Roadside Memorials

October 4, 2011

A roadside memorial is a marker that usually commemorates a site where a person died suddenly and unexpectedly, away from home. They have been placed for centuries, worldwide.

In the United States for example, they originated with the early Hispanic settlers of the Southwestern United States, and are common in areas with large Hispanic populations. Formerly, in funerary processions where a group would proceed from a church to a graveyard carrying a coffin, the bearers would take a rest, or descanso in Spanish, and wherever they set the coffin down, a cross would be placed there in memory of the event.

InIreland they have been placed mainly at the sites of traffic fatalities, but also in the border counties where people have met violent death as a result of the political conflict.

More than 400 memorials across the country have been recorded and photographed by a website, Irish Roadside Memorials.

Apart from their personal significance, these memorials serve as a warning to other road users, and an encouragement to safer driving.


Shakespeare on Remembrance

September 4, 2011

Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart
and bids it break.
~ William Shakespeare, in Macbeth, Act IV, Scene III

When he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heav’n so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Cumberland man, Alex Lynch creates memorial crosses from cremated ashes.

July 8, 2010

 When Alex Lynch tells people about his new business, he says he often gets the same reaction. “Ew!” Then, he says, after thinking about it, people will say, “What a great idea.” Lynch takes cremains – or cremation ashes – and uses them to make memorial crosses. “I feel I’m doing good for people,” said Lynch of how he got over the initial awkwardness of handling people’s ashes. “If you could see the reaction of people who had scattered ashes and buried ashes and said if they knew they could have done this, ‘I would have.'” The idea to make the first memorial cross struck Lynch two years ago when his father died and his mother did not know what to do with his ashes, so she left them in the “ugly” plastic box provided by the crematorium, he said. Lynch asked his mother for months what she planned to do with the ashes. His mother would always respond that she did not know, but she “didn’t want to get rid of him.” Lynch said that was how his mother saw burying or scattering her husband’s aches. “Finally, I said, ‘Give those to me. Trust me to find something to do with it,'” said Lynch. It took him five months of failed attempts, but Lynch finally figured out a process for making a cross using a mold, a cup of cremains and an unidentified material that hardens as it dries. Lynch said it was the ashes themselves that made the process so difficult because ashes weakened the material he was using and the crosses would shatter. His frustration from repeated failures was exacerbated by the fact that he was losing some of his father’s ashes with every shattered cross, he said. Finally, he discovered that the secret was in the drying time, and the finished product, which he dubbed the Eternal Cross, is a weather treated material that looks similar to ceramic or a pale terracotta. “It was really touching when I showed it to my mom,” said Lynch. They both burst into tears when he presented it to her. His mother was so moved because she finally had what she wanted, to keep her husband close by. Lynch, who made another cross for himself, said he liked that the Eternal Cross was not “creepy” like an urn, which are often made in China, and that it is a piece of art, handmade locally. No one has to know what purpose the cross serves unless you want them to know, he said. “It has allowed him to be remembered forever,” said Lynch, noting that his father’s crosses can now be passed from generation to generation. It was a matter of coincidence that Lynch got the idea to turn the Eternal Cross into a business. While he was making a cross for his sister, his son’s soccer coach, Joe Vela, came by and asked what he was doing. After Lynch explained, Vela told Lynch that he had just scattered his father’s ashes. “I thought it was a unique idea for memorializing a person,” said Vela, who told Lynch he was interested in having one made to memorialize a loved one in the future and asked if Lynch would be willing to make one for him. Lynch said that was when it clicked that people really liked the idea of the Eternal Cross. “It was perfect timing,” said Lynch, who had been laid off in February 2009. “If I’m going to do anything, it’s right now.” Lynch got to work and now has 25 funeral homes displaying the Eternal Cross and he has his own Web site, “Everyone who has seen it will carry it,” said Lynch. He sells the crosses for $200. On the back of every cross, Lynch carves the name of the person being memorialized, their birth date, death date and the cremation serial number. He also creates a certificate of authenticity with information on when the Eternal Cross was made, who it is memorializing, and for whom the cross was made. For those who want there to be no question that the Eternal Cross is a memorial, Lynch can also modify a display case for $100 that comes with an optional plaque to identify who is being memorialized. Lynch said in addition to the cross, he has different molds to memorialize veterans, one for each branch of the military, and has hired a local artist to create original molds. “The plan is to offer virtually anything,” said Lynch. He also offers memorials for pets. Lynch said he believes it’s important to provide people with more options for dealing with the ashes of loved ones because more and more people are choosing cremation due to the high cost of caskets and burial services. He said the Eternal Cross is also a good option for families who live far apart. If his father’s ashes had been buried, his sister would have to fly from California to visit his grave. With the Eternal Cross, siblings can live on opposite sides of the country and both see their father’s memorial every day. “Do you know how much I think about my father now?” said Lynch. “Every day, every time I see the cross. It’s like I’ve kept him around somehow.” Lynch emphasized that the Eternal Cross doesn’t have to be an alternative to burying or scattering ashes. Because the Eternal Cross only requires a small portion of a persons cremains, a family can still bury or scatter their loved one’s ashes after having an Eteranal Cross made. “Once you bury their ashes, they’re gone. If you have this,” said Lynch, touching his father’s cross, “you have a piece of them forever.” For more information about the Eternal Cross or other memorials, call Lynch at 578-8645. (add UK prefixes)

January blues.

February 19, 2010

January is a month often associated with lonliness and depression which can be attributed to coming down from a high of Christmas festivities.

The glitz and tinsel of Christmas has been removed, friends and family have gone back to their normal routine and homes, credit card bills start arriving through the post, the general good cheer of Christmmas has well and trully disappeared.

January is for most a time of new beginnings, new year resolutions and the setting of new goals. In a sense, January represents the tenacity of the human spirit; the ability to turn from despair to positive thinking. The “I really over did it at Chistmass” syndrome is now replaced with the positive aspiration to “loose weight”, “go off alcohol”, “take up a new hobby”. For all of us January is a positive month of decision making, setting new targets and looking forward.

The significance of a candle at Christmas.

December 21, 2009

Many countries and companies are credited with contributing their cultural tradititions to the international celebration of Christmas, Sweeden brought us the Christmas tree, Coca-Cola brought us Santa’s colours “red & white”and Ireland is attributed with bringing it’s tradition of a candle light in the window on Christmas Eve to guide people on their way to Church to celebrate midnight mass.

Ireland’s President, Mary Robbinson, on taking up office fullfilled a promise to the Irish Diaspora by having a candle light in the front window of her offical residence to symbolise the cherished memory of the Irish who had to leave Ireland to live abroad.

We at have included this Irish tradition on our online memorial site where visitors can light a virtual candle of rememberance on a person’s memorial page.

“Candle light burning bright
Remind us of the spiritual light
That shines so brilliantly from within
Through thoughts and acts of pure lovin’.”

The importance of November

November 8, 2009

November is universally an important month for celebrating the memory of our departed loved ones.

The Mexican and South American cultures place great emphasis on celebrating the day of the dead “El Diá de los Muertos”by bringing food and candy skulls to their graves.  In many towns great processions are organised, where photos and memorabilia of the dead are brought through the streets amid noise of drums and chants.  Nowhere has this tradition been more adapted than in San Francisco where its cosmopolitan culture has embraced the tradition with great fervour in the Mission District.

The Catholic tradition also places much emphasis on November as a special month of remembrance with its belief that the Church is made up of 3 essential components, the church of the living, the church of the saints and the church of the dead.  They set aside November the 1st as all saints day and November the 2nd as all souls day.  They believe prayer is the most important bonding between these three component parts of the church.

In this month of November, remember your dead with a thought or prayer.

The true meaning of Halloween in the Celtic Calendar.

November 1, 2009

As we move into the first day of November 2009 It is important for us to wish you all a very happy Celtic New Year.

Halloween traces it origins to the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain, meaning literally, the end of summer, the “lighter half” of the year, and the beginning of the “darker half”. Oiche Shamhna was considered a very holy time, when the boundaries between our world and the other world were broken, and the dead could return to the places where they had lived. Many rituals of Oiche Shamhna involved providing hospitality for dead ancestors. The Celts put out food and drink for the dead with great ceremony, and left their windows, doors, and gates unlocked to give the dead free passage into their homes. Bobbing for apples, another traditional Samhain pastime, was a reference to the Celtic Emhain Abhlach, “Paradise of Apples,” where the dead, having eaten of the sacred fruit, enjoyed a happy immortality.

Spirits entered our world on the eve of November, but not all of them were friendly. The images of spirit-guardians were carved onto turnips which were then set at the front of doors to keep out unwelcome spirits. The Gaelic custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to confuse the evil spirits. With the advent of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints’ Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween.All Hallows Eve, or November 2nd, became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who had departed this world and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven. Throughout the centuries, Celtic pagan beliefs were integrated with Christian beliefs and celebrated from Oct 31st through to November 5th.

We hope you celebrated in style with family and friends the magic of dressing up as ghouls, ghosts and witches as you took out your young ones to trick and treat around your neighbour’s and friend’s doors.

It is therefore important for us always to remember our departed loved ones at this time of year as they continue their journey into eternity and we continue ours here on planet earth.


October 31, 2009

Welcome to the in loving memory blog; Ireland’s first online memorial website.  We endavour to provide a forum to discuss all things memorial and to provide you with an online community of support in your quest to keep the memory of your loved ones preserved and respected.

<a href=””></a&gt; is our official website which this blog is assigned to.  We also provide on our home page a bereavement support section where Alyson Banks, who is currently studying for her Msc in palliative care in TCD and St. Francis Hospice Dublin, gives her insights and advice on a range of issues that come up for people when they go through the bereavement process.