CELEBRATING WITH THEIR GREAT-GRANDAD Anthony Kilbane, from Cloughmore, celebrated his 105th birthday on March 3 with nine of his 23 great-grandchildren and met his youngest great-grandson Oisín Hyde, aged seven weeks for the first time. Back, from left; David Grealis, Paul Grealis and Thomas Grealis. Front, from left; Aisling Cooney with Oisín Hyde, Brian Joyce, Ciarán Joyce, Róisín Joyce and Caitriona Hyde.
ACHILL’S oldest resident celebrated his 105th birthday by meeting the newest member of his clan, baby Oisín Hyde, his 29th great-grandchild.
Anthony Kilbane from Cloughmore on Achill Island celebrated his 105th birthday on March 3 with his large and ever-expanding family in the St John’s Unit of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar.
Among those present to wish him a happy birthday was his great-grandson Oisín Hyde, just seven weeks old. It was the first time the pair had met.
Born in Cloughmore on March 3, 1912 to parents John and Ellen Kilbane, Anthony – known locally as Anthony Nelly – was the youngest of seven children. His father had been married previously and only four years after Anthony was born, his half-brother Michael was killed during the Battle of the Somme.
Three of his siblings died when they were young, but his brother Tom and sisters Mary and Katty survived.
Anthony went to Derreens NS until he was 14 years old, when he went to Scotland. He often said that he was older than other children to head to Scotland, where he got a lot of his schooling while working on farms there.
Later in life he lived in England, where he worked for Taylor Woodrow construction company for over 30 years. On April 26, 1939, he married Mary Molloy in Achill.
They settled in Cloughmore and had five children, Patrick, who lives in Castlebar; Michael, who died aged nine months; Mary Jo O’Keefe, Cloughmore; Pam Duggan, Dublin and Ellen Gordan, Armagh. Anthony and Mary were married for nearly 65 years when Mary passed away 13 years ago.
Fount of knowledge
Anthony is a native Irish speaker and has an in-depth knowledge of local history. His voice was often heard on Raidió na Gaeltachta, and in the last number of years he has appeared on a number of programmes on TG4.
Despite suffering a stroke just before his 100th birthday, Anthony’s mind is still as sharp as ever, and he is still able to recall events which took place in Achill many years ago.
Anthony would like to thank the wonderful staff of St John’s Unit, Sacred Heart Hospital for making his birthday such a memorable one. His family would also like to thank all those who sent birthday greetings, cards and radio messages on Midwest radio and Raidió na Gaeltachta.