HALE AND HEARTY Bill and Mary Hunt from Kilkelly enjoying some Christmas drinks.
THE West’s longest married couple, and perhaps in all of Ireland, Bill and Mary Hunt from Derrynalecka, Kilkelly, will celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary this Thursday, February 22, 2018.
A small get-together is being planned for family and friends in their home in Derrynalecka where Bill is looking forward to having a few drinks and Mary will also raise a glass or two in honour of the occasion.
Bill was born in Derrynalecka in 1918 and came from a family of nine. Mary (Lavin) was born in Woods beside Midfield in 1922 and was one of a family of eight.
They met during the Christmas of 1943 in Willie Campbell’s dance hall in Midfield (now Julian’s) and, after just eight weeks of courting, Bill asked Mary to marry him. Seven weeks later, Canon Higgins presided at the ceremony in Swinford Church on February 22, 1944. They recall there was an 18 gallon barrel of triple x Guinness and whiskey and they enjoyed set dancing and a sing-song late into the night.
Mary and Bill raised a family of four, William and Michael who reside in Derrynalecka, Josephine who is in Dublin and Eileen who resides down in Tralee. They have ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Their granddaughter Karen, who lives beside them, says they are in great form and are all set for Thursday. “They are very tuned in to all that is going on. Bill will be 100 in September and it is his great wish to have the Sam Maguire Cup for the celebrations if Mayo triumphs later this year. That would be some party sure enough. They are a mighty couple and are held in fond regard by all around Kilkelly.”