Documentary on One

A Solemn Undertaking

Somewhere in Ireland today, a grieving person is picking up the phone to call a Funeral Director, but have you ever wondered what it is like to be that person in the black suit?

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4.4/5 (55 ratings)

Documentary maker: Leeanne O'Donnell

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Documentary maker: Sarah Blake

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A Solemn Undertaking

"A Solemn Undertaking" takes us into the world behind the front door of the Irish Funeral Home.

Somewhere in Ireland today, a grieving person is picking up the phone to call a Funeral Director. And soon a person in a black suit will arrive to take away the body of their loved one.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be that person in the black suit?

In this documentary we get a special insight into the world of the Funeral Director, we meet Martin, Billy and Conor and hear from the men behind the impassive, dignified exteriors. They tell us about the difficulties and the satisfaction of working for people at the most challenging of times. We go behind the scenes and explore the world of these people who undertake to care for the remains of our loved ones.

While the rest of us pull away from death - and only deal with it when we have to - death is an everyday matter for Funeral Directors. So what is it like to inhabit this world of grief and death ? Amidst the overwhelming emotions what are the practical things that need to be done? What does it take to be the person who takes over and deals with the necessities that surround death and dying.

Is it the hardest job in the world?

Why would you chose to be Funeral Director and over a life time do you get used to death and dead bodies and crying relatives?

One thing is for sure, it's not a job that you chat about idly in the pub on a Saturday night. The dignity and discretion required mean that we know very little about what goes on behind the scenes.

We don't talk about death, we don't talk about Funeral Directors - even Funeral Directors don't talk about being Funeral Directors. It's a hushed world of quiet activity, a world we usually only enter when we absolutely have to.....

Produced by Leeanne O'Donnell

Production Supervision by Sarah Blake

Sound Supervision by Mark McGrath

First Broadcast on 29th March 2014

'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'

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