Arva twin sisters celebrate their 90th birthdays. Kathleen Madden and Rose Masterson enjoying glasses of sherry at Kathleen’s home in Bruse near Arva this week.

Double celebration in Arva

There were joyful celebrations in Bruse near Arva this week when two special ladies, twin sisters Kathleen Madden and Rose Masterson, marked their 90th birthdays in style.

Formerly Galligan from Kilnaleck, they marked their special day yesterday (Tuesday), May 25. Rose’s daughter Kathleen O’Donnell popped the cork on a nice bottle of sherry to toast the occasion; while both birthday girls received letters of congratulations from President Michael D. Higgins.

Reporter Sean McMahon caught up with the birthday girls.

They were born in Ballinamoney, Kilnaleck, on May 25, 1931 and Kathleen Madden quipped: “I can’t tell you which one of us was born first.”

An avid reader from a young age, Rose fondly remembers her father read the papers for the neighbours at night time with a lamp on the table. “The war was on at the time and he used to read out all the details. That had an influence on me,” she said. Rose still reads the papers and particularly enjoys the weekend papers and the crosswords. “I like the news and documentaries on television,” she added.

She also recalled with fondness the dances in the Granada Ballroom in Granard.

Rose worked in Dublin for 10 years prior to getting married. “I came home from Dublin and married the love of my life, Jack Masterson. He passed away 31 years ago at the age of 62 and we were farming here in Bruse.” Her son Johnny runs the farm now and is also an agricultural contractor.

Kathleen married John Willie Madden in 1963 and they farmed at Toome in County Longford, before she moved to live in the Bruse area near her sister, after her husband died 15 years ago. She advises a healthy diet, no smoking and drink in moderation. “I get up still at 8am every morning,” said a sprightly Kathleen.

My parting words were: “I shall return when you ladies are 100” and they laughed in unison saying “please God!”