Freda rings in new year with 50th celebrations
THERE was a double celebration in the Purcell household as the Killorglin family rang in the New Year and toasted a landmark birthday at the same time.
That's because 50 years ago to the day, Freda Purcell of Laune View became the first baby born anywhere in Ireland as 1964 dawned and she proudly featured with her mother Bridie on the front page of The Kerryman for the first edition of the New Year.
Roll on half a century and Bridie still remembers the moment well.
"We arrived into the District Hospital in Killarney at around 11pm and my husband John and I were driven there by James Coffey as he used to do the drives at the time," she recalled.
"Dr Bill O'Sullivan was on duty and I remember the nuns saying 'she's never going to make it'. I thought I was going to die but then I realised that they kept looking at the clock and that's why they were saying it."
"After Freda was born they were straight on the phone to Dublin and they confirmed that she was the first baby born in Ireland, it was hectic," Bridie added.
While John passed away in 2012, Freda still lives with Bridie at their Laune View residence.
She has worked in St Mary of the Angels since she was 16 and this weekend she will enjoy a special party with family and neighbours at Killorglin Golf Course.