She is the mother of 10 and grandmother of 43 who has dedicated her life to sports and cultural activities.
Now Lily Kavanagh (89) has been honoured with a Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award, in a ceremony attended by legendary RTÉ commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.
Mrs Kavanagh said "every volunteer there deserved it" as she picked up the award.
"Of course, then I started to cry, and then I started to laugh, they were all in on top of me then. I'm very happy about it, I really am," she said.
With the help of friends, she staged the first athletics finals in Bray in 1973.
When she turned 60, she was ready to throw in the towel. But that same year she was honoured as life president of Wicklow Community Games.
"So I'm sitting here now almost 30 years later. I enjoyed it. I have to say, we had our ups and downs and we had our arguments and everything else, but still we got there. We definitely found it hard at times."
Mrs Kavanagh lives with her daughter Rosemary in Kilmolin, Enniskerry. "She has a great ability with kids - with people in general. She doesn't suffer fools, but at the same time she seems to draw people to her," said Rosemary.
The Irish Independent is media partner with the Aldi Community Games, which has seen millions of children participate over the years.