Bess celebrates 100th birthday in Limerick nursing home

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Bess and little Leo Fennessy

Bess and little Leo Fennessy

ELIZABETH O'Neill, known to one and all as Bess, celebrated her 100th birthday with her five sons, four daughters, extended family and large circle of friends in St Anthony’s Nursing Home, Pallasgreen. 

Bess from Ballykiveen, Cappawhite has been described as a “real lady and a quiet gentle person". Her family always came first - her late husband Patrick (Paddy) and nine children - Betty, Mary, Fr John, Fr Tom, Teresa, Dan, Carmel, Fr Pat and Fr Dermot.

Bess loved gardening. She also enjoyed reading and cooking and looked forward to the daily newspaper with a special interest in the crosswords. Bess is in St Anthony's since the beginning of this year where she is looked after exceptionally well by the staff. Bess’s 100th birthday was also a milestone for St Anthony’s.

Sean Fennessy, director of nursing, said since his grandparents - Catherine and Paddy Dillon - started the care facility in 1969 it is the first occasion they have had the honour of caring for a centenarian.

“We were honoured to stand with our colleagues at St Anthony’s, who arranged a guard of honour singing Happy Birthday as Bess made her grand entrance to her awaiting party,” said Sean.

Over 30 bouquets of flowers were delivered and a crowd of up to 100 was a testament to Bess’s popularity.

Sean and his mum Terry said Bess is in “good health” and “great form”. “She really enjoyed her party. The food and drink was organised by Bess’s family to honour this happy occasion, which took place in the parlour,” said Sean. Bess even found time to pose with the fourth generation of the Dillon family - five-month-old Leo, the youngest of Sean and Jane’s three children.