‘I can still recite poetry I learned in school’ – one of Ireland’s oldest women turns 107

One of Ireland’s oldest women turned 107 last Tuesday and her mind remains so bright, she can still recall her first day at school in 1919!

etired farmer Bridget Tierney, a great-great-grandmother from Loughduff in Co Cavan, believes the secret to longevity is homegrown food, a calm, positive mindset and hard work.

Indeed, Bridget — whose eight surviving children, Mary, Margaret, Pauline, John, Betty, Tom, Kitty and Patricia, are all old-age pensioners — is up at the crack of dawn every day and starts her morning with her own freshly made porridge.

The grandmother of 30, great-grandmother of 45 and great-great-grandmother of four has lived through world wars and pandemics.

“I was four on my first day in school,” Bridget recalls. “I remember I started the same day as my sister Elizabeth, who was six. It is as clear to me as if it were yesterday.

“I can still recite the poetry I learned in national school. I try and keep my mind active by doing crosswords, watching quiz shows and keeping up with current affairs.

“I don’t do much cooking anymore — but I always help to wash the dishes afterwards!”

Bridget has always had a love of politics and can remember walking to Granard as a child to hear Michael Collins speaking. “I have voted in every election since I got my vote, and I am proud of that.”  

All the neighbours in Loughduff have continued to visit Bridget over the years, and they always enjoy her sense of humour and sound advice. Her daughter Kitty Cullen says it is always a pleasure to visit her mother. “She brings a sense of calmness and happiness to all our lives. Mammy was widowed in 1983. She worked just as hard on the farm as our father, Patrick. She has been a tower of strength to us all, especially since she lost her beloved son Vincent in November 2021. She is very family-oriented.”

Remarkably, all of Bridget’s family have come to see her over the past few days for this legendary birthday, including her granddaughter Deirdre Tierney, who flew in from Fort Lauderdale in Florida.  

“I’m so delighted to be able to spend this momentous birthday with my grandmother,” she says. “I hated missing her birthdays over the pandemic. A visit with Granny always leaves you with a sense of peace, serenity and pride. She is a living legend.”

Belfast Telegraph