Ireland’s oldest man, Luke Dolan, died this week at the age of 108.
Not only the oldest man in the country, Luke was also the only man on Irish soil to have ever reached that age.
Before his death, Luke attributed his longevity to eating well and enjoying at least one boiled egg every day. He also hinted his good age could be down to plenty of sugar in his tea and the love of a devoted wife.
Despite his good age, the centenarian never owned a car, preferring to use an “ass and cart”. He drank water from his own well most of his life, working long days and nights on his eight-acre farm in Clonfree, where he lived until into his 100th year.
Though a smoker for many years, Luke kicked the habit at 60 and stayed away from cigarettes for almost 50 years.
At least a part of the secret to his long life can be found in good genetics — Luke’s older sister Mary Kate lived until she was 106 and his other sisters, Nancy and Nora, lived well into their 90s. His grandfather also lived a long life, passing at the age of 104.
Born on June 4, 1906, Luke was one of seven siblings and also had seven children himself; John Joe, Tom, Pat, Michael, Madeline, Gerard and Bernadette. His wife Peggy died in 2005 aged 85.
A big GAA man, Luke won a county football medal with Strokestown in 1933 and also had fond memories of Roscommon winning consecutive All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in ’43 and ’44.
He also lived through two world wars, the 1916 Easter rising, and the Irish War of Independence.
The title of Ireland’s oldest man now passes to 107-year-old Michael Lambert, also from Roscommon, which is the county with the highest life expectancy in Ireland.
Since turning 100, both men received a letter and a medal from the president on each birthday.
Though the two men were only born a year and 20 miles apart, they met for the first time last summer when their children urged them to meet.
A few months ago Michael called to the Cloverhill Private Nursing Home where Luke had moved for the final few years of his life.
The two were quickly dubbed ‘Ireland’s oldest friends’, sharing memories of the good old days.
Luke’s daughter Madeline Faulkner said it was lovely the two got the chance to meet each other while, Michael’s son Michael Lambert Jr said it was an opportunity they didn’t want to miss.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s longest living person is 112-year-old Kathleen Hayes Snavely from Feakle, Co Clare. She currently lives in a nursing home in New York.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved