Irish women celebrate 100th birthdays
It was like a scene from a beauty pageant. Nine striking women, three of whom were Irish, sat side by side donned in summer colors with orderly haircuts and brightly shaded manicures.
Although it could very well have been a beauty pageant, it wasn’t. It was a celebration of life. A celebration of 100 years of life on this earth.
On Wednesday, June 24, the residents of St. Patrick’s Home for the Aged and Infirm in the Bronx threw a party to beat all parties.
Nine women (10 women turned 100 but one of the residents was sick the day for the party) sat proudly before their friends and family as they accepted citations from the offices of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz as a mark of their longevity.
As music played in the background and all those present ate cake, three of the celebrants took time out from the party to speak to the Irish Voice and IrishCentral.
Elizabeth Keosky, whose maiden name is McSherry, was at St. Joseph’s Hall in St. Patrick’s home on Wednesday to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Said Keosky, as she admired the fresh flowers that adorned the table in front of her, “It’s a lovely day for us.”
Keosky left Drumkeerin, County Leitrim for New York when she was 16.
“Oh, I worked in so many different jobs, up town and down town when I came here first,” recalls Keosky, who spent most of her life living in Inwood, a heavily populated Irish section of Manhattan in the 1950s. She had one child.
Keosky, wearing a yellow suit, never was a big bingo fan.
“I love music though, that was always my thing,” she said.
“I used to play the flute and a little bit of the accordion and I was good,” she said proudly.
Keosky, who can’t remember how long she has been at St. Patrick’s, said there really was no secret to her living for 100 years but she never smoked a cigarette in her life.
“That might have something to do with it,” she said smiling gently.
“I’m happy sure,” she said.
Nudging her 100-year-old American friend sitting beside her Keosky said, “We’re good here aren’t we, we are okay so we are.”
Sitting down from Keosky and chatting to her son was Bridie Dillon, looking spritely for her age and wearing a blush pink outfit and a big smile.
Dillon, who will turn 100 in October, told the Irish Voice and IrishCentral she was shocked to find out Wednesday morning that there was a huge celebration.
“I never knew anything,” said Dillon with a hearty laugh. “And then I got here and my son and family were here for me, and it is just great.”
Dillon, who has been a resident of St. Patrick’s for the past year and a half, left the small village of Cluna, County Clare when she was 17 and spent most other life working as a maid for people in Manhattan.
Jim Dillon, her only child, was very proud of his mother, as were his children, Emily, 19, Charlotte, 17, and James, 14, on Wednesday.
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