Dublin man’s ashes fired into sky on Halloween night

Anthony ‘Barney’ Brack’s remains were scattered over football pitch using firecracker

Barney Brack put on a fireworks display for his local community every year, up until his death. In homage to the firework fan, his neighbours sent his ashes up into the sky on 31st October, attached to a firework. Video: Rob Maxwell

 

The ashes of a Drumcondra man were sent into the heavens on a firecracker at a Halloween night “hooley” held a stone’s throw from the Archbishop of Dublin’s palace.

Anthony “Barney” Brack, from Richmond Road in north Dublin, was 54 when he died suddenly on November 2nd last year.

With Halloween being his favourite time of year, his wife Noeleen and his two sons, Niall and Aidan, decided to mark his first anniversary in a most unusual fashion.

They arranged to have some of his ashes scattered over a football pitch near his home through the medium of a fire cracker.

The plan for the unusual send-off was put in place several weeks ago and came less than a week after the Vatican issued Catholic Church guidelines banning the scattering of the ashes of the dead.

“He was an amazing man, he really was,” said his neighbour and friend Marty Whelan.

“He started the Halloween fireworks display here 23 years ago. He used to go up to Northern Ireland to get everything he needed weeks before the big day. But he would always do it properly; everything was always well organised.”

Local community

Mr Brack first shot to local prominence when Drumcondra was devastated by flooding in the winter of 2002.

“Barney did everything he could possibly do to help local people back then,” Mr Whelan said.

“Many of them were very elderly and he just did everything he could. He was a really good guy and always looking out for people.”

He died suddenly just two days after organising last year’s Halloween celebrations.

The local community felt they could not let this year pass without honouring him.

A couple of hundred people gathered for the ceremony, which culminated in a vial of his ashes being attached to a firework by his wife and son to be scattered.

“We had everything in place weeks before the pope issued the guidelines on cremation,” Mr Whelan said.

The ceremony honouring Mr Brack went ahead all the same.

“We had a great hooley,” Mr Whelan said. “There was a real devil in him, a roguish sense of craic. A few of the wags there last night said we were deliberately aiming his ashes at the Archbishop’s palace.

“Everyone in the area was talking today about how much Barney would have loved it all. We reckon he is somewhere up there laughing at the craic we were having in his honour.”