In its most simplistic form a natural burial ground is a graveyard where the land has a second use, as a living, developing native Irish woodland and wildflower meadow. Gone are the marble headstones and concrete surrounds that are common place in other Irish burial grounds, replaced instead by a small simple grave marker and the planting of a native Irish tree.
Image: Burial area at Woodbrook NBG 2012
Visitors will be able to walk along the pathways surrounded by nature, spotting wildlife in their newly created habitats. These natural burial grounds will be sacred and natural places where people of all faiths and those without any religion will find a beautiful resting place.
In choosing a natural or green burial you will be creating, conserving and sustaining native Irish woodland. It is a gift that will keep on giving to future generations.
Image: Some Bluebells at Woodbrook NBG and Caretaker Niall Deacon taking a rest beside a sample gravemarker
Woodland Burial Poem By Pam Ayres
Don't lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall
Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,
Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold
Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.
There kindly and affectionately, plant a native tree
To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.
The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way
To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.
To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done
I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.