Identical twins celebrate 99th birthday as glamorous past recalled

Identical Cork twins Joan Barrett and Kay Bogan have celebrated their 99th birthdays as their family and carers recall their glamorous past.

Ms Barrett was a confectioner with the iconic Thompson’s Bakery, who made poet Patrick Kavanagh’s wedding cake and attended his nuptials.

She went to Boston as a nanny to a prominent family who included her in all their glittering social engagements, including Kennedy weddings.

Ms Bogan, meanwhile, held the prestigious post of head usherette at the Savoy Cinema in Cork.

Staff at Darraglynn Nursing Home in Douglas, Cork attributed the twins’ longevity to their positive attitude to life, with director of nursing Mary Conroy saying it was heartwarming to see the siblings mark such a milestone age together.

“Joan is in better health. She sings, she dances and is mobile around the home. She is great. She is coherent and entertaining. The sisters cut their cake this morning.

“They are very happy and content. Kay is here over two years and Joan is here since July. Kay is much more frail but they are very identical.

“Joan said that they would fight when they were young but they would always love each other and make up. Joan can’t really believe she is 99 at all.”

Ms Barrett said she was enjoying every minute of the festivities. “We are having a cake and the family are here,” she said.

Tipperary to Boston

The twins were born on December 10th, 1922 at North Main Street, initially living with cousins who owned a pub. Their father was an injured member of the Welsh Fusiliers in the first World War and the family moved to houses built for ex-military in Whitethorn, Douglas Road.

They had four other siblings.

Ms Bogan was head usherette in the Savoy in the 1940s and into the 1950s. She had to leave her position when she married in 1957.

Jim Bogan was a a watchmaker and musician who died suddenly at the age of 50 in 1974 and Ms Bogan raised three children in their Anglesea Terrace home. In later life, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Kinsale Road before moving to the nursing home in recent years. She has one granddaughter and one grandson.

Ms Barrett worked in Thompson’s in the 1940s and moved to Tipperary and Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s. She went to the US in 1972, becoming a nanny to two children there. She remained with the Boston family for more than 20 years, even after the children had grown up and left home.

The family brought her on vacations to Martha’s Vineyard and Florida.

In 1996 she returned to the family home in Whitethorn to care for her older sister who died in 2003. She lived there independently until July of this year.

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