Celebrations for Bridget's century
Family, friends, and neighbours gathered recently to mark a milestone in the life of a very special Ballycanew lady, Bridget Roche, who celebrated her 100th birthday.
Her fond friends Fr Joe Kavanagh and Fr Thomas Orr celebrated Mass for her in her Ballyshane home. A party followed, and Bridget sent her sincere appreciation to everyone who travelled long and short distances to be there, especially Dr Peter Harrington for being with her on her special occasion.
Born on July 20, 1917, in Coolamaine, near Oylegate, Bridget Kinsella, as she was then, was one of a family of seven. She went to the local school and helped out on the family farm, where she loved working outdoors with her father.
As she reached adulthood, she moved to Dublin where she worked for several years, before moving to London to be closer to the love of her life, Peter Roche from Blackwater, who was working in the limestone quarries of the Cotswolds. They married in 1949, and set up home in Winchcome, near Cheltenham.
Eleven years later, they sold up and returned home, settling with their six children in a farm at Raheenaskeagh, Oulart. Bridget later worked as a publican in Blackwater and first landlady, and later postmistress, in Ballycanew.
Bridget and Peter had three sons - Jim, Kevin (who died on November 9, 1974), and Peadar, and three daughters Alice, Christine and Joan. Bridget has 11 grandchildren and four great grand children. Her sole surviving sister Josie lives in Carlow. Peter died on July 21, 1989.
If you ask Bridget about the reason for her long life, she would probably reply 'hard work and malnutrition'.
Hard work and a good sense of humour are closer to the truth.