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Milestone 90th birthday for local legend Frances

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Frances O'Connor celebrates her 90th birthday

Frances O'Connor celebrates her 90th birthday

Frances O’Connor with her family

Frances O’Connor with her family

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Frances O'Connor celebrates her 90th birthday

Frances O'Connor, a much-loved member of the Kilmuckridge community throughout her life, recently celebrated her 90th birthday surrounded by a small group of family.

Born Frances Kearns in July 1930 to Aidan and Brigid Kearns, she began her life lived in The Faythe, Wexford town, growing up alongside her brother Patrick.

Sport and religion are very important to Frances, and are interests she has kept up throughout her life.

She has a great love of hurling and never forgot her club the Faythe Harriers despite supporting local club Buffers Alley since she moved to Kilmuckridge to begin her married life with Paddy (PJ) O'Connor in 1955.

Frances is a big fan of hurling and the Wexford team and greatly enjoyed 1996 when they won the All-Ireland.

She has been heavily involved with community life in Kilmuckridge, and loves Irish music, singing and dancing.

She reared four children in Kilmuckridge and her children and grandchildren are very important to her.

Up until recently, Frances was a daily mass-goer and sang with the church choir in Kilmuckridge; she also made annual trips to the Knock Shrine and Our Lady's Island. Visits to Lourdes have been a regular occurence, and she would often travel to England to visit her brother until his death in 1996. She enjoys travelling, a favourite being a trip to New York in 1999 for a family wedding.

Frances is also a fan of sun holidays with friends.

Frances has been very involved with the Pioneer Association, being a secretary of the Kilmuckridge branch as well as secretary of the Leinster Region at one stage. She helped organise the Readoiri competition every year during this time.

Tragedy struck the family when PJ died in 1985, but Frances battled on and continues his legacy, especially in community activities.

PJ wrote the Guardian notes for the Kilmuckridge area for almost 15 years, and Frances took over after his death.

Together, they were involved with the Kilmuckridge Drama Festival and the '79 Club, with PJ even being the first chairperson of the festival.

Frances continued for as long as she could always looking after the visiting drama groups with tea refreshments along with other local ladies. She would write a report on the festival every night, often published in the Evening Herald.

She is still very proud to be part of it all, especially when Kilmuckridge Drama hosted the all Ireland Drama Festival in 2015.

Frances has been involved in the ladies club, the senior citizens club as well as the women together group over the years.

Unfortunately her health took a turn about five years ago and she has been cocooning.

Up until the lockdown, Frances kept in contact with all her friends, especially at Kate's Cafe in the village and The Upton Court.

She was part of the celebration for the 40th anniversary of the 79 club held in Upton court last year.

She was surrounded by her nearest and dearest as she celebrated her 90th birthday. Her grandson Padraig played the guitar and all the family sang it out before sitting down to cake.

Gorey Guardian