Reeling in the years with joy at the Sheelin Nursing Home. Front (from left) Bridie Smith (99 years) and on Kathleen Rahill, who recently celebrated her 101st birthday; back, Valerie Lopez, Angela Harten, Bronagh Mackey, Mairead Mellett, proprietor of the Sheelin Nursing Home; Lorraine Barry, chef; and Breege O’Reilly, a niece of Kathleen Rahill’s.PHOTOS: SEAN MCMAHON

A 101 candles for Kathleen

The remarkable Kathleen Rahill was in celebratory mood when the Celt was invited to the Sheelin Nursing Home near Mountnugent recently to mark her 101st birthday with family, staff and residents, writes Sean McMahon...

It was a bitter sweet occasion for the family following the death of Kathleen's sister, Bridget Tierney from Loughduff, last month in her 108th year.

Clearly longevity runs in the blood. “I attribute my long life to eating good healthy food including porridge in the morning and enjoying social occasions and going out dancing. I always loved going to the dances at night,” Kathleen told the Celt .

She always loved to dance and still enjoys doing a foxtrot. “I also like to waltz and sing a song. I am very happy in the Sheelin Nursing Home. The staff are very kind to me,” she said.

Married to John, a farmer, Kathleen has fond memories of the past. "We used to go to the bog and cut the turf and rear the hay in the summer time. We enjoyed building the cocks of hay in the summer sunshine. They are fond memories and the lovely smell of the hay,” recalled Kathleen with a glint in her eyes.

She also had green fingers in the garden at home where she grew lovely, colourful flowers. "I particularly liked the hydrangea plants and their beautiful blooms,” she said.

Kathleen is proud of the fact that she was good at Irish at school and answered all the questions at a Feis in Cavan Town to win two months in the Gaeltacht in Ranafast in Donegal.

“I loved my time there and enjoyed the dancing and speaking Irish,” said Kathleen.

Her advice for the rest of us to live a full and long life? “Get on with life and work hard and don’t be concerned about what people say about you. I always say, 'sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you',” said a wise Kathleen.