Chicago’s Galway centenarian!

Centenarian...Bridie Timlin.

A lot has happened in the last one hundred years – the First World War ended, Ireland gained its independence, the Second World War changed the shape of the world and the Berlin Wall rose and fell.

And one woman who has lived through all of these historic moments is Loughrea native, Bridie Timlin, née Kenny.

Yesterday, Bridie marked her 100th birthday in Chicago together with her two daughters and her niece, Patricia, who now lives in Mullingar.

Born on a small farm in Moyglass on September 20, 1917, Bridie certainly didn’t have what one might call an easy life.

Her daughter, Vera, explains how at just seven years old, when Bridie’s mother died shortly after the birth of her seventh child, she and her eldest sister Mary were thrown into looking after a new baby and helping with the farm at the same time as attending school.

“In those days, there was no electricity or running water so it was all hard work. Later on, she did odd jobs after school at a local shop and earned tips which she saved and used to buy her sister a bicycle,” says Vera.

In the 1930s, Bridie left home and went to work in Liverpool as a nanny but returned home before the war broke out.

On the train from Dublin down to Galway, she met Ballina man, Michael Timlin, and the pair married in August, 1941.

The couple reared their two daughters, Vera and Ann, in Loughrea before moving to Coventry in England in 1958.

Michael died suddenly in 1961 while Vera and Anne were still at school.

When Vera was old enough, she left Coventry for Chicago – going over to meet her uncle John and his family.

“I came out here for a year as an experiment and my mother came a year later, just before President Kennedy changed the law which meant my mother could still bring my sister because she was considered a child as she was under 21.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.