Harley hearse to carry Irish biker dead to final resting place

Massey Bros funeral directors unveiling Harley-Davidson Electra Glide hearse

Die-hard bikers have been promised an easy ride to their final resting place after a family of Dublin undertakers bought the first Harley hearse to be rolled out in the Republic.

Massey Bros will officially unveil its shiny new Harley-Davidson Electra Glide hearse this weekend, but the purpose-built motorbike, which carries a coffin in its sidecar, has already been attracting a whole lot of attention on Dublin's streets.

“We have taken it out for a few test drives and it has stopped people dead in their tracks,” said a Massey spokeswoman - an effect that can surely only be good for business.

‘Unprecedented demand’

Peter Maguire of Massey Bros told The Irish Times the firm had bought the hearse in response to "unprecedented demand from the families of people whose passion was taking to the open road on the back of their motorbike".

Massey Bros have looked after many biker funerals “and have always tried to customise them as much as possible”, Mr Maguire said.

“Traditionally, a biker funeral would include a cavalcade of bikers following the hearse and, perhaps, flowers in the shape of their motorbike. We decided to go one step further.”

Black ribbons

The coffin on the motorbike hearse will be transported by an undertaker in full biker gear, whose helmet will feature black ribbons as a mark of respect for the recently deceased.

Although its new motorcycle hearse is likely to attract a fair deal of interest from both the living and the dead in the weeks and months ahead, it is not the first two-wheeler the firm has invested in.

Last year it began carrying caskets on a Japanese motorbike, but the company is now throwing its lot it with the Americans to curry favour with the more traditional biker set.

While the Harley hearse might be new to this island, it has already proven hugely popular elsewhere.

Bespoke burial

In the US, more than 50 separate undertaking firms offer a bespoke biker burial. The service has even starred in Emmerdale, featuring in the on-screen funeral of one of the soap's longest running characters, Alan Turner.

Massey Bros is also launching a pre-paid Harley funeral to allow bikers to look after the specifics of their last ride. “To cater specifically for the needs of bikers, we have introduced a new Harley-Davidson funeral plan,” Mr Maguire said.

“We can include anything and everything in the plan, from a simple Harley-Davidson funeral, to a lavish affair including a trip for family members and close friends to scatter their ashes at a significant location for those who would like their remains to be cremated.”

The undertakers will not be able to ensure Hell’s Angels are kept away on the big day. Higher powers will ultimately make that decision.