Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Man dies - two years after erecting his headstone

A man who incurred the wrath of a local authority when he erected his own headstone before his death will finally be buried today.





Poet, writer and philosopher PJ Barry (62) from Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, died last Friday, two years after he had his own headstone inscribed.



He will be buried at Ballycannon cemetery today.



The colourful character, who sold sheds for a living, had the headstone mounted at a burial plot in 2006.



However, he subsequently found out the plot was too small to accommodate his coffin, after three other people passed away and took the surrounding space.



Clare County Council wrote to the Mr Barry in 2006 to inform him his €2,000 headstone and plot would have to be relocated.



Speaking at the time, Mr Barry said: "You cannot put the coffin in diagonally or lengthways. My grave is as useful to me now as a knickers to a mermaid.



"By law, the grave has to be eight feet deep and my headstone could come in on top of me. It is over two tonne weight.



"I wouldn't like that falling down on me. That could kill a man," he joked.



"Basically, I have nowhere to go. I can't encroach on another grave and there is plenty of misfortunes here already without me adding to their miseries. I don't want to be upsetting these poor people."



A new plot was found and PJ, who died from lung cancer, will be buried today in Parteen church.



A family member revealed he was being laid out in a cowboy suit.



"We got him the US marshall's badge also. If we laid him out in an ordinary suit, he would have sat up in the coffin."



Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' will be sung and his favourite poem 'The Ballad Of Reading Jail' will also be recited, she said.



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