The considerable price variation extends from €1,820 per plot in the Chetwynd cemetery near the Bandon Road Viaduct, on the outskirts of Cork city, to €480 in Glengarriff and the Beara peninsula village of Allihies.
In many spheres of life, paying in advance may result in a discount, but that’s not the case with graveyards.
Cork County Council, unfortunately, is divided into three divisions and each acts autonomously on setting the prices for burial plots.
The Southern Division, covering a large swathe of the county from Youghal to Bandon and Kinsale to Dunbollogue near Carrignavar, is the only division which offers the opportunity to pay in advance.
The €1,820 payments at Curraghkippane and Chetwynd are for those who purchase in advance but if purchased, for an immediate interment, the price is a knockdown €1,385.
A council spokesman said those purchasing in advance were anticipating avoiding likely inflationary rises in the future.
In the north Cork division, which runs from Watergrasshill in the south, north to Araglin and east/west from Conna to Rockchapel, a fixed price of €1,000 per plot exists in the vast majority of graveyards.
However, the division’s chairman Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) said there were four graveyards where plots cost €800. He said this was because, unlike the others, they did not have bases provided for headstones.
“To be honest I think €1,000 for a plot is very expensive. I would like to see a freeze put on any price rises for at least the next 10 years,” he said.
West Cork, it appears, offers the best value for money. Again, the division has a set rate of €750 for a majority of its graveyards.
However, Cllr Danny Crowley (FF) said Allihies and Glengarriff plots were cheaper as the council incurred no purchase cost and was only recouping the funding involved in developing the sites.
A council spokesman, meanwhile, said the cost of plots throughout the county was almost always based on the cost of purchase and development.
He said the most expensive plots were on the periphery of the city due to expensive land costs. Among the development costs, the spokesman said, was car parking facilities.
Cllr Crowley noted new graveyards were adequately maintained while older ones were not.
He said community groups should be given money and the opportunity to maintain rural cemeteries.
There was uproar in West Cork in recent years when the council announced it was looking at centralising the development of new cemeteries as it was costing too much to maintain them in every parish.