive fish person but I couldn't neglect this - Simple, versatile, and we're an Island so there's plenty of it! Regarded as a delicacy in other countries, salmon is one of the most common fish eaten in Ireland. Typical preparation is poached in fish stock, or another very popular method is Smoked Salmon. The flavor of wild salmon tends to be tastier but also more expensive.

Seafood Chowder is also a HUGE hit with tourists and Irish natives in equal measure - it warms the heart and when fresh like in Howth it tastes like Ireland.

Oysters are regarded worldwide as an aphrodisiac and a wealthy person's meal but in Ireland, on the island, they frequented the dinner table as the norm. Typically served on ice with a lemon to garnish.

Mussels are big in Ireland these days and although I don't eat them or therefore prepare them - here is a tip from Tv Chef Donal Skehan "Mussels have a reputation for being difficult to cook, but this is just not true. The hardest part in reality is the washing. Place them in cold water (they should close, if they don’t you should throw them away). Scrub any dirt off the surface of the mussels and remove the beard with a small knife. If you can get this down you will have no trouble and they take minutes to cook, so they’re the perfect little starter. I love serving the pot straight to the table from the stove and clunking large spoonfuls of the cooked steaming mussels onto guest’s plates. Make sure to serve with some chunky bread to mop up the juices!"

5. Coddle

Apparently this is (or was maybe!) a common dish for Dubliners on a Saturday night before they headed on a night out but as a 32 year old Dub - I have certainly never experienced this! It is a good basic Irish dish that consists of chopped sausages and bacon cooked together with onions and the potatoes in beef stock. Tasty as F@##!

6. A Full Irish Breakfast

Wow what to say here - it's delish! And a MUST HAVE after a night boozin! For me, it has to be superquinn sausages, clonakilty black and white pudding and rashers and 2 eggs whichever way you like 'em! YUM YUM!

7. Colcannon Mash

Colcannon is as traditional, as traditional Irish food gets, mashed spuds with gently cooked and thinly sliced cabbage with lots and lots of real Irish butter! Nowadays scallions and/or mustard are added to the mix to give it a different flavour. Personally I adore it with scallions and a fried egg on top!

8. Apple Crumble Cake

Apple crumble is one of my most favourite winter desserts of all time, I remember making some for my mom as a surprise when I was a kid and when I took it out of the oven, I put it on the stove which was still too hot and the dish exploded Apple Crumble all over the kitchen walls! Not a great welcome home gift but Apple Crumble never fails to warm down to the toes.

9. Bacon (Ham) and Cabbage

Here is how to do it right: Slow boil the ham/bacon loin, then boil the cabbage in the salty water the bacon has cooked in. Bake the ham until crisp on the outside, you can add honey and mustard to the outer layers too if you like. Serve with the cabbage and some mashes spuds with oodles of real Irish butter (there's a trend emerging....).

10.  Soup and Sambos

I couldn't write a blog about the top ten Irish foods without a special shout out for something you will find practically anywhere! Any house, pub, restaurant, shop, petrol station - anywhere!! There is always a hot soup going and accompanying it is a sandwich - ham and cheese, chicken salad, egg, tuna, chicken tikka, BLT - the choice is endless!

Stick a packet of Tayto Crisps and a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk onto the end of ANY of the above meals and you have yourself a TRUE Irish meal!

Thursday 21 August 2014

Top 10 Dublin Restaurants

Donal Skehan - one of Ireland's youngest and (in my opinion) most down to earth TV chefs was featured on one of America's biggest food websites They asked him to throw together his favourite spots to eat around Dublin City, which being MY hometown also, I thought I would share although he mentions more than ten restaurants! After all ALOT of post funeral activity in Ireland surround food!

1. "Brunch at the Pepperpot Cafe in Powerscourt Town House, with their mismatched tea sets and epic sandwiches–Mount Callan Cheddar, Bacon, and Roast Pear being my favorite!–followed by a stroll around Grafton St. and a stop by Fallon & Byrne for some great-quality ingredients and Sheridans for the best cheese Ireland has to offer."

2. "Chapter One. Wonderful service and incredible cooking from one of Ireland's most widely celebrated chefs, Ross Lewis."

3. "One of the things I love most about the Dublin food scene is that you don't have to spend a fortune to get great-quality food. A serious sausage roll with proper Irish pork and flaky puff pastry from Lolly & Cooks in George's Street Arcade served with a fresh salad is a great lunch. Or Skinflint in Temple Bar has a good offering of cheap and tasty dinners, and paddle-shaped pizzas with firebee [infused with chile!] honey."

4. "3FE is hard to beat for coffee in Dublin, but I also love Brother Hubbard, whose food matches their coffee offering. They do brilliant breakfasts–I had semolina pancakes with poached rhubarb, mint, and candied nuts last time I was in. In Ireland the national drink is surprisingly not Guinness but TEA! Every Irish problem can be solved with a cup of tea and Wall & Keogh, a super little cafe, has a huge selection of tea and is a great place to try some of the best in town."

5. "For more traditional Irish food Hatch & Sons is a super spot for a hearty lunch of great Irish ingredients, or the Winding Stair Bookshop & Cafe and the Pig's Ear for a dinner featuring more traditional Irish cooking."

6. "There are plenty of new restaurants popping up in Dublin but some of the great spots for food include: the Fumbally for inspired salads and sandwiches"

7. "L. Mulligan Grocer, which has a wonderful menu of creative pub food like scotch eggs and ploughman's platters featuring many Irish artisan producers"

8. "Crackbird - an addictive chicken joint which has a super little take on fast-food fried chicken."

9. "A stop in Bunsen who serve seriously good burgers with quality Black Aberdeen Angus Beef and homemade burger buns."

10. "My hometown of Howth, a little fishing village north of city, is the best place to go for some great food and a beautiful picnic. You can get the DART right into the heart of village and then take your pick of seafood restaurants for some great Irish seafood chowder before heading out on the cliff walk with some of the most breathtaking views of the Baily Lighthouse and across Dublin Bay."

Tuesday 12 August 2014

You're free Genie (Robin Williams)

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” 

Robin Williams, 1951 – 2014

You may remember him from movies/TV:

  • Mork & Mindy (1978–1982)
  • The World According to Garp (1982)
  • Popeye (1980)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Awakenings (1990)
  • The Fisher King (1991)
  • Hook (1991)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • Ferngully (1992)
  • TOYS (1992)
  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
  • Jumanji (1995)
  • The Birdcage (1996)
  • JACK (1996)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • What dreams may come (1998)
  • Patch Adams (1998)
  • Bicentennial Man (1999)
  • AI Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • One hour Photo (2002)
  • Insomnia (2002)
  • Robots (2005)
  • Night at the Museum (2006)
  • Happy Feet (2006)
  • Night at the Museum 2 (2009)
  • Happy Feet 2 (2011)
  • The big wedding (2013)

and this year (2014) he is due to be in Absolutely Anything as Dennis the Dog, Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb as Teddy Roosevelt, Merry Friggin' Christmas as Mitch and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor 3 times, he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He also received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.

His role as the Genie (he also did the voice of "The Peddler") in the animated film Aladdin (1992) set the way for many many other superstar voice actor castings. According to DVD commentary of the film most of his dialogue was improvised.

Little Trivia : Robin Williams fell out with Disney over an initial agreement on the marketing of the movie and his character - the Genie which resulted in Dan Castellaneta's voicing the Genie in The Return of Jafar and the Aladdin animated television series. But when 20th Century Fox Production head Joe Roth left Fox and joined Disney (but not before he set the go ahead for Mrs Doubtfire!!) he arranged a public apology from Disney and all was happy again until another marketing blunder and flop on Bicentennial Man in 1999. BUT all became well again and in 2009 Robin agreed to be inducted as a Disney Legend.

"Thank you for choosing "Magic Carpet" for all your travel needs. Don't stand until the rug has come to a complete stop. Thank you. Goodbye, now. Goodbye. Goodbye. Thank you. Goodbye."

Thursday 10 July 2014

Dublin City FM episode 1

Listen to the podcast here

" Broadcast on July 8 2014, After welcomes guests Jennifer Muldowney from Farewell Funeral Planners who talks of cremation jewellery and on being called the 'glam reaper' plus Roddy Tyrrell from Tyrrell Solicitors on what is involved in making a will, what 'living wills' or advanced care directives are and why they are not yet fully recognised in Ireland "

Twitter: @TheGlamReaper Web:
Web: Twitter: @solicitor_ie
Twitter: @After_WhatNow

Monday 7 July 2014

Brooke Shields eulogy for Michael Jackson

 Brooke Shields, longtime friend of Michael Jackson, delivers this emotional eulogy at his public memorial service on July 7, 2009. “smile though your heart is aching”

Wednesday 2 July 2014

RTE's Way to Go - Death and the Irish

So last night (July 1st 2014) RTE (I believe in association with the Irish Hospice Foundation) showcased a documentary on death, dying, loss, grief and the Irish.

I was very excited to see this documentary, albeit a little frustrated that I didn't get interviewed or asked my opinion or to participate in any way shape of form. As someone who has been a point of contact for many of the papers and radio djs when it comes to the subject of death and considering how much of a spotlight I have put on the subject with my book, my blog, the press received and my approach to it on social media - I really think having a completely independent (of any supplier) young person give their take on preplanning would have added substantially to the documentary but then this is RTE we are talking about here.

As I have said time and time again, in Ireland, historically, we dealt with death quite well - in fact we are world renowned for our wakes but in the last couple of decades we seem to have lost this fantastic 'celebration of life' in favour of a more demure and sad 'mourning of a death'.

The Irish Hospice Foundation do fantastic work and when I needed some questions answered at the time of my book (Say Farewell, Your Way) writing, they obliged. I (very clearly) have an avid interest in Funerals and Funeral Planning and I had hoped this documentary would start a conversation on twitter, on facebook, online in general and around the dinner table. I think it will start SOME conversations for sure and if it does that, then it has succeeded. But what I saw (and I could be wrong) was merely people like me and the IHF and people who worked for the IHF and in the death industry talking online. This was, for me, sad to see. It shows that we still have a way to go to get the Irish talking openly about death, dying and loss.

My other 'grip' as such with the show was the TYPICAL Irish media personas that appeared throughout and even the fact that Norah Casey presented it. Now I liked Norah on the Dragons Den (so much so I approached her outside it with the original Funeral Planning idea) but with most Irish Celebrities her 'brand' has been diluted so much that she doesn't necessarily bring anything to a show anymore. I know this might sound harsh because I understand why she was involved in the show and from that point, interviewing her ON the show would have been imperative but for her to present the show did not make sense to me. Then there was the scattering of Irish celebrities throughout.....personally I enjoyed the real-life 'nobody' stories alot better. That lady Noreen was fantastic - more airtime for her please.

All in all I am delighted the show presented this topic to the public in such a way and at a vital air time (although the world cup games may have filtered a little). We NEED to talk about death openly, honestly and more often. It WILL happen to all of us at some stage and so lets put into place as much of a plan as we possibly can to make that easier on us and our loved ones. I really hope to see more shows like this in the future.

Friday 27 June 2014

Donating a body to Science

I was watching the Billy Connolly UTV/ITV show - Billy Connolly's 'Big Send off'.

And in the second episode he investigated the whole concept of donating ones body to science for research, exploration, medical development and education. I have to say before I saw this episode I was with Billy in that I "didn't want anyone looking at my wobbly bits" when I wasn't there to defend them. But what was interesting and mind blowing for me was the sincere thanks and appreciation that the deceased received from those who had 'used' their bodies. A little thank you note to someone who can't read it might seem a little silly but I was genuinely moved by this and I thought if I was able to see this Thank You note and it belonged to someone I knew who had donated their body, I would be moved once again by how much that person meant to me and still does in death.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Why should you use Blogging/Social Media for your funeral home? P2

Credibility and reputation

Position yourself as a thought leader. Most people arrive at a funeral home during an time-of-need service and so they may not know the wealth of services that you provide. A blog and social media can help to showcase this without selling AT them or being too pompous. Become someone they can turn to and ask questions when the time is right.

Drive Sales
Statistics show that companies with business blogs will generate on average 80% more sales leads. Use your blog to educate people on how to personalize their service which could ultimately leads to more ‘add on’ sales for your home.

70% of people use blogs as information sources when making buying decisions.

Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing, with a rating of 89% so lets get some testimonials from your customers onto your blog and Facebook page.

It can also help you to understand your market
We can do polls, ask questions on social media, get feedback and generally begin to understand your market more. It’s about opening a two-way conversation with the people you serve every day.

Sunday 22 June 2014

ecoLegacy - the unveiling

Last March I was invited to the unveiling of brand new technology - ecoLegacy. In case you didn't read my book (shame on you) or have never heard my chatter on ecoLegacy - briefly it is a form of body disposition set to rival burial and cremation. It is similar to cremation but without the fire. 

So last March when I was invited to 'test run' this new technology, I jumped at the chance. We would get to see this new 'non flame cremation' in action. That we did - Already deceased (very important) animal remains were reduced to a non toxic inert ash without any flame in this ecoLator - an accelerated natural disposition unit. Pretty impressive. Below are a couple of exclusive insider pictures of the event. More info and interviews coming soon.

Some of the ecoLegacy Team, investors and visitors

 Kirsten doing a demo with some of the crew


 Hip and knee parts that will be recyclable with the new technology.

 The mastermind new unit is unveiled!

 The machinery on view then (in March 2014) will be far from what will exist in Funeral Homes when the units roll out next year. They will decrease in size. The units are still in development stage. The product's physical appearance will develop over the coming months to a much sleeker and visually stimulating model. The ecoLegacy team are as much into the 'look' of this baby as to the operational abilities and how they market the product will be key for its success.
 The remains - if it's cremains from cremation - is it ecolains for ecoLated remains??

CEO and founder of ecoLegacy Tony Ennis and I at the ICCFA in LasVegas in April.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Why should you use Blogging/Social Media for your funeral home? P1

The online world is fast and crazy and without the right approach, or the right tools it can easily become a serious problem and bad PR for your funeral home.

If a Facebook page is created incorrectly, or created and not maintained then this actually creates a negative impact upon your reputation online.  The same applies to a blog or Twitter or any social media accounts. These sites should not be started, if they cannot be maintained and equally there is no point to them if they are not generating the right conversation amongst your target market or on a higher level, if they are not generating leads. 

Boost SEO
Statistics show that businesses who blog and use social media will increase website traffic by up to 60%. The more people on your website the more awareness your community will have of the services and products you sell and the resources you can offer.

One of the biggest benefits of blogging is getting your website to rank better for relevant keywords on search engines. And your Funeral Home’s Facebook page should be seen as another website for your business. It will often rank as high if not higher on Search Engines because of Facebook’s Domain. Look at your Facebook page as an interactive website that encourages a two-way conversation with your target market.

Show you are human
Most people have a negative view of a funeral home – the idea of the grim reaper, dark, dim, stuffy rooms and often ‘ambulance chasers’.

Blogging can help you dispel the myths and show people your funeral home’s heart. What better way to get ahead of the competition than showing people you genuinely care about them? Would you buy from a friend or a stranger? People buy from people they know and trust and blogging and social media help the public to see a funeral home as a group of people with the aim of helping and caring for the community when a death occurs.

The Community
You are at the heart of your community. Yes, you want your community to automatically think of you when it’s time to create a funeral service but to do that you need to build awareness of your funeral home, your expertise and gain their trust. Showcase this on your blog. Become the go-to website for their questions. Link up with the community on events and help support their events by promoting them on your blog and social media. Give testimonials, reviews and recommendations. Show your love of your community and that message will spread.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

3 Irish Guys dance around the world

Now this is what I love to see - people going out there and grabbing their bucket list by the @@@! Fair play these lads from Lucan, Dublin, Ireland.
Kevin Cobbe, Chris McGrath and Iain McNamara
The lads went on a trip around the world - 23 countries in one year.

For more info see their blog
“the aim of creating interest in Ireland among young people who wouldn’t know a lot about the country”.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Pawel Kuczynski satirical illustrations

Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has created 29 thought provoking images on politics, social media, religion, poverty, the food chain and - the one that we (obviously) are most interested in - death. See the two below and click on the links for more. What are your thoughts?

Friday 23 May 2014

Dr Ken Murray "doctors die, they don't die like the rest of us"

An article by Dr. Ken Murray, an American general practitioner:

"It's not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don't die like the rest of us.

What's unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.

 Of course, doctors don't want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They've talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen - that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR [cardio pulmonary resuscitation] (that's what happens if CPR is done right).

Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call "futile care" being performed on people. That's when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life. The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs.

Some medical personnel wear medallions stamped "NO CODE" to tell physicians not to perform CPR on them. I have even seen it as a tattoo. To administer medical care that makes people suffer is anguishing. Physicians are trained to gather information without revealing any of their own feelings, but in private, among fellow doctors, they'll vent. "How can anyone do that to their family members?" they'll ask. I suspect it's one reason physicians have higher rates of ... depression than professionals in most other fields."

Monday 19 May 2014

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

20th Anniversary

Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier Kennedy Onassis July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994 

She was wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis until his death in 1975. 

On that fateful day - November 22 1963 the First Lady heard what she thought to be a motorcycle backfiring but it was gunshots. The final shot struck the President in the head.

At Dallas' Parkland Hospital, she went to be by her husband's side and when a nurse stopped her and attempted to bar the door to prevent her from entering, she persisted saying "I want to be there when he dies".

Later, when his body was in a casket, she removed her wedding ring and put it onto the President's finger saying "Now I have nothing left."

 After the president's death, she regretted having washed the blood off her face and hands and continued to wear the now infamous blood-stained pink chanel suit as she went on board Air Force One and President Johnson took the oath of office saying "I want them to see what they have done to Jack."

Jackie took an active role in planning the details of her husband's state funeral, which was based on Abraham Lincoln's. The service was held at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington D.C. and the burial at Arlington National Cemetery where the widow lit the eternal flame (that just recently came to Ireland) at the gravesite - a flame that had been created at her request.

On October 20, 1968, mere months after Robert F Kennedy's assassination, she married Aristotle Socrates Onassis who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.

Jackie Kennedy-Onassis' funeral was held on May 23, 1994 where her son John described three of her greatest attributes as the love of words, the bonds of home and family, and the spirit of adventure. She was buried alongside first husband and President Kennedy, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella at Arlington National Cemetery Virginia.

Her Children:

  • Arabella Kennedy - August 23 1956 - Stillborn 
  • Caroline Bouvier Kennedy - November 27, 1957 - Caroline is the last surviving child of JFK and Jackie and she has two daughters and a son. 
  • John Fitzgerald "John-John" Kennedy, Jr. - November 25, 1960 - July 16, 1999 - Married to Carolyn Jeanne Bessette. They died in a plane crash, along with Carolyn's sister in a plane piloted by Kennedy. 
  • Patrick Bouvier Kennedy - August 7, 1963 - August 9, 1963 - Died from infant respiratory distress syndrome. Born over 5 weeks premature his lungs hadn't fully developed.

Sunday 13 April 2014

ICCFA 2014

The ICCFA All Star Annual Convention and Exposition April 8-11 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Held in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

There was a great representation from the Irish contingent - Farewell Celtic Ashes, Mourning Cross, and Eco Legacy.

We had a great time in Vegas mingling with all the 'Stars' of the funeral industry.

Memorial Payment Solutions offer funeral directors new options in terms of payment for at need clients.  The offer a home's customers quick and easy payment options including a single stop for credit card processing, check (cheque) verification, insurance assignments and short term loans. As the industry moves away from the traditional sources of revenue, the cost of money has become more and more of an issue. Although these guys are not YET available to funeral homes in Ireland the guys are currently working on European links.

The Harbeson Group or the Funeral Commander as he likes to be referred to is a fun southern guy with a big imagination for the industry and an even bigger personality. He has linked up with our very own Kate Hamilton of Mourning Cross Bereavement Pins and DNA Memorial which is a Canadian business. They specialize in storing a person’s DNA indefinitely offering regulated DNA storage and also the ability for genetic research and information.

Tribute Art by Wyland is a new line of bronze sculptures by renowned marine life artist Robert Wyland. They are remembrance sculptures that house the ashes of a loved one inside a beautiful art sculpture and will certainly appeal to over 500,000 collectors of Wyland's artwork.

Other 'stars' to note included Billion Graves who are trying to help future generations to locate there family. It sounded like the google of the grave world and they had the cutest little dog called Solomen at their booth so they got my vote!

Farewell Pet Funeral Kit robbed our name - how dare they?! ;-) but I liked their idea - it is a casket or urn kit for burying pets with love and involving the family creatively. It seemed especially designed for children with the very simplistic literature, inclusion of workbooks, pots of paint and brushes. It reminded me of baby school but I think this is great idea for getting children to deal with their grief in the early years which will help when they have to come to terms with human loss as they grow up.

And lastly there was a development from Meadow Hill Corp who brought us thumbies, now brings a TFScanner which allows funeral directors to easily fingerprint all of the deceased (or living) in a matter of seconds without ink. This can be used for thumbie memorials or identifying the body.

All in all the conference was a success all round with lots other tidbits in between like Archie Griffin opening the show and Stedman Graham doing a motivating key note speech but for me one of the biggest highlights was the supply of food and drink throughout the exhibiting hours which made for a  more happy exhibiting force and a more plentiful audience seeing as they didn't have to sneak out for lunch every day.

Friday 14 March 2014

The Disney Files - Howard Ashman

Howard Elliott Ashman (May 17, 1950 – March 14, 1991)

Referred to as "Another Walt (Disney)" by Walt's brother Roy, Howard Ashman is more regularly dubbed one of Disney's Heroes of the 20th Century.

A phenomenal American playwright and lyricist Ashman first studied at Boston University and Indiana University.

His work partner in crime at Disney, Alan Menken composed the music while Howard wrote the lyrics.

Most notable award winning films/songs:
  • The Little Mermaid - 'Part of Your World', 'Kiss the Girl', 'Poor Unfortunate Souls', and 'Under the Sea'
  • Beauty and the Beast - 'Be Our Guest', 'Gaston', and 'Beauty and the Beast' and also a deleted song 'Human Again' 
  • Aladdin - 'Arabian Nights', 'Prince Ali', 'Friend Like Me', and also a deleted song 'Proud of Your Boy'
Plagued by tragedy for a number of years and trying to find his way in a world that didn't altogether open its arms to gay men, Ashman died of AIDS/HIV in 1991 aged 40. Between 1969 and 1983 Howard lost two boyfriends to the disease. Attempting to deal with his grief, he wanted to leave New York and it was then that Disney fortuitously called him up and he began visiting LA for a number of weeks and started putting his new 'Disney money' into building his dream home with new partner Bill. In March 1987 he found 'white patches' on his mouth, went to the hospital and was diagnosed with HIV. He refused to publicise the disease to his colleagues and pushed on with his hectic work schedule of both 'Aladdin' and 'Beauty and the Beast' but after 'The Little Mermaid's success and release, his health deteriorated. From his deathbed, he wrote the lyrics for the songs from Beauty and the Beast.

Coaching Jodi Benson for Part of Your World

On March 10, 1991, after the Disney animators had their first screening for Beauty and the Beast (which was an huge success) they visited Howard in the hospital where, his mother showed them that he was wearing a Beauty and the Beast sweatshirt in support. He died 4 days later. The film Beauty and the Beast is dedicated to him: "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991."

Another random fact: he is the lyricist of "Codinome Beija-Flor" and "O Tempo Não Para", two of the biggest hits of the Brazilian rock singer Cazuza, who also died of AIDS, 9 months before Howard in 1990.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

The Death of St. Patrick

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland.

BUT 'Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland ?' St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to pagans.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. Another account says that St. Patrick died at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey.
The alleged burial place of St. Patrick at Down Cathedral Co. Down. Photo by Shiela O'Connor

The Annals of Ulster say:
"Patrick, arch-apostle, or archbishop and apostle of the Irish, rested on the 16th of the Kalends of April in the 120th year of his age, in the 60th year after he had come to Ireland to baptize the Irish."

After his death there was the legendary "Battle for the Body of St. Patrick" between the Ui Neill Kings of Tara, the Oirghialla and the Ulta (Ulaid) of Ulster.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

"Cremation jewellery is a novel way of remembering your pet"

Product review from Pete the Vet : looking after your pet’s remains after their death in a novel way – “cremation jewellery”
We all dread that day when we finally need to say goodbye to our pets. It’s always a difficult time, and on top of the emotional distress, there’s that difficult decision to make: what to do with your pet’s remains? It’s a difficult subject, and it probably makes sense to consider it in advance, so that when that moment comes, you have already given serious consideration to the various options. Your decision on the day will then be clearer and easier.

Generally, there are three main choices:

Burial at home - this suits some people, perhaps with smaller pets and with bigger gardens, but for many of us, it’s just not practical

Cremation – with ashes being returned. This option is the most popular for many people with a deep attachment to their pet.

Cremation – with ashes not being returned. Many people feel that they would not know what to do with their pet’s ashes, and they don’t feel the need to have them returned to them. And of course, there’s an extra cost to have pets’ ashes returned, and people may not be in a position to afford to do it.

At the time of your pet’s death, your vet will usually discuss each of these three options with you, and they will help you make the necessary arrangements in place.

If you do decide to ask for your pet’s ashes to be returned to you, what will you do with them? Some people scatter the ashes in a favourite place, while others keep the ashes at home, perhaps with a sample of their pet’s fur and some of their possessions, such as a collar or a toy.

Today’s product review is about a novel alternative for what to do with your pet’s ashes: you can have some of them incorporated into jewellery.  Have you ever heard the Rainbow Bridge story? Well if you haven’t and have suffered pet loss then you should visit you’ll be able to read all about the Rainbow Bridge, as well as learning about Jennifer’s novel way of remembering your pet.

Dubliner Jennifer Muldowney created Rainbow Bridge Memorials when her pet dog of 16 years, Roxy died in 2009. A friend shared the story of Rainbow Bridge with Jennifer and it helped her to heal and continues to inspire her collection of pet memorials.

Jennifer’s collection includes a number of colourful jewellery pieces, from pendants to charms made from the cremated ashes of pets fused with glass. The fusion of ash with the glass creates a cloud like effect, ensuring that each piece is unique and individual to you and your pet. You can add different colours or charms to make it even more personal: just ask Jennifer and she’ll explain how this can be done.

When you make a purchase on the website – you are sent a Rainbow Pack so that you can send Jennifer and her team a small amount of your pet’s ashes. All postage is included in the price of €160 (or €240 for 9ct gold) and each order is handmade separately.

Cremation Jewellery isn't for everyone, but if you are looking for a different way to remember your pet, it’s certainly worth considering.

So what are we at?!

So what do we do here at Farewell? Well while we started off in the funeral planning business- it didnt quite work out - Irish people were not really open to the idea of planning their own funeral but it brought me on a journey to where I am today which is still evolving every week!

Currently I write books, articles and reviews of funeral planning, products, the industry, new businesses etc. I also speak on the radio or in documentaries about the same. While I am writing book number 2 at the moment my new range of memorial keepsake jewellery is flying out!

It started waaay back when I was in the States and my granny passed away. I didn't make it home for the funeral but she had given me (as most Irish grandmothers did!) a miraculous medal to keep me 'wholesome and pure' and while that might not have worked I did wear it to feel close to her after she passed. Soon however I was getting the typically snide remarks of "the virgin Mary" and "ooo aren't you a holy Joe" and it became uncomfortable because I would have to tell them that either yes I was or that they were an a** because my granny had died (usually the latter).

Then two years later we had to put our dog of 16 years down because she was suffering with strokes. This devastated us. We got her cremated and have her ashes in a box on our mantelpiece, an act most families of cremated loved one's do. But with these two experiences, I got thinking about how I could keep a piece of a loved one with me, wherever I went in the world (I intended to travel alot).

Farewell Celtic Ashes and Rainbow Bridge Memorials were born, looking after the Humans and Pets respectively. It only takes a teaspoon of some ashes to create a beautiful piece of memorial jewellery that you can keep with/on you forever.

So that is what I am currently up to at Farewell HQ! ;-)

Thursday 30 January 2014

Paddy died......An Irish Joke

Paddy died. His will provided £40,000 for an elaborate funeral.  

As the last guests departed the affair, his wife Colleen turned to her oldest and dearest friend.
"Ah well, Paddy would be pleased," she  said.

"You're right," replied Mary, who lowered her voice and leaned in  close.

"So go on, how much did this really cost?'"
"All of it," said Colleen.  "Forty thousand."

"Aw No!" Mary exclaimed, "I mean, it was very grand, but £40,000?!!!"
Colleen answered, "The funeral was £6,500. I donated £500 to church.  The whisky, wine and snacks were another £500.
The rest went for the Memorial Stone."

Mary  computed  quickly.

"For the love of Mike Colleen, £32,500 for a Memorial Stone?
How big is it?"

Monday 13 January 2014

The Fairies by William Allingham

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;

Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.

With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;

Or going up with music,
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.

They took her lightly back
Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.

They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.

Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather.