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Sweethearts of the city will be laid to rest here

TWO childhood sweethearts who grew up in Dublin will have their final wish granted this weekend -- when their ashes will be spread from O'Connell Bridge by their family.

Tom (89) and Ruth (90) Laird, originally from Abercorn Road in North Wall, Dublin grew up together and eventually fell in love before they left to work in London in their late teens.

The two lovebirds, who spent the rest of their lives in London, passed away within one year of each other -- Tom in January of last year, and Ruth last April.

This weekend, 17 of their close relatives will carry out their last wish, which is to spread their ashes together over the landmark bridge.

Ruth, the couple's daughter, said the weekend will be an emotional time for the family, but the occasion will bring a fitting ending to her parents' story.

"They loved [Dublin]. They said it was the happiest time of their life when they were there. My dad said that they loved standing on that bridge looking up and down the river. And they said it was such a friendly city."


She explained: "They started their life together and now they'll go on to the next life there as well.

"They never had anyone else but each other. It was only them two -- they grew up together, they were sweethearts.

"In a way, they were unique. You don't hear of people knowing each other for that amount of time and staying together. They had six of us and that's all they wanted."

Tom and his wife do not have any family left in Dublin, and they never got a chance to come back to their beloved city to settle down.

"They didn't get a chance to move there, because their children came along and things happen. They went back a few times and my Dad showed me where he lived and some of the sights."

Trevor Ironside, Ruth's husband, added that they always had a fondness for Dublin.

"It was where they grew up, it was where they fell in love.

"It's a great feeling that we're able to carry out their last wishes. From the time when Tom was in his fifties, he said to make sure that he goes back."