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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Great-gran Mary dies at 108 after living life 'one day at a time'

Mary Coyne was born in 1911
Mary Coyne was born in 1911

Ireland's oldest person, who has died at the age of 108, once attributed her longevity to taking life "one day at a time".

Mary Coyne, from Co Roscommon, died peacefully in the Aras Mhathair Phoil Community Nursing Unit in Castlerea yesterday in her 109th year.

The mother-of-two and great-grandmother, whose maiden name was Griffin, was originally from Rathbarna, Castlerea.

Mrs Coyne became the oldest person in Ireland following the death of Dubliner Elizabeth Dempsey last year in her 108th year.

Her funeral will take place today at 11am in St Patrick's Church, Castlerea.

She was born in a year that saw momentous historical events happening here and elsewhere.

On May 31, 1911, the hull of the Titanic was launched at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Unsinkable

Although she would be too young to remember, Mary was around when the 'unsinkable' liner hit an iceberg a year later.

It sank off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

The year of her birth also saw King George V crowned in London.

He and Queen Mary made the first and last royal visit to Dublin that century.

The year also saw the statue of Charles Stewart Parnell erected on Sackville Street in Dublin.

It was also the first time Greenwich Mean Time was used here after Dublin City Council voted to use it over Irish time, which was deemed a trade handicap as it was 25 minutes behind GMT.

It also marked the founding of the Irish Women's Suffrage Foundation.

On her 100th birthday, Mrs Coyne said her long life was down to "taking life one day at a time".

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