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Sunday 17 December 2017

Birthday girl Mary marks 105th year

Patricia McDonagh

AS children, Mary Quinn and James Dolan routinely celebrated their birthdays together in the family homestead.

And nothing would stop the siblings from continuing their century-old tradition yesterday -- despite the fact he is now 103 and his sister turned 105 at the weekend.

In a loving gesture, James, who lives in Lakefield in Gort, Co Galway, with his 90-year old wife, travelled to a special party to mark his sister's biggest birthday yet .

Mary, who was born in 1905 and was part of a family of six boys and two girls, lived through many of the great upheavals of the century.

A native of Killeen in Gort, she was just a teenager when the Black and Tans invaded Ireland, and when the Civil War later ravaged the country.

During World War Two she was tending to a young family of three girls and five boys with her farmer husband John Quinn, whom she married in 1932 and who died in 1971.

Yesterday, surrounded by her brother, children, 24 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, she celebrated her birthday in style.

After Mass at 2.30pm at Rosemount nursing home in Gort, where Mary has lived for the past seven years, the group celebrated with a barbecue.

"She always lived an active life and I would put her great age down to hard physical work on the farm and lots of water," said her second eldest son Patrick.

"Back in that time there was no hurry with life and anywhere people wanted to get to they had to walk.

"Her mother also lived until she was 100."

Although bed-bound, Mary still watches television and loves seeing her family come to visit her.

She has never suffered any sickness and remains in "great spirits".

Irish Independent

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