Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's first motor-tricycle hearse takes to road

During the boom years he built luxury houses, but now Robert Adams has moved into transport - with a twist.

When the bottom fell out of the building industry, the businessman from Crossgar, County Down, began casting around for a career change.

A committed biker, he saw a niche in the funeral market and invested tens of thousands of pounds to buy Ireland's first motor-tricycle hearse.

Using the Triumph, which has a top speed of 125mph (although not for funerals), Robert said he was providing an option for people who wanted something unusual on their final journey.

"On the UK mainland you can be buried from a bus, a tank or a lorry," he said.

"Here it's a choice between a traditional hearse and a horse-drawn one. This is something different."

He has only had the trike and hearse for 10 days, but already he's been around the funeral fairs drumming up business.

He was keen to point out that he is not an undertaker - he simply provides a service through them.

He accepts that his hearse will be of interest to the biking fraternity, but said it was not just for them.

"It's the last mile in style and what better way to do it. Anyone can hire a hearse," he said.

Robert said that costs varied, depending on how far away the funeral was, but he expected through the funeral directors it would cost around £700 to book it for a service in Belfast

It's certainly a talking point and has prompted more than one double take.

Whilst filming with him in Crossgar, we were stopped several times, including by a passing police patrol, who wanted to talk about it.

One local man, asked if would be prepared to give it a go when his time came, replied: "I think for once round the Dundrod circuit, it might be worth it."

Robert only took possession of the hearse this week and is available for booking through local undertakers.

He said that while the bike could do more than 100mph, he would not be driving it like that at funerals.

"Though the bike may be clocked for 125mph, the fastest I can do legally at a funeral is 50mph," he said.

When I point out that 50mph is still quite quick for a funeral he replied: "Well, there's a lot of quick people out there."