Island site to offer first crematorium outside capital

THE first crematorium outside Dublin opened its doors quietly yesterday on an uninhabited island in Cork Harbour.

The €2.5 million Island Crematorium built on Rocky Island near Haulbowline is expected to carry out its first cremations within days.

The new facility will eliminate the need for grieving families to travel to Dublin to fulfil the wishes of their deceased loved ones.

“There has been a dramatic increase in numbers favouring cremation, at present around 20%, in Ireland,” said Island Crematorium manager Frank Murphy.

He started his career with Val O’Connor, funeral director, of North Gate Bridge.

He has also worked in the funeral/crematorium profession with Dignity Caring Funeral Service in Britain for the last 17 years.

“Up to now, funeral directors here only had three crematoria in Dublin to service this demand with the added inconvenience of long travel times and additional cost,” he said.

“The crematorium will be managed by a team who have some 30 years’ experience, and who will ensure a top level of service that is marked by the utmost dignity, professionalism and attention to detail.”

The new crematorium is just one part of a 1,600 square foot complex on Rocky Island, a magazine store built in 1808-18 to store gunpowder for the naval base at Haulbowline.

It consisted of two identical buildings of which only the western one remains.

That building has been restored and is now incorporated into the crematorium.

The island was unoccupied from the 1920s until purchased by Irish Steel in 1964 and has lain unused since Irish Steel went into liquidation in 2001.

The entrance into the new complex is through a cave which was excavated into the bedrock during its magazine storage days.

The building also contains a reception room, a family room, a spiritual space, rest rooms, toilets, a courtyard with harbour views, contemplative gardens, a book of remembrance room and parking.

The design team was led by Pat Creedon of Magee Creedon Ltd who were charged with refurbishing the building.

The crematorium has been designed to the highest engineering and technical standards and will carry out five cremations per day.

A full environmental study had been undertaken and the project backers said that emissions will not harm the environment.

A key figure involved in the project is Louis Ronan, the multi-millionaire behind BSE testing firm Enfer.

He previously applied for planning permission for a crematorium near his family’s home at Mocklerstown near Clonmel.

But that project, which faced fierce opposition from locals, including racing tycoon John Magnier, was turned down by South Tipperary County Council last year.

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