It was reported this week that Ireland’s oldest woman had died aged 108, Mary Coyne in Roscommon.
But it depends what you mean by Ireland.
As a shorthand for the Irish Republic, Mrs Coyne might have been the oldest. She was born on March 30 1911.
But there is someone on the island who was born almost two years earlier than that,on July 3 1909.
That person is Maud Nicholl, and today (Wednesday) she celebrated the astonishing milestone of her 110th birthday in Randalstown.
This means that she is now considered to be a so-called super centenarian, a select group of the oldest people on Earth. There are thought to be only 17 in the United Kingdom.
The last person to turn 110 in this Province might be as far back as Elizabeth Yensen in Holywood, who celebrated her 110th birthday in 2005.
Miss Nicholl was toasted earlier today by care staff, friends, politicians, ministers and family at the place where she now lives, Glenkeen nursing home.
Neither Maud nor her only sibling, her late brother Joe, ever had children so her nearest living relative, her first cousin once removed, Maureen Luke, 82, who also lives in Glenkeen, gave a birthday address to mark the occasion, recounting how she knew Maud from her earliest memories.
Among those in attendance were Maud’s 57-year-old first cousin twice removed, Stephen Luke, her neighbours, Jacqueline and Laura Lynn (Maud lived at home in Wood Green until a fall last year), her minister at Wellington Presbtyerian, Rev Alistair Bates, and the moderator, Rev William Henry.
Also present were the operations manager of Hutchinson homes, Eddy Kerr, the mayor and deputy mayors of Mid and East Antrim, Maureen Morrow and Beth Adger. Ms Adger, an old friend and neighbour of Maud, said: “You couldn’t ask for a jollier person. To reach 110 is remarkable.”
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