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‘She never let go of my hand’: Woman, 81, meets mother, 103, for the first time | UK News



An 81-year-old woman who grew up in an orphanage has met her 103-year-old mother for the very first time.

Eileen Macken had dedicated most of her life to searching for her unknown birth mother, having spent all of her childhood at the Bethany Home residence in Dublin.

Decades later, a genealogist managed to track down her mother, Elizabeth, to Scotland and the pair were united in an emotional meeting ahead of her 104th birthday on Sunday.

Ms Macken was joined by her family for the trip, during which she also found out that she has two half-brothers – one of whom answered the door.

She told RTE that “nothing would stop me trying to get to see her” once she was told her mother was alive.

“I went over to see her and she’s the most beautiful lady, lovely family, they gave me a great welcome,” she said.

“I haven’t got over the acceptance that I got. They accepted me and I had a great chat with my mother.”

Ms Macken spent three days with her mother, who was born in Ireland during the First World War in 1915.

She said they enjoyed a “great chat” and doubts she “will ever come down out of the cloud”.

She added: “She was reading the newspaper and when she saw me, I said we were from Ireland and she said, ‘I was born in Ireland’. She was thrilled and she never let go of my hand.”

The Protestant clergy-run home where Ms Macken grew up is one of a number to have been scrutinised by an Irish-government appointed commission.

Homes of its type were generally institutions where women who became pregnant outside marriage gave birth, after which the babies were adopted.

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