A very special lady received a very special message from her ‘political crush’ yesterday to mark her 100th birthday.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern sent a personalized video message to one of his lifelong admirers, Sheila O’Regan, as she was celebrated by family and friends at home near White’s Cross on the north outskirts of Cork City on the day of his milestone birthday.
Sheila, who has never smoked or drunk, said Bertie’s message was the icing on the cake.
Congratulating her on reaching her 100th birthday, Mr Ahern said he hoped she had a great day of celebrations, surrounded by family and friends, but cautioned: ‘My advice to you , since you’ve given up drinking for 100 years, don’t start celebrating with alcohol now.Sheila who – thanks to the great support of her family and community – lives independently, was born the fifth of eight children at Farran, Cork in 1922.
She had seven children – unfortunately, Richie, who died in 2019 – she is a 24-year-old grandmother and a 32-year-old great-grandmother.
She never owned or wore a pair of runners, although she walked all the roads in Whites Cross, Ballyphillip and Rathcooney, and didn’t need walking aids until she was 95.
She enjoyed walking and dancing in her youth, loves the outdoors and gardening in particular, and has always enjoyed a good cup of tea and a good chat.
She met her beloved husband, Roger O’Regan in 1942 at a ball in Coachford, and they were married in September 1944. Sheila was 22, Roger was 16 years older.
They were married at Springhill Church, Glanmire, and their wedding reception was held at her mother’s cottage in Ballyphillip, near White’s Cross, where cakes, tea and sandwiches were laid out on two tables in the kitchen.
Roger suffered from health problems and worked and was often absent. He died in 1971, aged 65, leaving Sheila a widow, aged 49, with seven children aged 25 to 8.
But Sheila, who worked as a cleaner for various families and remembers earning 16 shillings a week, said she always did what she could to support her children.
Longevity is in its DNA. His parents, Paddy and Philomena Wallace, both lived long and healthy lives, with Paddy dying at the age of 94, followed by Philomena, who died at the age of 93.