Tuesday 24 April 2018

Balloon company floats idea for 'fun' funerals

Tom Prendeville

A Dublin balloon and party hire company aims to make funerals 'fun' by giving loved ones an aeronautical send off towards the hereafter.

Instead of scattering the ashes of a loved one after a cremation, they are offering a final journey in a helium-filled balloon.

The bizarre 'last rites' idea from Barry's Balloons comes with a price tag of €100 to €150 per flight.

"Well my daughter came up with the idea, we were going to my uncle Kevin's funeral and Anne Marie said to me, 'what do they do with the ashes afterwards' and I explained that people do different things and that if the person who died liked playing golf they might sprinkle the ashes on a golf course. And she said to me -- you will probably want yours sent up in a balloon," explained Barry McMahon.

And then when a relation died the family agreed to a novel send off and the 'floating funeral' was launched.

"You would call it a floating funeral. People say that it is a lovely way to go, rising up to heavens and floating off in the sky rather than going down into a hole in the ground," said Mr McMahon.

Depending on the air pressure and wind, helium-filled balloons can travel for days on end: where it bursts depends on air temperature and wind direction.

But floating funerals are not everybody's idea of a peaceful final farewell.

"There is a clown for hire for funerals and as far as I know the guy got the idea from Germany. People, though, are generally fairly traditional," explains Dublin undertaker Niall Massey of Rom Massey's in Dolphin's Barn.

Sunday Independent

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