Surrounded by her loved ones, Rose Flanagan was all smiles as she celebrated her 100th birthday last week.

Ahead of her birthday on Friday, November 11, the Garrison centenarian was visited by family, friends and neighbours at Melvin Country House, Garrison, her daughter Frances’ home, on Thursday.

The celebrations continued on Saturday as her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren travelled from near and far to be with her for her milestone birthday, where they held a Black Tie party in her honour.

“She was brilliant, absolutely brilliant,” said Frances, noting that her mother, Rose, thoroughly enjoyed her birthday celebrations.

“We had an open house on the Thursday; then she had a few visitors on the Friday, and on Saturday we had a Black Tie do.

“There were 86 of us altogether, between the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other family members.

“It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve all been together,” Frances said, adding: “She really had a good time.”

Amid the hundreds and hundreds of cards that Rose received, there were a few extra-special birthday wishes.

Rose was delighted to receive a birthday card from His Majesty The King; a letter from former US President, Bill Clinton, and a letter and money from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

Rose Flanagan, Garrison, celebrating her 100th birthday with a card from The King.

Rose Flanagan, Garrison, celebrating her 100th birthday with a card from The King.

Sinn Féin Councillor for Erne West, Anthony Feely – a friend of the Flanagan family – personally wished Rose a very happy 100th birthday.

He added: “May you be blessed with good health and happiness. Enjoy the celebrations with your family and friends.”

Rose also received a special gift from her granddaughter. “Her granddaughter – my daughter – she works in The Boatyard Distillery; she made her a special gin for her birthday, which was lovely,” said Frances.

Born in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, as a young woman Rose moved to Bundoran to work at the convent in the town. “She was 17 or 18 and my father, Paddy Flanagan, met her there, at a dance in Bundoran,” said Frances with a laugh.

“He lived in Garrison and she came to live here then,” she added, noting that together Paddy and Rose had 14 children; seven boys, Brendan, Michael-John, Eugene, Gerry, Peter, Paul and Jim, and seven girls, Margo (Gillespie), Bridget (Nevin), Roisin (Flannery), Carmel (Harte deceased), Bernadette (Flanagan), Dympna (McSharry) and herself, Frances (McGourty).

After raising her family, at the age of 50, Rose became a cook at the local school in Garrison, St. Martin’s Primary School.

Talking about her mother’s hobbies and interests, Frances said: “Her and my father enjoyed playing bowls in Cashel. They also loved music and dancing. My father was a musician, so they used to dance a lot.

Rose’s husband Paddy, also lived to 100, but sadly passed away around 10 years ago.

When asked what Rose would say is the secret to a long life, Frances said: “She would say ‘hard work and family’.”