Congratulations a hundred thousand times to Longford native, Maggie Rose Collum, living in Finglas, who celebrated (and that's the operative expression!) her 100th birthday a couple of weeks ago.
During a wonderful garden party at her home she was presented with her well-earned cheque and a personal letter from President Michael D Higgins, by her local TD, Dessie Ellis.
Looking at the cheque Maggie Rose wondered how she would get it cashed, should she bring it to the post office! Under a scorching sun (the seasonal conditions remaining in place!) Maggie Rose's 100 years of life were saluted by a great gathering, which included her daughter, Mary, son, Tommy, his wife, Agnes, grandaughters, great grandchildren, a large number of relatives and many, many friends. They were there from her native county, especially Drumlish and Killoe and many parts of Dublin (including members of the Longford Association) and Maggie Rose greeted everyone as they arrived, never missing a beat. Although we live in a republic, she was our veritable queen on the occasion! Some wonderful traditional music was provided by her cousin, Gerry Quinn, and sons, Declan and Eugene, and Gerry sang a traditional version of "My Native Town Drumlish", assisted by the chorus of eager voices present.
Maggie Rose was born in Cartron, Killoe, on July 15, 1916. She went to Dooroc national school and in 1937, aged 21, she emigrated to London, the year Longford juniors won the county's only All-Ireland football title ever.
She met Tommy Collum from Barragh, Drumlish and, not wasting any time, they got married in 1939 and lived in the Finchley area of London. At the outbreak of World War II she and newborn daughter, Mary, had to return to Ireland and Cartron.
Her husband Tommy, along with his brothers, remained in London during the Blitz. Their son, Tommy, had come along in the mid Forties and the family moved to Dublin where Tommy senior had secured a position with CIE.
Maggie Rose has many fond memories of the great times she had in Killoe and Drumlish in her young days. "I loved the dances in Batty Gray's and McWade's halls in Drumlish and in Esker hall, Killoe", she recalls. It wasn't all dancing for Maggie Rose either: she also remembers playing camogie for Killoe.
And she recalls great house parties in her Aunt Mariah Reilly's, Bohey, and potato digging parties at her Aunt Rose Quinn's Ennybegs. At her birthday Mass parish priest, Fr Seamus Aherne, spoke of her great faith and her involvement and hard work in her local parish church and community.
"Her kindness and generosity to all her friends and neighbours are legendary", he said. There were many testimonies to the warm welcome always received in Maggie Rose's Finglas home: Gerry Quinn remembers that if anyone from the home county ever needed a bed for the night one would always be made available.
With her open and generous heart she was wont to regularly visit the many Dublin hospitals, particularly if she heard there were patients up from Killoe or Drumlish. The Longford association was proud to be part of Maggie Rose's distinguished milestone; we hope she enjoys her windfall from the president and wish her continued good health.