Dublin: 2 °C Friday 26 February, 2021

Happy Leap Year: 'Today is my uncle's 21st. He's 84.'

Ireland holds the record for most consecutive generations born on 29 February…

It comes but once every four years...
It comes but once every four years...
Image: Jessica F via Flickr/Creative Commons

DUBLIN LORD MAYOR Andrew Montague is 11 today and adventurer Mark Pollock (see the Mark Pollock Trust), the first blind Irishman to walk to the South Pole, is 9.

That’s in Leap Year… years. The two men are among thousands of Irish people celebrating their birthday on the actual date they were born – which happens to fall only once every four years. Some of TheJournal.ie‘s Facebook fans told us how being born on 29 February had affected their birthday celebrations over the years.

Eileen Shields shared an amazing story – she said she has a friend who was born on 29 February, along with her twin brother. “But here’s the thing,” wrote Eileen, “the family also has another set of twins (boy and girl) born four years later on 29 Feb – I kid you not – they are actually in the Guinness book of records. What are the odds?”

As it turns out, the Guinness World Records site lists another astonishing Leap Year birth story which originated in Ireland. It says:

The only verified example of a family producing three consecutive generations born on 29 February is that of the Keoghs. Peter Anthony (Ireland) (b.1940), his son Peter Eric (UK) (b.1964) and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth (UK) (b.1996) all celebrate their birthdays infrequently every four years.

Other readers’ stories included:

  • AnneMarie Forristal: “Tomorrow is my uncle’s 21st! Guess his actual age? (He’s 84)”
  • Karen Dowley: “I know twins who were born 10 minutes apart and one of them is 48 and the other is 12!”
  • David Spain’s mother will be “15″ today and Suzanne Malone’s mother will be “16″, Therese Hunt will be “10″, Valerie Doherty will be “12″.
  • Eimear Harkin: “I was born on a leap year. I will be 7 tomorrow! It sounds so much better than my real age!! I used to hate it as a child as my sister and cousin used to tell me I wouldn’t be getting any pressies as it wasn’t my real birthday. They had me in tears! I celebrate it on the 28th usually. I wasn’t born in March so why should I celebrate it in March?”

On a non-leap year, David Spain’s mum celebrates her birthday on 1 March, as does Therese Hunt because “I was not born yet on the 28th”. However, all agree that Leap Year Day is a special one every four years. Eimear Harkin embraces the idea that she is still single numbers in leap year terms:

For my ’6th’ birthday I threw a real 6th birthday, I sent out My Little Pony invitations to the girls and Batman ones to the boys. I also had party bags, rice krispy buns and we played pass the parcel! Although the surprises in the party bags were adult-themed and also in the parcels!

If it’s not your birthday today and you’re feeling left out, there is another tradition some unmarried women might consider observing. Word of warning: Might result in a Hollywood remake like this…

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