Emotional family reunion at Lillian's 60th birthday party
Lillian Dawson Doyle celebrated her 60th birthday party recently at the Royal Hotel, along with a sister she just met in 2016.
Lillian's grandmother was the owner of the former Dawson's amusements. Once a thriving amusement arcade in its heyday, the building was demolished in 2013 and there is now a car-park on the site with planning permission for apartments.
Lillian said that she and her family were somewhat sad to see it go, having been sold on to the owners of the Star in the meantime. They said it was 'the end of an era', but that the amusements in any seaside town are no longer as popular as they once were.
At her recent party, Lillian was joined by her daughters Naomi and Lyndzi, her grandchildren, in-laws, her sister Alison McCarthy, and her new-found cousins and aunts and uncles.
She just met her sister in 2016. 'It was very exciting to meet the family I never knew,' said Lillian.
Her father went to America in the 1950s, leaving her mother with two children and another on the way. He had another family, two daughters.
It was Lillian's daughter Lyndzi who put the balls in motion and did some research on the family and their whereabouts.
They knew that there were relatives in America, but little else. Lyndzi tracked them down.
Lillian met her father in 2016. Sadly, two weeks later, he died. She met one of her sisters, Alison, and continues to forge a relationship with her. All of the relatives who came to the party were glad to meet everyone, including Lillian's children and grandchildren.
Lyndzi flew in from Budapest where she is co-producing a film with Antonio Banderas called Picasso.
Lillian's children surprised her with a Caribbean cruise, which she said was a total shock.
Around 128 people attended the party, with live music by Austin Prior and a DJ set by Gerry Looby.
Guests included golfing pals from Druid Heath and Kilcoole Ladies, as well as colleagues from Dundrum College of Further Education and Arklow Youthreach.