Ireland’s number one mum Esther Kelly-Keating loves a challenge but was completely gobsmacked when her daughter Charlotte nominated her for the title.
The newly crowned Woman’s Way and Beko Mum of the Year works in a nursing home where she is the nursing director.
A mother of four, Esther began her medical training in Britain when she was 17. She came back to Ireland with her husband and began working in a care centre.
In 2008 she went back to college and attained a higher graduate diploma in gerontology from University College Dublin. “Once I knew that was the field I was going to specialise in I wanted to be the best,” said Esther.
“I wanted to have so much knowledge that I could deliver excellence in care and keep abreast of current and best practice.
“Midwives have the pleasure of bringing people into the world. We in gerontology have the great privilege of being with people in their last days.”
When her marriage ended, Esther began setting new challenges for herself.
Last year she travelled to Borneo, an island in the West Pacific, to observe orangutans in their natural habit and she hopes to return there someday to work with the animals as a volunteer.
“I think having a challenge keeps you young; it keeps your brain healthy,” said Esther.
The 15 finalists and Celebrity Mum of the Year Lucy Kennedy attended a special lunch in the Thomas Prior Hall in Dublin.
Lucy, a working mum of three, is currently filming of a new series of RTÉ’s Living with Lucy that will see her move in with 10 celebrities.
Woman’s Way editor Aine Toner said the awards, now in their 14th year, reward the work mums do for their families and communities.
“It’s been another emotional year but one that highlights the dedication and courage of women across Ireland,” said Ms Toner.
Rebecca Conlon, from Athea, Co Limerick, who was nominated by her partner, Anthony, was chosen as the Munster Mum of the year.
One of her sons, Adam, 7, has a severe form of Mowat-Wilson syndrome, a genetic condition that affects fewer than 150 children worldwide.
Just before Adam’s second birthday, Rebecca’s husband, Joe, died from a brain tumour.
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