107-YEAR-OLD BRIDGET CALLS IT A DAY
Bridget O’Neill, one of the oldest people in Ireland, passed away peacefully on Tuesday at Strawhall Nursing Home, Fermoy, just three weeks shy of her 108th birthday, writes Antonia Zane.
Bridget, lovingly known as Bride, was born on February 7, 1902. She’s lived a long, healthy life and was active and independent until close to her 100th birthday.
During her long life Bride qualified as a nurse in England, then came back to work in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. She had the distinction of caring for Eamon de Valera’s wife, Sinead, when she fell ill. Later she went into private nursing, finishing her career at the Ursuline Convent in Waterford city.
Bride arrived at Strawhall Nursing Home in 1991 and, according to matron, Ann O’Neill, “she used to walk up and down to the town and visit the library until close to her 100th birthday. She was a great book reader.”
As years passed Bride became more fragile and more dependent on the staff at the nursing home. Communication became poorer in the last few years of her life.
Reaching 100 was an impressive milestone, on which occasion; she received a cheque, a medallion and a letter of congratulations from the office of the president, Mary McAleese.
Then, every year, on her birthday she would receive another medallion and further letter of congratulations. The secret of her longevity? She didn’t give it out if she had the key to it.
She never married, but, surely, that can’t really be it.
Whatever it was, at the end of her life, Bride still looked a picture of health for her advanced years. Removal will take place on this Thursday evening at 7.30pm to the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Coolagown.
A Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 2pm, followed by burial in Britway Cemetery. The Avondhu offers its sincere condolences to the relations and friends of Bride O’Neill. May her soul rest in peace.
Friday 22nd January 10:40am