In her lifetime, Annie O'Dowd has witnessed the rise of the motor car, rural electrification and the foundation of the State and last Thursday, May 24, she marked yet another milestone, her 100th birthday.
Surrounded by four generations of her family along with numerous friends, neighbours and the staff of Lough Erril nursing home, near Mohill, where she lives, Annie enjoyed a very special birthday celebration.
Annie was born in Manorhamilton in May 1918 to Katie and Joseph McSharry. She worked in her family's business before meeting her late husband, Murty, who drove a steam roller for the Council. They married in 1942 and after the birth of her first two children the family moved to St Patrick's Park, Carrick-on-Shannon where she has lived the majority of her life.
Annie is the mother of seven sons and two daughters and has 23 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, her sons, Tommy and Jimmy explained how their mother had raised a large family at a time of great difficulty following World War II.
Although she had previously only travelled to the UK, in her 80s, Annie travelled to visit family in America a number of times.
“She embraced it all, the travelling. She loved it,” explained Tommy.
Marking her special birthday a mass was held in the courtyard at Lough Erril nursing home before guests, including two of Annie's nieces who travelled from America for the occasion, tucked in to food and a special birthday cake.
President Michael D Higgins sent a special message to Annie noting “You have lived through remarkable times in the history of Ireland the world...May you be surrounded today by the warmth of happy memories and secure in the knowledge that you continue to make this world a better place for all who love you.”