Saturday 25 November 2017

Incredible bond: inseparable twins died together at 95

Identical twins Kathleen and Sheila Keogan pictured together as young women Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Identical twins Kathleen and Sheila Keogan pictured together as young women Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Sheila in later life Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Kathleen in later life Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

They survived a wartime bombing raid and retired to the same rural village after a lifetime of nursing.

Even when there was an ocean between them, Kathleen and Sheila Keogan were "inseparable", according to their family.

The twins, from Aughalion in Co Cavan, were 95 years old when they passed away within two days of each other last week in the same nursing home.

Nephew Damien Keogan said the women had always had a close bond - but even the family found it remarkable that they died so close together.

"The strange thing about it was that when Sheila passed away at 10pm on Friday night Kathleen wouldn't have known, but she died just days later," he said.

Mr Keogan described the sisters as the "peers and principles of the extended family". He said: "They were well represented at their funeral, we gave them a good send-off".

The identical twins had both studied nursing and worked in London during the Blitz. On one occasion, they survived a direct hit on the hospital in Hammersmith.

The bomb struck the centre of the building, with the twins separated in the two wings, and it was two days before they found out whether the other had survived or not.

Kathleen later moved to America and Sheila remained in England, but they both took holidays at the same time and chose to retire back home to Aughalion in Cavan.

"When they retired, they built two houses in their native place, but they couldn't even live that far apart and they moved into one," said Fr Andrew Tully, who officiated at the funeral.

Eight years ago, they both moved to the Sheelin Nursing Home in Mountnugent, where they were cared for up until their deaths last week.

Fr Tully added: "They were on different floors of the nursing home and weren't really aware at that stage, but it's just remarkable that they died so close together."

Describing their close bond, he added: "One of the symbols brought up at the Mass for them was the very first notes they had taken in their nursing lectures. They were identical copybooks and almost identical notes. They had such a connection."

The sisters were buried together in Castlerahan.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News