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Exploring Irish Funeral Traditions

Published: December 12, 2022

Ireland is a small country with a rich history and culture. Many of the traditions that have been passed down over the centuries are still practiced today, especially when it comes to funerals.

If you are planning a loved one's funeral, it is important to understand the traditions and beliefs that go into organizing this delicate event.

Let's explore some of the interesting Irish funeral traditions that are still commonly observed today.


One of the most traditional Irish funeral customs is known as 'the wake'.

This tradition involves family and friends gathering together in the home of the deceased for one or two nights before the funeral to share stories, memories, and pay their respects. In some cases, food and drinks may be served during this time as well.

It’s believed that this ritual helps to celebrate the life of the deceased and helps mourners come to terms with their loss.

In traditional funerals today, it's not uncommon to see family members and friends still following this age-old tradition.

The Coffin Procession

Another interesting Irish custom is known as ‘the coffin procession’ or ‘the coffin ride’.

This involves carrying the casket from the deceased's home to either a church or cemetery in a horse-drawn carriage or hearse.

During this procession, mourners will often walk behind it while paying their respects, singing hymns, and reciting prayers for their departed loved one.

This ritual is meant to symbolize a final goodbye from family and friends before they lay their loved one to rest.

In traditional funerals today, you can still see friends and family members following this tradition to pay their final respects and say goodbye to the deceased.

The Wake Meal

After a funeral service, many Irish families gather together for what is known as ‘the wake meal’.

This meal usually consists of traditional dishes such as roast beef, potatoes, eggs, tea/coffee, etc., all served at the home of either close relatives or someone who was close to the deceased.

The purpose of this gathering is for family and friends to come together in remembrance and honor their loved one who has passed away.

In traditional funerals today, you can often see family members and friends gathering together for this final meal in remembrance of their loved ones.

These are just a few examples of interesting Irish traditions that are still being practiced today when it comes to funerals. These customs demonstrate how much respect and love can exist between people even in times of sorrow which makes them so special and meaningful.

From wakes to coffin processions to wake meals—it's clear that these Irish traditions are being practiced globally and are still a unique way of paying tribute to dearly departed loved ones which is something truly beautiful indeed!

Roupp Funeral Home can assist you with planning the perfect funeral that honors your loved one's heritage and beliefs. Contact us today to learn more!

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