Saturday 20 January 2018

Woman who was a toddler during the Rising celebrates 103rd birthday

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

It's not every day that your mother celebrates her 103rd birthday.

And for Rose Thompson (76), being there to toast her mother's longevity was worth the trip, even if it meant travelling more than 17,000 kilometres from her adopted home of Melbourne, Australia.

Her mother, May Morris, celebrated her birthday yesterday at Hillview nursing home in Carlow and said lots of laughter and plenty of prayer are the secrets to remaining youthful.

"The very best thing you can do for your own self is to dip in holy water and the blessed sacrament, and a little prayer for yourself and you'll never go wrong," May said.

May was only three years old and living on her family's farm in Castledermot, Co Kildare, during the 1916 Easter Rising.

But to this day, she still recalls her parents talking about the poverty in inner-city Dublin as well as the sense of tension and revolution in the air.

Councillor Fintan Phelan, chair of Carlow County Council's 1916 committee, presented the great, great grandmother with a commemorative 1916 medal.

May is the oldest of six centenarians from the county who will be bestowed with the medal as part of the 1916 centenary celebrations to "recognise their life and contribution to Irish society".

Ms Thompson attributed her mother's longevity to "never moaning", eating lots of vegetables, and being active.

She also said her mother's sense of humour, her faith and the occasional Heineken helped her stay young.

Irish Independent

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