Dubliner Josephine Silo celebrated her 104th birthday “in great form” today after overcoming Covid-19 earlier in the month.
s Silo’s family threw her a garden party to celebrate and despite her advanced years, her niece Anna Colfer said she was the life of the party.
“She’s in great form, she’s the centre of attention and loving it all,” she said.
“We had to mark her birthday for her so we had a garden party, because numbers were obviously limited in the nursing home.
“They had banners and everything all over the nursing home for her though, wishing her a happy birthday and they made a fuss of her.”
Born on July 22, 1916, Ms Silo has lived through the the war of Independence, the formation of the Irish free state and two world wars.
Able to brag about beating the coronavirus, she also lived through the last great pandemic- the Spanish Flu.
When the Rathmines woman was born, women didn’t even have a vote in Ireland and after her Italian father died young, Ms Colfer said that her aunt had a tough upbringing in a family with a mother and six daughters in a patriarchal Ireland.
“They would have had a tough time because their father died when they were very young so they were a mother with nine daughters and they all turned out fantastic,” she said.
“She’s the last of them now. They all lived until brilliant ages – into their 90s. Once one went it was like dominoes. It skipped over her and got my mother the youngest, but she’s still alive. That would have been very tough for her.”
Ms Silo, who never married, contributes some of her longevity to the fact that she worked as a waitress from the age of 14 until about the age of 60 on Grafton Street, which meant she was very fit and healthy.
Her niece, however, said that it’s the fact that she has never missed a day of mass that she would really count as her blessing.
“She lived with her mother until she died. And she was never married and never drank. She would say she’s lived so long because she goes to mass every day though,” she said.
“Do not bring up politics or religion around her because unless you’re going to mass every day, you’re f****d, she doesn’t want to know. She will give you a speech as to why you should be in mass every day.”