Kathleen and Sheila Keogan, Ireland’s oldest known twins, passed away within days of each other at the age of 95.
Kathleen died on Friday, October 2, 2015, at the nursing home in Co. Cavan where both sisters lived. Her twin, Sheila, not knowing, the Irish Times reported, that Kathleen had passed, died two days later on Sunday, October 4, 2015.
The Keogan twins were born on June 14, 1910 into a family of 10 children in Co. Cavan.
Once out of school, they traveled to London to train as nurses and worked in these roles side by side during World War II. Working in makeshift nursing wards in the tunnels of the London Underground, they contracted tuberculosis, with Kathleen being hospitalized for close to five years as a result.
Miraculously, despite losing one lung and part of the other, the Irish Mirror reported, Kathleen survived. She and Sheila went on to travel the world, working in the UK, the US and Ireland, and touring more exotic locations like the Bahamas and Rome.
Neither married, and after retiring they returned to their hometown of Aughalion, Co. Cavan. They then agreed to both spend their final years together in the Sheelin Nursing Home.
One of their nephews, Damien, told Lorraine Teevan, writing for the Irish Times that “Kathleen and Sheila were proud Keogan women. Neither of them married but they were loved deeply by all their family, their surviving brother Sean and sister Bernadette, all their nephews and nieces and everyone that knew and loved them.”
He called them “wonderful ladies, full of fun, love and a sense of adventure.”
Kathleen and Sheila Keogan were laid to rest together on October 5 at the Castlerahan cemetery.
* Originally published in October 2015.