A RATHMULLAN woman celebrated her 106th birthday on Tuesday. Julia McAteer is now a resident at Nazareth House, Fahan, but previously she lived alone outside Rathmullan in a tiny one-roomed house she called home for 104 years, 90 of these without running water or electricity.
Julia is registered in the 1911 Census of Ireland as a three-year-old, confirming her 1908 birthday. Speaking to the Donegal News her grand-niece, Donna Denney, said Julia was in great form.
“She is a fiesty woman who has a thirst for knowledge and an insatiable interest in all that is going on around her,” she said.
“She is a non-drinker, non smoker and puts her longevity down hard work over the years and healthy eating from the farm house,” Ms Deeny added.
On Wednesday at Nazareth House staff and residents joined Julia and members of her family for the birthday celebrations.
“They have really taken Julia to their heart,” Ms Denney said.
Born and reared at Creeve near Rathmullan Julia never married and led a very independent life.
“She grew her own crops and saved turf every year,” Ms Denney said.
“She told me of how she would take a donkey and cart and save the turf and also take a load of corn from Rathmullan to the mill in Milford,” she added.
Well known Rathmullan woman, Mary McAteer, said she was delighted to her it was Julia’s birthday.
“I remember her well coming into the town here over the years,” she said.
“Julia is a great woman and was active up until recently. She was cared for in Ramelton Nursing Unit before going to Nazareth House,”
“She’s often lamented how no one farms any more, they go to the shop for everything,” Ms Denney added.