Ellen Callan reaches the century
Mary Ellen Callan of Ruskey, between Killygordon and Convoy,
reached the grand old age of 100 and
the entire community of the area came together to celebrate
the great occasion.
A special Mass was celebrated in the Callan home to honour
Mary Ellen, who will be receiving the Presidents cheque
to mark her great age.
Mary Ellen was born on 14th May 1903 and has enjoyed reasonably
good health during all of her long life. She resides with
her three sons, James, Patrick and Stephen, and all four
family members receive the old age pension weekly, something
which must be unique in any household in Ireland.
Mary Ellen is blessed with a good memory and can recall
her childhood vividly. She remembers her late father, Johnny
Harper, a native of the locality, who worked as a farm labourer
and also in the now defunct Convoy Mill. She remembers her
mother, formally Brigid McGlynn, also from the Ruskey area
and says they were two good ordinary people who worked hard
during their lifetime to provide for their family. Mary
Ellen says she was only four years old when her mother passed
away. There were three other children in her family, Joe,
Patrick and Stephen. It was a hard life back then
when I was growing up. Money wasnt so plentiful then.
It was very scarce. When I was 13, I went to work in Brigid
Carlins farmhouse which was near where we lived. She
did not live far away and I was able to come home every
night. She didnt pay me, she paid my granny who lived
with us at that time.
She had no children of her own. Her husband was killed
as a young man when he fell out of a cart and broke his
neck. I was also hired in Johnny Tempes for six months.
He was the same family as Magees of Donegal tweed
people, Mary Ellen recalls.
Mary Ellen married the late Jimmy Callan from Ramelton,
when she was 22. He worked locally in the former McLaughlins
pub in Ruskey. He was also hired for a time in Tinneys.
She went on: I remember what I wore on my wedding
day, a dress, coat and hat. My granny and I bought them
in McGintys shop in Ballybofey. We did not have a
wedding breakfast first. The wedding was about eleven oclock,
we had a taxi hired for the day. We came back home to eat
and then we went to Letterkenny and toured around for the
rest of the day.
My husband at that time, worked for Callaghans
who were wealthy farmers. He was the horseman there for
many years. Callaghans used to supply the towns of
Ballybofey and Strannorlar with milk. Jimmy was fed at home
and his wages were 18 shillings a week. We also got two
quarts of milk a day and one rood of potatoes. That was
Yesterday was a great occasion for Mary Ellen with all of
her family and extended family gathered around her, a number
of whom travelled home from abroad for the great occasion.
Her son, James, who looks after her with great care and
devotion, said he was proud that his mother had reached
this great milestone in her life.
She is a grand old lady and very easy to look after.
Her health is really good for one of so many years and I
hope it remains that way. This is indeed a proud day for
all of the Callan family and we will enjoy the occasion
to the full, he said.
Courtesy of the Donegal Democrat