Ireland’s oldest citizen dies at the age of 108

The year she was born Ireland was part of the United Kingdom and King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited the country.

There was an anti-Jewish pogrom in Limerick and discontent among republicans with the creation of Sinn Féin the following year.

Mary Kate Byrne, Ireland’s oldest citizen, lived through some of the most momentous moments in Irish and world history. Also known as Poppy, Mary Kate was born on Aug 14, 1904, and celebrated her 108th birthday this year in the company of her large family. She became Ireland’s oldest citizen in 2011 after the death of Anastasia Kelly who was also 108 and from Laois.

Predeceased by her husband William, son Joe and daughter Lilly, Mary Kate, from Maganey, a village on the Laois-Kildare border, lived beside four generations of her family. She was visited by friends every day at and lived near her sons, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

She attributed her legendary longevity to steering clear of alcohol, processed foods, and biscuits. She wasn’t beyond the odd treat, though, and every morning enjoyed a hearty Irish breakfast.