A Galwaywoman who was born just months after the Easter Rising celebrated her birthday ins type at the Little Flower Nursing Home last week.
May Quinn was born on August 4 1916 in Newtownblake, Peterswell, Gort, Co. Galway. Her parents were James Quinn and Kate Fitzgerald. She had two brothers, Fred and Bob and one sister Kate and May is the sole survivor. Her favourite memories of her childhood are fishing in the river that flowed through her farm in Peterswell, looking after the farm animals, bringing the dinner to her father and brothers in the bog, playing hurling and saving the hay.
As a young girl, May worked as a waitress in Moylans’ Commercial hotel in Loughrea, then went to Dublin where she continued waitressing, working in a dry cleaners and voluntary social work. She joined the Legion of Mary in Dublin and travelled with them throughout Ireland and on to England, Italy and Kenya, where she helped educate people in need, visiting many schools and villages.
She was always very active, she played camogie, loved running and cycled from Loughrea to Newtownblake (12miles ) every time she visited home. She would take the train from Westland Row to Attymon, then a small connecting train to Loughrea which was the old railway line. She has strong memories of war times and the rations they underwent, taking the ration book to the shop to be stamped when she received food. She remembers the suffering associated with the shortage of food.
On her return from Dublin, May moved to Laurences’ Fields in Loughrea, where she was known for her love of gardening, knitting and her cherished Yorkshire terrier Lucky. She was a common sight walking Lucky with his coat on. She had a passion for colour and would never be seen in anything but colourful clothing. She was known for her kindness and compassion towards her elderly neighbours, often calling the emergency services when she noticed a neighbour was in trouble.
May joined her sister Kate in the Little Flower Nursing Home, Labane on September 2 2010 leaving her home in Laurences’ Fields, Loughrea. Sadly, Kate passed away in March 2013 but May was very grateful for the time she spent with her younger sister. They both shared a passion for music, with May watching her sister perform with the musicians playing the percussion instruments.
May continues to enjoy music. She thoroughly enjoyed her party last Thursday evening with local musicians Peter Gardiner and Pat O’ Neill. May was joined by many friends, family and staff for her big celebration. Mays’ eye for fashion and colour continues as she requested a pink outfit for her party. She danced with family and staff and indulged in her favourite drink, a glass of red wine.