Skip to main site content.
Eileen Macken, 81, with her mother Elizabeth, 104. (Twitter)
Eileen Macken, 81, with her mother Elizabeth, 104. (Twitter)

‘Wonderful happiness’

Woman, 81, joyfully reunites with 103-year-old mother following lifelong search

By WITW Staff on May 13, 2019

Eileen Macken, 81, grew up in a Dublin orphanage and searched unsuccessfully for her birth mother for more than six decades before hearing from a genealogist who had managed to track her down. Speaking to RTÉ, Macken said that she finally met her birth mother, Elizabeth, and two of her half-brothers in Scotland last month. On Saturday, Elizabeth celebrated her 104th birthday.

“I went over to see her and she’s the most beautiful lady, lovely family, they gave me a great welcome,” Macken recalled. “Honestly I haven’t got over the acceptance that I got.”

Macken, who says she was just 19 when she first began her lifelong effort to identify her birth mother, described her three-day visit with Elizabeth as one of the happiest moments of her life. Her mother, she said, was initially confused by her appearance. But after Macken explained that she was her daughter, “she was thrilled and she never let go of my hand.”

“I felt, how could I be one person on this planet and having nobody — I had to go and search,” said Macken. “We had three days of wonderful happiness that I’ve never ever had before. I don’t think I’ve done any work in the house [since coming back], I’m that happy. I’m going around singing. You’ve no idea what it’s done to me, I’m just so happy.”

Watch video coverage of the story below.

Read the full story at RTÉ and BBC News.


Seemingly against all odds, mother and son reunited after 31 years apart

South Korean and North Korean families briefly reunite in bittersweet meetings near border

Migrant girl, 6, whose cries were caught on tape is reunited with mother