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Achill mourns passing of Mayo’s oldest man


GREAT GRANDSON The late Anthony Kilbane met for the first time his 23rd great-grandchild, Oisín Hyde, who was seven weeks old on the occasion of Anthony 105th birthday in March.

Anton McNulty

The death of Mayo’s oldest man, 105-year-old Anthony Kilbane was met with great sadness in his native Achill where he will be laid to rest tomorrow afternoon.
A native of Cloughmore on Achill Island, Anthony passed away on Sunday surrounded by members of his family in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar.
A native Irish speaker, Anthony had a depth of knowledge on local history and was well-known outside of Achill having appeared on many programmes on TG4 as well as a guest on Ráidió na Gaeltachta.
Born on March 3, 1912 to parents John and Ellen Kilbane, Anthony – who is 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 step-brother Michael was killed during the Battle of the Somme. Three of his siblings died when they were young and the remaining siblings were his brother Tom and his sisters, Mary and Katty.
He went to Derreens National School until he was 14 years old when he went to Scotland and often said he was old going to Scotland compared to other children. He often said he got a lot of his schooling while working on the farms in Scotland.
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 and was married for nearly 65 years before Mary passed away 13 years ago.
They returned and settled in his native Cloughmore and had five children, Patrick, Castlebar, Michael who died aged nine months, Mary Jo O’Keefe, Cloughmore, Pam Duggan, Dublin and Ellen Gordan, Armagh.
Anthony had good health up until just before his one hundredth birthday when he suffered a stroke but his mind remained sharp and was still able to recall events which took place in Achill many years ago.
He celebrated his 105th birthday on March 3 and among those to wish him a happy birthday was his 29th great-grandchild, Oisín Hyde who was only seven weeks old at the time.
He was a resident of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar up until his death and his remains will repose there today, Tuesday from 1pm until 2pm. He will then make his final journey to Achill and repose at Sweeney’s Funeral Home, Achill Sound on Tuesday evening from 4pm with removal at 7.30pm to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Derreens arriving at 8pm.
His Funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday at 12 noon followed by burial in Glencoe Cemetery.


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