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Kathleen Snavely. nee Hayes, with her first husband, RoxyRollins.

Ireland’s Oldest Kathleen Snavely turns 113

Last year Feakle native, Kathleen Snavely, nee Hayes, made history as Ireland’s oldest ever person having exceeded the age of 111 and 327 days.

Today (Monday), February 16, she celebrates her one hundred and thirteenth birthday in New York, where she currently at a healthcare facility called the Centres at St Camillus in Syracuse, New York state.

Kathleen originally hails from Garraun, Feakle with her homestead not too far from Pepper’s pub in the village. She was born to parents Patrick and Ellen (neé Moroney) Hayes on February 16, 1902. Her father was a publican and farmer in the village. She had two sisters Lena (known as Eileen) and Anna May, and had two brothers Martin and Pat.

She left Feakle and Ireland’s shores as a young woman of 19 in September 1921 departing from Queenstown, now Cobh, aboard the Scythia.

She arrived on Ellis Island on September 30, 1921 according to the ship’s manifest. She was travelling over to her uncle Jeremiah Moroney who lived in Marcellus Street, Syracuse, New York.

While in Syracuse she met and married Roxie Rollins and together they set up Seneca Dairy, a successful retail business specialising in dairy products such as milk, cream, and ice-cream. They didn’t have any children and Mr Rollins died in 1968, aged 66.

Kathleen remarried a man called Jesse Snavely, when she was 64 or 65, who owned a big lumber business in Pennsylvania.

Following the death of her second husband, it appears Mrs Snavely returned to Syracuse in 2000 and remained living independently until she was 104.

About Carol Byrne

Carol Byrne is a reporter at The Clare Champion newspaper reporting on news in the East Clare area and the arts. She also covers the courts in County Clare and has received seven national awards for this coverage from the Law Society of Ireland and a National Lottery Local Ireland national media award for Best Community Story 2019. A Masters in Journalism graduate of NUI Galway, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Limerick in Music and Media Studies, and a Higher Diploma in Irish Legal Studies. She began her career interning at The Limerick Leader and Clare FM, before taking up a full time post at The Clare Champion in 2006.

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