Irish website promises you'll never miss a funeral again
All the deaths you want, plus interactive mapping
Irish netizens and their country's diaspora need never miss an important demise in their homeland again, after the launch of DeathIreland.com.
The site promises to keep subscribers "up to date with all the deaths in your town, city or county - and much more". The much more appears to be interactive mapping to every church and cemetery in Ireland.
Subscribers have the option of tracking ten names a year for a mere €10. Or they can spend the same amount on tracking permanent retirements in an entire organisation, or three towns or districts.
Tracking terminations in a whole county will cost €10 unless it's Dublin, in which case it'll cost you €40 - a reflection, presumably of the unhealthy lives lead by natives of the capital. It isn't immediately clear whether you're allowed to add a new name once one of your trackees does pop their clogs.
The idea for the site was born in November 2010 when co-founder David Laird discovered that the mother of his childhood best friend had died a month earlier.
"Despite knowing that she was elderly and had been very unwell," the blurb blurbs, "he missed the announcement of her death and was disappointed to have missed the opportunity to pay his respects at the funeral."
It added that, extensive research showed "Irish people have an avid interest in keeping abreast of deaths in both their home communities and in communities where they have lived in the past".
The research also discovered that "while this very real interest exists many people do not have ready access to death notices. In addition to this most Irish people tend to lead busy lives and do not have the time to seek out and read all the death notices every day".
This may sound unbelievably morbid, particularly in the UK where death is generally treated as more of as an embarrassing inconvenience - somewhere between filing a tax return and attending a parent-teacher meeting.
But it's worth remembering that for many in Ireland funerals are at least as big a deal as weddings. After all, you get to see all the extended family and you don't even need to bring a present. Or even be invited. And loud music is generally kept to a minimum.
Recently departed Irish are traditionally buried within three or four days of shuffling off their mortal coil, meaning time is of the essence for friends and family in making it to the big day.
In fact, funeral announcements have long been a mainstay of local radio breakfast programming in Ireland, fulfilling the sort of role that racing tips and Thought for the Day play on Radio 4.
Extensive FAQs reveal the site appreciates the fact many Irish towns have multiple names, takes account of typical abbreviations of first names, and promises that while the site operates "in the English language" it will track names in Irish death notices.
It also promises that personal details are not passed on to marketing organisations, meaning your late departed will not continue to be bombarded with spam in the afterlife. ®
I suspect every politician in the country will be signing up for this (and expensing it too!). Election posters, manifestos, and black-tie dinners are all well and good, but you can't beat being seen at a funeral as a sure-fire vote-getter.
Mine is the long black frock coat that helps lend the right air of sombre gravitas to the tea & sympathy process. You don't mind if I help myself to this last bun, do you?
Having a large attendance at the funeral is considered a sign that the person was liked and respected and certainly is a consolation to the grieving family. A well attended funeral is considered a 'good funeral'.
I guess it is a cultural thing, I think that having a funeral less than about 2 weeks after the death shows indecent haste and a desire to get rid of the dead person as soon as possible.