One hundred years is a great milestone to reach. The Nire Valley has just such a milestone with Denis McGrath, always known as Dinny, who celebrates his 100th birthday on February 9.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the traditional celebrations are on hold.
Dinny has always been a central character in The Nire. One of seven children, he was always a hard worker, both on the family farm and could be seen working on neighbouring farms, threshing, ploughing, shearing and anything else that was needed.
At the age of 27, Dinny was spotted by a photographer who was taking photos for an advert campaign for John West Salmon. Dinny’s picture was used and the caption read: “He’ll be coming home hungry.”
Dinny and his wife Anne married in 1958 and went on to raise a large family, 15 children to be exact. They are still together and will hopefully celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary this coming April.
Dinny is a man of great wit and humour. He always has a story and he seems to know everyone. He was a gravedigger in The Nire for over 50 years and people still come from all over the world looking for their ancestors; Dinny is only too happy to oblige.
He was very close to his siblings growing up, Nellie, Nora, Willie and Ned, sadly losing a brother John and sister Mary when they were young.
Medicine wasn’t then what it is now. His sister Nora had a shop on O’Connell Street, Clonmel for over 50 years, J Murphy, just across from Bob Fitzgerald’s.
Dinny also helped to launch the Comeragh Nire Valley Trail Guide in 2012. He felt at home in front of the camera. Dinny still lives at home with his wife Anne and they are supported by their family.
Their house was always full, always celebrating some birthday or anniversary.
They are a very close family and Covid-19 has put a stop on all celebrations for the moment. But, rest assured, when things get better “there will be a mighty celebration for Dinny”.