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The Irish Division of

The British Institute of Embalmers


Chairman: Aidan Walsh MBIE,  MIAFD, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford 087-2847831


The History of The British Institute of EmbalmersThe British Institute of Embalmers is a professional organisation for qualified embalmers, formed in 1927.


The constitution of the Institute incorporates the following:

To promote, maintain and  endeavour  to improve standards of professional embalming practice
To support and protect the status, character and interests of persons practicing the art or science of embalming the deceased
To promote and support professional training and instruction for those persons seeking to study and practice embalming
To provide formal certification following successful completion of theoretical and practical examination
To promote and provide continued research and education within the field of embalming practice
To provide a complaints and disciplinary committee to deal with cases of professional misconduct


What do you have to study to become a member of the B.I.E.? 


Health & Safety

Embalming Chemistry

The Circulatory System

First Aid


The Skeletal System



The Muscular System



Blood Disorders


Why do we Embalm ?


Death is a certainty we all possess in life and the loss of a loved one is inevitable, unfortunately at times sooner rather than later and in general, one which is rarely discussed and frequently unprepared for.


The traditional Irish funeral involves a "wake" which usually occurs in the deceased's home or a close family member's home and more recently, family may decide to have the deceased's remains resting in the Chapel of Rest attached to the nominated funeral director.


The choice of waking a loved one is entirely individual and in all circumstances avails family and friends the opportunity to pay their respects and view the body of the deceased. 


The grief process which proceeds loss, cannot be bypassed or avoided and presents with no specific time frame and can be revisited at any time. On reflection of this process, which is entirely personal and individual to each circumstance, the value of viewing a loved one when they die, should in essence never be led to question or scrutiny, in maintaining dignity and respect for the deceased and assisting close family to accept that death has occurred, therefore, confirming the theory 'seeing is believing'  and to enter and embrace the grief process with positivity and clothe them with pleasant lasting memories of their loved one when they have reached their final journey in this life.


The professional skills of an Embalmer is paramount in endeavouring to meet the above goal for the families whom we are called to serve.


Modern embalming is the temporary hygienic treatment and preparation of a deceased remains using a formaldehyde based fluid to sanitise and preserve the body which ultimately enables an optimal natural presentation of the deceased for their family.


Embalming is carried out in approximately 90%+ cases. The public, as consumers, have the right to know and to ask what qualifications the embalmer or the funeral director holds. You may also request to view their membership card for the current year.


The majority of embalmers in Ireland have achieved an Embalming Diploma through 'The British Institute of Embalmers' (BIE)


B.I.E. tutors are held in high esteem and maintain a reputation as tutors of the finest embalmers in this country and worldwide.


Embalming students complete a series of theoretical and practical modules and examinations. On successful completion of these modules, the embalmer will be awarded a Diploma by 'The International Examinations Board of Embalmers'.


A directory of qualified embalmers in Ireland is available for your perusal on the B.I.E. website. Please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Irish Division of the BIE should you have any questions or queries.


Continual research, training and update of practical skills equips the embalmer to maintain and improve their professional knowledge, confidence and competence for everyday practice, however, additional training and practice may be undertaken in specialist fields such as facial reconstruction. Skills within this area are necessary when caring for a deceased loved one following an accident or other tragic circumstance.


Specialist embalmers are highly sought worldwide because of the unique and highly skilled techniques they possess, in offering families the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one in person, as opposed to a closed coffin.


We must never lose sight of the fact that things have changed, however, through deliverance of effective professional communication, support and skills, the situation can be made more acceptable and assist to reduce the pain of loss, the enormity of change and an easier transition through the grief process and a long term acceptance of the new life.


Please feel free to contact members of the Irish Division of the BIE at any time if you have any questions relating to the information provided.



Submitted by the Irish Division of The British Institute of Embalmers

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