One of Ireland’s oldest women passes away at the age of 104

One of the country’s longest-lived women, 104-year-old Mary O’Leary from North Cork, will be laid to rest today.

Mary, who passed away on Good Friday at Mallow General Hospital, was a mother of five and featured in a documentary film, The Centenarian Bounty, last year, telling the stories of the last Irish people alive who were born before 1916. She had been the oldest of the interviewees for the documentary.

At the time of recording, she was still living at home with her daughter Geraldine and her family, commenting on how she had little or no difficulty going up and down the stairs 10 times a day.

Mary, who was just weeks shy of her 105th birthday, has 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, and was the recipient of four presidential medals since turning 100 in 2010.

Requiem Mass will be held in St Mary’s Church in Newmarket at 2pm today, ahead of a funeral at Clonfert Cemetery.

Mary had been predeceased by husband Denis almost 40 years ago. She illustrated the extent of her longevity when, in 2011, she told the Evening Echo: “My youngest great-grandchild, Eve, has just been christened and I have three children drawing the pension.”

Having grown up in Cloughduv in mid-Cork she attended school until she was 16. She had no opportunity to go to secondary school, as the nearest school was in Macroom, commenting in 2011 that “there was no opportunity” for further education at that time.

She worked as a housekeeper until she married Denis and moved to Newmarket. The Centenarian Bounty director Alex Fegan said last year: “It’s incredible to think that at the age of 104, she is still able to walk unaided and her memory of her childhood and early life is as clear as anyone I’ve met who’s half her age.”

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