Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

100-year-old is grandparent of year

Grandfather of the Year Andrew O' Brien greets his great-granddaughter Caoimhe Casey and her parents Charlotte and Kevin
Former Dublin bus driver Andrew O'Brien, 100, named Grandfather of the Year, says he is a very lucky man
100-year-old Andrew O' Brien, pictured with his great-granddaughter Caoimhe Casey, was named Grandfather of the Year

A 100-year-old great-grandfather said his family is worth all the money in the world as he was crowned Grandparent of the Year.

Dubliner Andrew O'Brien said he was a very lucky man, after been chosen by a panel of judges from Friends of the Elderly and Cadbury Roses.

"I remember years ago down in Ballina, I remember going to a fortune teller at a carnival and she told me I'd always be lucky but I'd never be rich," he said. "But I am rich with a family. They are worth all the money in the world."

The plucky pensioner, who celebrated his milestone birthday in February, has had five children, 22 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren - including newest addition, two-week-old Jane O'Brien.

The former bus driver still lives in the family home in Crumlin, which he shared with his wife Jane since March 17, 1939, with daughters Joan, 65, and Janet, 50, and 12-year-old granddaughter Shauna Johnstone - who nominated her grandfather because she believes he is the best in Ireland.

"He's brilliant to live with, he's never grumpy. He's just absolutely amazing for his age," he said. "He's just brilliant to get on with."

Mr O'Brien, who was left heartbroken when his wife Jane died in 2002 after 66 years of marriage, admitted he also a special soft spot for his granddaughter.

"Oh Shauna, she's my favourite. She's a great kid she is," he continued. "Her, her mammy and Joan, the three of them are looking after me well. There's never a dull moment."

Mr O'Brien started out as a bus conductor before becoming a driver and achieving 48 years of accident-free service in CIE.

He got the chance to sit in the driver's seat again when a double decker bus parked outside Dublin's Merrion Hotel where the award ceremony took place.

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