A LONDON-born undertaker has launched Ireland's first online funeral service -- allowing the bereaved to design, price and order their loved ones funerals online in the privacy of their own homes.
Josh Moonman claims his new Dublin-based online service, Legacy.ie, offers Ireland's cheapest basic funeral -- at a cost of €890.
The basic budget package is offered both through Legacy.ie's online service and the firm's regular undertaking service in North Frederick Street.
The average Irish funeral service costs in the order of €5,000 and the basic service offered by Legacy.ie undercuts the famous €990 funerals offered by Rom Masseys.
The €890 funeral is for a cremation, and includes a coffin, cremation urn, hearse, staff accompaniment, funeral home and basic service. Cremation costs of around €600 are not included (this is usual).
"We did a good amount of research and discovered that attitudes have been changing and that cost is emerging as a major factor when it comes to funerals," said Mr Moonman.
"People are not prepared to pay out as much as they might have in the past, when a basic but dignified funeral process will achieve what they want for their loved ones.
"We also discovered that Irish customers do not always want to take the traditional path of assembling together in a funeral home to determine what prices they will pay for coffins, services, urns and so on.
"The best alternative, we felt, was an active online option which allowed them to do all this from the privacy of their own homes, perhaps with other relations in communication from abroad on Skype and so on."
The new undertaking firm also aims to break another norm -- that of only servicing its immediate geographical area.
"I believe people are prepared to choose a funeral director not located near them if the service is right," said Mr Moonman.
Mr Moonman has worked for 20 years with some of Ireland's best-known funeral firms such as Staffords and Fanagans.
The Irish undertaking business is notoriously difficult to break into because families traditionally stick with the same firm over generations. The last new business to successfully break into the sector in Dublin did so six years ago.
But with the recession hitting pockets hard and costs increasing -- as local authorities across Ireland begin charging VAT on grave openings -- Mr Moonman believes this most sensitive of businesses is fast becoming as cost-aware as any other.
"Our network of trusted and professional service providers for elements such as cars, limousines, hearses and church music means we are able to outsource as required and keep our costs and overheads at a minimum," said Mr Moonman.
"These savings are then passed on to the customer, and the website's transparent pricing puts the customer firmly in control of the final cost, with no hidden charges."