FEAKLE native, Kathleen Snavely, who is Ireland’s oldest ever woman, celebrated her 112th birthday on Sunday last.
Mrs Snavely, nee Hayes, is originally from Garraun Feakle, made the record books in January as the Republic’s oldest living person, surpassing a record held by Katherine Plunkett of County Louth, who was born in 1820 and lived to 111 and 327 days.
Now a resident of Syracuse, New York, Mrs Snavely celebrated her birthday at St Camillus retirement centre. She is in good health.
She was born on February 16, 1902 to parents, Patrick and Ellen Hayes (nee Moroney).
Her closest relatives live in Ireland, and Kathleen’s nearest relative is nephew, Gerard Hayes, who lives in Limerick. She has a number of other relatives in Meath, Dublin, Louth and Leitrim.
There are also bonds in Feakle. Former Mayor of Clare Councillor Pat Hayes; renowned fiddle player Martin Hayes and their sister, Helen Hayes are also related to Mrs Snavely, as their father P Joe Hayes was a first cousin.
Mrs Snavely left Feakle aged 19, departing in September 1921 from Queenstown (Cobh) aboard the Scythia and went to live with an uncle.
While in America, she married Roxie Rollins and they set up a retail dairy business, Seneca Dairy in Syracuse, which was very successful. Mr Rollins died in his 60s, and some years later the Feakle woman remarried Jesse Snavely, who had a lumber business in Pennsylvania.