Kathleen celebrates 100th birthday in the presence of her 97 year-old brother and Sheelin Nursing Home staff.Back (from left): Brona Mackey, director of Nursing; Breege Reilly, daughter of James and God daughter of Kathleen; Mairead Mellett, nursing home proprietor and Lorraine Barry, chef at Sheelin who made the beautiful birthday cake for Kathleen’s big day; front, James Reilly (97) with his sister Kathleen Rahill, celebrating her 100th birthday.

Centenarian receives birthday wishes from 107-year-old sister

The gregarious and smiling Kathleen Rahill, who celebrated her 100th Birthday last week in the Sheelin Nursing Home, received fond birthday wishes from her 107-year-old sister, Bridget Tierney, and 97-year-old brother, James Reilly, who is also a resident in Sheelin.

A relaxed Kathleen told the Celt this week that she "delighted" to receive the letter from President Michael D. Higgins and the cheque, which she had securely taped to the rear of the letter frame.

She attributes her longevity to having porridge, both in the morning and at night, and a love of dancing, gardening and working on the farm with her late husband, John Rahill.

"John and I won prizes for dancing the Foxtrot and he was a lovely singer and used to sing in the church choir," recalls Kathleen with a warm smile. She further revealed she is still an early riser in the nursing home and is up first thing every morning for her breakfast. "I always enjoyed good health and I love getting up early in the morning."

She has fond memories of cycling into Ballinagh for the shopping when she lived in Carrickalevin, Ballinagh and in Lacken and never had a car. "My father was a farmer and I married a farmer – a good hardy life. I loved being out on the farm. We had sows and pigs and milk cow and a mare and foal."

Her garden adorned with beautiful flowers frequently caught the eye of people going past their home.

Kathleen also played camogie in her younger days and enjoyed going to football matches.

She was good at the Irish and impressed at a Feis in Cavan and was awarded a two-month scholarship to Ranafast in Donegal.

“I was very good with the pen in school. I used to be a lovely writer and I was good at Irish. I never got a slap at school," announced Kathleen.

Her brother, James Reilly will be all of 98 years young in July of this year and the siblings hope to spend time with their big sister Bridget (107) later in the week.