Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ireland's oldest person dies, weeks shy of 110


THE STATE'S OLDEST CITIZEN has passed away just a few weeks short of her 110th birthday. Olivia Breen from Clonroche died at Cork University Hospital after a short illness.

Born on October 3, 1901, Olivia was daughter of James and Eliza (née Watchorn) Dier, one of a family of six. The Diers were of Protestant farming stock. She received her secondary education in New Ross, travelling to school on the Macmine to New Ross railway, boarding at the station in Palace. A keen horsewoman in her youth, she left Clonroche after marrying Garda Patrick Breen in 1932 when her new husband was transferred to County Waterford. A native of Milltown in Kerry, most of his career in the force was spent in Portlaw until he retired in 1957, and it was there that the couple raised their children.

They moved to Dublin before Patrick Breen died in 1964 and Olivia spent 47 years at the latter end of her life without him. She lived much of that time in Cork and became a resident of the Care Choice nursing home in Montenotte during 2001. Always very independent in spirit, she underwent surgery for a new hip at the age of 100 but was otherwise blessed with great good health. She neither drank nor smoke, believing strongly in the benefit of regular meals.

A very private and generous children Michael ( known as Rex), Noel, Florence (McConkey) and Gerard; by her fifteen grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Among her surviving nieces and nephews are Colin Dier and Noel Tector in Clonroche, Neville Tector at Coolbawn in Rathnure and Florence Jenkins in Wexford.

Old enough to recall events of the War of Independence, she lived to enjoy the computer age. She now lies buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with her husband. She is survived by her sons and her daughter, as well as by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. individual, Olivia set great store throughout her long life on hard work and honesty in dealings with others. Always interested in nature, she enjoyed tending her garden. She kept her mind active by reading – listing Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters among her favourite authors – by listening to radio drama and by solving crosswords.

Olivia Breen is survived by her

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