Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan of Ardcavan in Castlebridge, just outside Wexford town, may be Ireland’s oldest person. She will be 106 on her next birthday in April of this year. She lives with her daughter and son-in-law, Maudie and Joe Kehoe, and most of the time “I don’t do a tap. I don’t go beyond the gate.” She has three children, six grandchildren and nine greatgrandchildren and is sound of limb, sight and hearing.

She very much enjoyed voting in the last election: “I went down for the voting and I don’t know how many men came and asked me for my vote. Of course I said yes to all of them.” She and her family are staunch Labour voters, so Brendan Howlin got her number one. Mary has lived in Castlebridge all her life and came from a family of six children. Her father worked on “the cots” – river boats that transported corn, coal and other necessities up and down the Slaney and were moved by “poling”. She went to school until she was 12: “All I had was a jotter and a pencil. God help us! We learned nothing that time.”