80th BIRTHDAY: Shelley O’Donoghue Lehane, celebrated her 80th birthday with family and friends in The Killarney Avenue Hotel on Saturday night. Front from left are: Julie, Jerry, Shelley, Pacella and Marguerite Lehane. Back from left are: Seamus and Margaret O’Donoghue, Vincent Sheahan, Eileen Kinsella, Sean and Breege O’Donoghue, Noel and Pearl Tansley and Stephen Murphy. Picture: Eamonn Keogh


It was a night filled with love in abundance as family, friends and neighbours gathered to celebrate the 80thbirthday of one local lady.

It was a big night on Saturday for Pacella O’Donoghue Lehane, known affectionately to all as Shelley.

Her nearest and dearest came together in the Killarney Avenue Hotel and danced the night away as they helped celebrate the big milestone birthday – which Shelley from Dromtarriff was only made aware of hours earlier.

However, that didn’t deter Shelley from having a ball as she never left the dance floor all night.

Shelley’s official birthday is this coming Tuesday, March 12, but her family spent months making arrangements for the perfect party.

And with the party just hours away her husband Jerry and daughters Marguerite, Julie and Pacella who travelled from Chicago for the occasion, let her in on the secret.

The surprise went down very well as daughter Marguerite told the Killarney Advertiser this week that Shelley, who is originally from Flesk Castle, Killarney, was very excited all day and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

“We had to have the party early as she’d have suspected,” Marguerite said.

“The planning had been going on for months and we told her hours earlier as she was supposed to sing with Duhallow Choral Group later that evening for a priest’s retirement party.”

Needless to say Shelley didn’t make it to her group singing session. Instead, she joined her family, neighbours and friends at 8.30pm in the hotel.

And later that night, 10 members of her choral group joined her for her celebration and held an impromptu singing session – and Shelley joined in.

Other family members who made it on the night included Shelley’s brothers Seamus from Mill Road and Sean from Flesk Castle, her sisters Pearl Tansley from Ross Road and Eileen Kinsella who travelled from Wexford. Shelley’s grandson Tommy, Marguerite’s son, who is just a year-and-a-half old made a brief appearance before heading to bed early. There were plenty of cousins and other relatives from Killarney and surrounds as well as from Wexford. All enjoyed a buffet and a cake, as well as plenty of dancing as Dermot and Irene Ring provided the music on the night, Marguerite added.

“It was a really really great night – the happiness and joy was in abundance. She did not miss a second of it. She is still on a high, feeling so loved.”