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106 Year Old Bridie Duggan Daly’s Nostalgic Trip To Lorrha School

Thursday, 9 March 2017

106 Year Old Bridie Duggan Daly’s Nostalgic Trip To Lorrha School thumbnailPictured in Lorrha NS last week was 106 year old Bridie Duggan Daly with staff members

'THIS brings me back to my days in school,' said 106 year old Bridie Duggan Daly when she visited Lorrha NS last week.
The remarkable native Irish woman is on holidays from the US, visiting relations in Lorrha, and she dropped into Lorrha NS last week where two of her young relatives, Lisa and Niall Duggan, are pupils.
Bridie, as she is known to all, was interviewed for the news on TG4 when she arrived at the home of her late brother Tom Duggan in Portland, Lorrha last week. 'I can't believe all the fuss about me and everyone is so good to me' she said. She was treated like a queen everywhere she went and she explained how management at Shannon Airport presented her with 'a lovely rose bowl display' on her arrival. 'I like to have a little drop of Jameson every now and again so when I went to visit my husband's people in Cork, Jameson Distillers treated me to lunch' she said. They also gave her a tour of their distillery and she filled a bottle of whiskey which they presented to her before she left. ' I couldn't believe it', said Bridie.
Looking like an 80 year old and walking with the aid of a stick, Bridie visited Lorrha NS where her great-grandniece Lisa and great-grandnephew Niall Duggan are pupils. She was treated to some Irish dancing by Lisa and her fellow pupils while Niall played the tin whistle with his class mates. 'It's an honour to be here and to see all those lovely children. I'm so happy to be here, this visit has made my trip. It's a real treat because I never expected to be here and it brings me back to my days in school,' said an excited Bridie as she joined in with the singing and watched the children dancing with great interest.
It was indeed wonderful to watch this super lady reading from the song book without glasses and when asked if she needed them she replied 'they are in my bag, I don't need them I can see the print'. Neither does she need hearing aids as was obvious as the chat continued.
School Principal Olive O'Meara welcomed Bridie to the school and thanked her for coming. She said it was a 'memorable and pleasurable occasion for everyone, but especially for the pupils who will hold this occasion in their hearts for years to come'.
Born Bridget Duggan in the parish of Ballinakill, Loughrea in Co. Galway on February 13th 1911, Bridget was one of ten children, six brothers and three sisters. She is quick to explain why she is called Bridie and not Bridget. 'My parents christened me Bridget but because I had a aunt and a cousin called Bridget, they decided to call me Bridie to avoid confusion so that's how I got the name and it has stayed with me,' she said.
On April 29th 1929 at the age of 18, Bridie left her family behind and emigrated to the US. Her brother Tom brought her to Cobh to board the boat. Her parents had arranged that she would live with her Aunt and cousins in Somerville, Massachusetts. 'My cousin got me a job as a nanny when I went over first but then some time later I went to work in St Joseph's Church in Somerville.'
Somerville had a big Irish community there and Bridie said it was like being in Ireland, only there was a lot more people.
Her first visit home was in 1936 and when she returned a few weeks later, she went with some friends to an Irish dance where she met her future husband William Daly from Cork. 'We went to Irish dances every week and we met up with all the other Irish and that's how we all got to know each other' she said. They married in 1939 and went on to have six children, four boys, Bill, David, Michael and Jerry, and two girls Mary Anne and Kathleen. 'Imagine three of my sons Bill, David and Jerry are gone since' she said. Her husband died a young man in 1960 with family aged from 16 to 4 years, and is buried in Arlington Cemetery near Boston.
Bridie felt the time had come to visit home again so the following year, she brought three of her children to Ireland to visit her mother. 'Hadn't I courage' she laughs. Her aunt paid for the visit back home and she said that she got a great welcome from family and neighbours. She spent the summer in Ballinakill and the children had a great time she said. She returned again five years later with her two daughters and her youngest son Jerry. He returned several times with her before he passed away. On this occasion she was accompanied by her daughter Kathleen and son in-law Bill. She celebrated her 100th birthday here in Ireland six years ago and has returned every two years since. 'I love coming over to see everyone' said Bridie who hasn't lost her Irish ascent.
Showing off her very first passport that she still has and some old photographs with her husband and children in years gone by, Bridie says there was nothing in Ireland for her all those years ago and that she had a good life in the U.S. However, she can never forget her roots and her relatives and looks forward to visiting. 'Since I turned 100, the Irish President sends me a big silver medal every year. It has the harp on it and the name of the president too' she said.
Bridie is a happy and contented lady who says that the key to her longevity is that she lived and enjoyed every day and she prays too every day for good health 'so He must be listening to me' she laughs.

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