Sisters to enjoy joint party after lockdown

TWO sisters who met in July for the first time in over two and half years because of the Covid-19 pandemic are to celebrate a joint birthday party surrounded by their nearest and dearest.

Mary McDonnell, from Carrigart and Brigid Braid, Downings, will celebrate their 92nd and 90th birthday, respectively, in a special party and fundraiser on Saturday, October 1 in Downings Bay Hotel, organised by their loved ones.

The party will raise funds for Mevagh Fire Service and the maintenance of local defibrillator units.


Speaking to the Donegal News, Mary McDonnell’s daughter Bridget O’Neill said initial plans were to host a party for her mum’s 90th birthday in March 2020.

Those plans were scuppered because of lockdown. But, she said the family are looking forward to a bigger than ever event.

“At the time I had organised a surprise birthday party for her with approximately 350 guests invited and had arranged for all proceeds to go towards the installation of a defibrillator at the site of the Gap shop, at the end of my mother’s road. Covid-19 put a stop to it. The defibrillator has since been installed. While I can only take credit for the idea, others made it a reality.”
Bridget’s mother has lived with her in Dublin since March 2020, while her mum’s sister moved to London to stay with her daughter.

“In July of this year the two sisters met for the first time in over two and a half years. My aunty Brigid’s grandson got married in Portugal and we all travelled for the wedding. They are two remarkable ladies travelling to Portugal at 92 and 89 years.”
Bridget said Covid has taught her a valuable lesson – not to waste time. She said the party will celebrate “two great ladies” and will also be an opportunity to reconnect with many family and friends.

“Life is short and shouldn’t be wasted. Hence the party is to celebrate two great ladies, but it’s also about saying hello to family, friends, neighbours – something we should all do more often.

“My husband had been unwell for 10 years before he passed away and I never really had much opportunity to visit Donegal. I’m living in Dublin going into my 42nd year, and since 90-year-olds do not need anything material, we thought why not try and put something worthwhile back into their community?”

When Bridget first organised the party, she sent out 300 invites.


“I had invited everyone on mammy’s road to the party and those in Cranford Women’s Group and their partners and husbands. When I tallied up the numbers there were more than 300 people.

“For this party, I have re-invited everyone who had been invited. My mum has a grandson, David McGee, who lives in Australia. He is in Ireland the minute but goes back on October 6, so he will also be here for the joint party,” said Bridget.

Instead of gifts, donations will be gratefully appreciated towards Mevagh Fire Service and the maintenance of local defibrillator units.

There will be finger food, music and dance on the night. Anyone who would like to attend is asked to RSVP before September 15 to 0868362211/(0044) 7716760829 or 0871650300.

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