Thirteen sprightly brothers and sisters from the Moy - with a combined age of 1073 years - are celebrating after officially receiving the Guinness World Record for being the oldest family on earth.
The 13 brothers and sisters, Sean (93), Maureen (92), Eileen (90), Peter (87), Mairead (86), Rose (85), Tony (83), Terry (81), Seamus (80), Brian (76), Kathleen (75), Colm (73) and Leo (72) were awarded the Guinness World Record for the siblings with the highest combined age in March but celebrated the achievement this week.
The family, whose entry into the record books was delayed for two years by the sad passing away of their youngest sibling Austin due to an accident in December 2015, came together on Sunday to mark their entry into this year’s Guinness Book of World Records at their childhood home.
The celebration was made all the more poignant by the fact that the idea to enter the record books was Austin’s idea in the first place.
The resilient farming clan from Moy and Collegeland have been happy to share the secrets of their extraordinary longevity.
Although it may well be their genes that make them so healthy, the surviving siblings, who are all extremely robust and active for their ages, put it down to all the apples they ate as children, home-cooking, early rising, and staying local. The bad news for those of us that love a glass of wine is that in spite of their mother’s fondness for buckfast wine, most of them are life-long teetotal pioneers.
The siblings are the children of Peter and Ellen Donnelly, who welcomed 16 children throughout their marriage. While Leo said his dad “died young” at 79, his mum Ellen Mullen lived well into her 90s. The parents tragically lost their youngest son Michael (25) in 1975 following a car accident, while Oliver passed away at age 64 after a battle with cancer.
The siblings were the subject of an BBC NI documentary, The World’s Oldest Family, due to air once again in June.