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Ireland’s oldest man celebrates 107th birthday!

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IRELAND’S OLDEST: Michael J O'Connor who celebrated his 107th birthday on Tuesday is Ireland's oldest man. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

 

Not only is he the oldest man in Killarney or even Kerry - but Michael J O'Connor - who celebrated his 107th birthday on Tuesday - is Ireland's oldest man!

And it's a title he's very proud of - as he wasn't expected to live past the age of six after contracting the Spanish Flu. But after months in bed he eventually recovered. Unfortunately his mother Bridie, a teacher in Glencar, succumbed to the illness some months later. His father Daniel, also a teacher in Glencar, died in his 40s.

On Tuesday, the champagne was flowing at his home in Muckross, and there were so many cards that he hadn't had time to open them all!

Not many can say that they have experienced the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War One and Two - but Michael, who worked at sea and then went onto a career in aviation, also remembers the only mode of transport being a horse and cart to get from his home place to Killarney for shopping - to later in life experiencing the contrast with two trips on a Concord to New York.

Michael also went from using the social media of the day - Morse code - in his early career, to later learning to how to send text messages.

Today he says he's agile and "thankfully comfortable" and enjoyed all the well wishes, cards and presents including his seventh medal from the president.

"107 years ago I kicked myself into this world," Michael told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
"I was born in Glencar to Daniel and Bridie, I travelled the world for five years, three in the last war. I then changed to aviation in the early '40s and stayed in aviation for the rest of my life based in Ballygreen between Shannon and Ennis."

Michael came to Killarney 40 years ago in 1980 with his wife Joan, who died in 2008.

"I built a holiday home up the side of a mountain a few years before I retired. Then, when I retired, I sold the house in Limerick and have been here ever since. There's no nicer place in the world - and I've been around most of it!"

SECRET TO A LONG LIFE

Michael let the Killarney Advertiser in on a little secret, saying he puts his longevity down to a daily glass of whiskey.

"The secret is a glass of Red Breast Whiskey every night before bed," he said.

With COVID, he thinks it's very unfair that it has happened but feels people should do as they're asked and stay within the confines of their home as much as possible.

These days he is enjoying his time with his family and watching the History Channel on Sky - and not many can say they have lived through most of it!

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Spa GAA lights up – continues each Wednesday night

By Sean Moriarty Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative. The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative.

The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held a candle-light vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy, the Offaly school-teacher who was murdered while out for a walk two weeks ago.

“Participants can follow the walking track that offers a safe off-road path and this activity is open to everyone in the community. If anyone would be available to help with registration or stewarding any night, all help is greatly appreciated,” said club PRO Deirdre O’Sullivan-Darcy.

Any volunteers that can help any evening or any questions please contact Margaret Doyle on 0879181970.

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Specialists to examine Killarney trees ahead of future storms

By Sean Moriarty Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district. The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district.

The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. 
One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen tree blocked access to the Moll’s Gap road near Muckross.
Both Cllrs John O’Donoghue and Donal Grady raised the issue at a recent Killarney Municipal District meeting.
“In order to mitigate against such events, the Killarney MD Office are in the process of preparing tender documents to procure assessment of specific trees that are in the charge of Kerry County Council.” A council official told the meeting.
“This will allow the MD to make determinations on individual trees in its charge. Individual property owners are responsible for the welfare and maintenance of trees within and along the boundary of their property lines.”

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