An Irishwoman met her 103-year-old mother for the first time after she had spent more than 60 years searching for her.
Eileen Mackin is 81 years old, and was raised in an orphanage in Dublin in the 1930s and 40s.
She always hoped she would one day get to meet her birth mother, and that dream finally came true.
She contacted RTÉ’s Liveline and told the host Joe Duffy about her search. It just so happened that a genealogy expert was listening to the show, and got in touch offering to help Eileen.
A reunion seemed unlikely, given the limited information Eileen had about her mother, and the probable age that she would be by now.
However, they managed to piece the information together and found that Eileen’s mother was still alive and living in Scotland.
The two spoke on the phone, but Eileen had to delay her trip to meet in person as her mother was recovering from an eye operation.
Eileen eventually visited her mother in 2019 and described her journey to RTE. She said: “I just went over with my daughter and my husband and her husband and I knocked on the door and a gentleman opened it, and I told him I was from Ireland and that I had found my mum and could I come to see her, and he said ‘certainly’,”
The man was actually Eileen’s half-brother, and he lived with their mum in Scotland. They went into the front room and Eileen’s mother was sat there.
Eileen explained: “She said: ‘I was born in Ireland,’ and she was thrilled and she never let go of my hands and she put her arms around me.”
Mother and daughter spent some time together and the bond between them was instant.
Eileen said: “She wouldn’t let me go but I was afraid to stay too long with her because she is elderly and I have to respect that. But her son was so lovely and my mum said to me: ‘Oh I wish I could get up and make some tea for you but I don’t think I’ll be able.”
She revealed that despite the seemingly impossible task, she never gave up hope: “I said to my children all my life that I loved this lady but I didn’t know who she was. And that is exactly what I got when I went to the door.
“If you saw her little face, such a happy little lady, she is just fantastic. I can’t believe this surprise I got at this stage in my life, you can’t understand how thrilled I am.”
“I am going around singing, I’m that happy. You have no idea what is has done to me. I’m just so happy and I’m so grateful.”
Eileen and her family spent three days in Scotland before returning to Ireland.