THE wife of Aussie Rules football legend Jim Stynes has told how they scattered his ashes in a beautiful ceremony in the mountains near his Dublin home.
Mr Stynes (45), who started out with the Dublin Minors in the 1980s, died after a public two-and-a-half year battle with cancer in Melbourne earlier this year.
His wife, Sam, and the couple’s two children, Matisse and Tiernan, along with Mr Styne’s family brought his ashes to the Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains at the weekend.
"They were scattered at Sally's Gap, every year when Jim would come home, he would run about 10km from where he lived in Rathfarnham up through there and then his mom Tess would pick him up,” Mrs Stynes said.
"It probably sounds a bit crazy but when we got in the car to come to the airport and the ashes were taken into the car and the luggage. It almost felt him happily leave, it is like I felt him leave and to bring him back it just all felt right. It was really quite beautiful. I think he'd be quite thrilled. Set free over his home,” she said in an interview on RTE’s John Murray Show.
Mrs Stynes said the ceremony had felt “so right” but had a humour to it that her late husband would have loved. “We walked down the side of the hill in all the long grass the bog, I said to Jim's dad and his brother we'd need a screwdriver to open the ashes,” she explained.
“Along came a Swiss army knife, and then Pops (Jim’s Dad) within 30 seconds had cut his finger so there was blood everywhere and then Brian Jnr said I'll do it and took the knife and almost cut the top of his finger off.
“So by that stage there is blood all over the container. Eventually we get the lid off and the kids start scattering the ashes and a big gust of wind came and then the ashes blew back on everyone.”
She added: “The sun was out, it was very beautiful.”
Mrs Stynes said she had thanked everyone there “for helping shape the man that he was”.
They then marked the occasion at Ballyboden Football Club surrounded by the footballer’s close family and friends.
Mrs Stynes said it made her realise the youth foundation, Reach, her husband had set up in Australia was really an extension of the “human connection and support and enthusiasm” he had received in Ireland growing up.
Mr Stynes started out with an All-Ireland minor title with Dublin in 1984. After emigrating at the age of 18, he went on to play 264 games for Melbourne in a most impressive career in Australian Rules Football.