The War of Independence was raging when she was born, among others who came into the world in the same year were sultry film star Jane Russell, the Duke of Edinburgh and singer/comedian Harry Secombe, she shook hands with Pope John Paul 11, she reared six children on her own, she practically became a native of Lourdes.
Rosanna Ging or Rosie to her family and many friend was 90 last Friday, March 25. On Sunday, The Killeshin Hotel was the venue for her birthday party, at which 130 guests applauded as she cut the cake.
Rosie is Maryborough old stock to the core. A daughter of Michael and Catherine Kerry, she was a member of an 18-strong family, nine boys and nine girls. They grew up in a cottage on the then densely-populated New Road, a traditional and clannish area of Portlaoise.
Times were tough and the Kerry family, like many of their neighbours, had to contend with almost annual flooding of their home.
Rosie married Patrick Ging, from Green Mill Lane, and they settled down in 29 O’Moore Place, where she still lives. He, too, was of impeccable Portlaoise credentials.
Sadly, he died at a comparatively young age, leaving Rosie to bring up six children, Ann, Paddy, Rose, Teresa, Michael and John. A great job she did, raising an exemplary family who are devoted to her. And, as someone quipped, she’s still the boss.
Religion is at the centre of her life. Especially important to her is Lourdes, which she visited for 36 successive years. She still makes a yearly pilgrimage to Knock.
It was during a pilgrimage to Rome that Rosie met Pope John Paul 11. Not only that, she exchanged a handshake with him.
A non-drinker and non-smoker, she attributes her longevity to hard work. At her birthday bash was her brother Dan. Aged 95, he’s now head of the Kerry clan. Also still going strong are Maurice, James and Peg. Enjoying the occasion, too, was Fr Joe O’Neill, a special friend of Rosie’s.
She has 22 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.