Pallbearers carry Michael O’Shea’s remains in the coffin he made 13 years ago in Ardglass, Co Down.
Photo by: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
A Northern Ireland family have buried their father in a homemade coffin he constructed himself for just over a hundred dollars. He also moved closer to the cemetery so his sons would not have to pay hearse expenses.
Michael O’Shea built the plywood coffin to spare his County Down family the expense of a lavish funeral.
He made the coffin in 2001 in a workshop near his home in the picturesque seaside village of Ardglass.
A former art and design teacher, O’Shea died at the age of 81 and was buried in his homemade coffin according to a report in the Irish Times.
A former politician with the Alliance Party, O’Shea moved to Ardglass in 2001, close to the cemetery. He posted online: “A few broad shoulders instead of a hearse! Such a saving!”
The paper says he hit the headlines in 2006 after an interview with BBC Radio Ulster when he explained why he opted to build his own coffin from plywood.
O’Shea said: “My sons have no money. I am not going to die and leave them with debts they cannot afford, so I have made my own coffin.
He explained he came up with the idea following a health scare in his 60s.
At the time of the interview, he added: “I was absolutely amazed at the interest shown in the simple process of making a coffin. It is a simple matter of economic and personal necessity.
“I designed it myself. I drew up the plans and went in and bought two sheets of plywood, 8ft by 4ft. I cut it, glued and screwed it together. The total cost was £75.
“The most difficult part was bending the plywood to make the sides of the coffin.”
Confessing his astonishment at the interest in the story, O’Shea said: “DIY bread-making or wine-making doesn’t make news. Why coffin-making? I leave you to answer this.”