Wednesday 19 June 2019

Secret to a lasting marriage? Just ask our longest married couple - together 72 years

James and Margaret Hurley - the couple are married 74 years
James and Margaret Hurley - the couple are married 74 years
James and Margaret Hurley at Margaret's 90th birthday with their four children Marjorie Ahern, Victoire Fitzpatrick, Breda Hurley and Anne Corrigan.
James and Margaret Hurley - the couple are married 74 years

THIS is the longest-married couple in Ireland. Together for 74 years, Margaret and James Hurley, have been "best friends" all their lives.

Growing up in Fethard, Co Tipperary, James Hurley - a well-known farmer and owner of a truck company - always knew bubbly Margaret was the one for him.

"She is a very gentle, extremely caring and loving woman," said James, (91).

"I always loved her sense of humour, too."


The love-birds married in 1940, when James was 18-years-old and Margaret was 20. They went on to have five children.

The pair currently have 12 grandchildren, aged 22-43 years, and seven great grandchildren, aged six months to 10 years.

Described as a very united couple, the Hurley's brought up their children with a strong sense of family pride.

Margaret (93) said the secret to their happy marriage is being with the right person.

"It's easy to live a long and happy life when you marry your best friend and I always tried to mind it," she said.

"We are extremely close and have always enjoyed each other's company," said Margaret, whose fondest memories are "tipping about Tipperary visiting historical sites".

James, who always liked the idea of "marrying an older woman", he said. "She has given me many happy days and I hope we will never part."

Adoring granddaughter Sophie Fitzpatrick (24), who entered her grandparents in a nationwide search for the longest-married couple in the country, said she has learned what true love really is from her grandparents.

"I've learned that family is absolutely everything in life and they are such amazing role models to all of us," said Sophie, from Rathmines, Dublin. "I'm so proud of them," she said.

In her letter to the Catholic Grandparents Association of Ireland, who blessed the Hurleys and two other long-married couples, at a ceremony in Knock last weekend, Sophie said: "When my grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary three years ago, my grandad told my granny: 'I hope we will never part'.

"I think that is a true sign of pure commitment to one another. As far as I'm concerned I think their marriage is definitely one of the most durable marriages in the country. They truly are best friends."

Eileen and Ned Cusack, married for 70 years and Eileen and Michael Walsh, married 68 years, were also celebrated at the ceremony.


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