30 Nov 2021

Clonmel centenarian says family and friends helped her reach milestone

Clonmel centenarian says family and friends helped her reach milestone

Frances O’Dwyer celebrates her 100th birthday this Saturday, December 3.

Clonmel adopted Frances O’Dwyer celebrates her 100th birthday this Saturday, December 3. 

She remains in good health, full of love, happiness and gratitude for life’s simple things.

Frances attends Clonmel Day Centre for the Elderly in Irishtown three days a week, and is looking forward to spending Christmas by her cosy electric fire in her home.

Her birthday coincides with the centenary of the 1916 Rising, born just months after such a major event in Irish history.

Originally from Kerry, Frances was initially “very disappointed” when her parents decided to move the family to Clonmel 74 years ago. Her father John O’Dwyer, a native of Ardmayle near Cashel, wanted to return to his roots in county Tipperary when he retired as a stationmaster. 

“My father John, mother Annie, brother John, sisters Annie, Cissy and LuLu, and I lived together in this house when we first moved here,” she remembers. 

Frances missed her friends and made regular trips back to the Kingdom County on holidays for catch ups. However, she soon settled into life in Clonmel when her brother John's wife Anne Barry got her a job in Devlin’s (now Easons) on Gladstone Street. 

 “I spent all my life working in Devlin’s and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I never married because it was mostly girls I palled with,” Frances smiles.  

Frances sadly recalls her father John being confined to bed with a heart condition following his dream return to Tipperary. 

“My father was buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery when he died. My mother, brother and sisters have all passed away too,” she continues. 

But Frances continues to soldier on, praising her carer Winnie Ryan, family, friends and neighbours for their daily support. 

"They are the secret behind keeping me alive," she laughs. 

“Thanks be to God I haven't an ache or pain but I’m stone deaf. I had a funny thing in both my eyes but I got it checked out and I’m fine now. For a minute I was beginning to think I was going blind as well as deaf," she jokes.  

“It’s great that I have a carer who understands me. I get up at 10am, have my breakfast and Winnie comes to see if I’m alive,” she jests. 

“Winnie makes my bed, prepares dinner, asks me what I want to do for the day and puts me to bed at night. I wouldn’t be here without her,” Frances adds.

Happy Birthday Frances, from all at The Nationalist and South Tipp Today. 


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