May celebrates 100 years

Above: May Roddy with her framed letter of congratulation from President Higgins.
Photo by Kevin O’Gorman.

May Roddy, a well known lady from Sandymount has recently celebrated the hundredth anniversary of her birth on April 29th. A party was held in her honour at her residence, in which her family, friends and neighbours presented her with an impressive cake and gifts.

Some of you may remember Roddy’s store on Sandymount Green. It was bought by May’s father, Patrick Roddy in the 1920’s and the property is still owned by the family today. May’s family are originally from a farming background in Ardee, County Louth.

Pictured: How Roddy’s shop on Sandymount Green used to look.

May took over the running of the store after her father passed away, and she dedicated her life to the business and looking after her family. May had three sisters, Annie, who married and had a family of her own; Monica, who helped out in the shop; and Sissy, who was the housekeeper of the family home. May also had a brother Bernard, known locally as Benny.

Paddy Tuite, May’s nephew recalls some of the many memories he has of life in the shop: “My mam, May’s sister, was a Roddy. They kept pigs and hens in the back and they had a little shop in the front and May ran the shop. They also lived at the back of it and when they would hear the shop bell they’d serve customers any time, day or night. That’s how it was originally when it started off.

“My grandfather died when I was young, then May basically ran everything. She had me checking the eggs up in the loft. I checked them by using a carbon box with a bulb in it and when the light shined through the egg you could see if they were alright. And if they were all okay and there was no blood in them she could sell them in the shop.”

Another nephew of May’s, Tommy Tuite, also has great respect for his aunt: “May is a nice, quiet lady. She devoted her life to the family shop and looking after everyone.

When my grandmother became older, May looked after her and even when my grand-aunts became older and too feeble to live on their own, they moved into the big house and May looked after them too.

“May also worked at the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes in Ballsbridge. It was like the lotto we have today but it raised funds for the hospitals and other health care. One thing that May loves are horses. She would bring all of us to the horse show in the RDS, she never missed a year.”

Also attending the party were some cousins from Ardee in County Louth. Paula Levins explains their history: “My mother Alice McCourt nee Roddy is first cousin to May.

Pictured: A younger May. Both pictures supplied courtesy of Tommy Tuite.

Mammy is 84 so she’s the youngest girl cousin alive and May is the oldest girl cousin alive. We have great memories of coming up to Dublin to see her. She must have a secret but anyone who gets on in life well, like May has, seems to have longevity.”

A notable gift that May received was a letter from President Michael D. Higgins, which her family had framed for her. The president personally wished May a happy birthday and offered his warmest congratulations along with the centenarian bounty, which is due to anyone who turns 100 years old.

By Jessica Ellis