Belfast Telegraph

Ireland's oldest person dies in her sleep at the age of 108

By Allison Bray

Ireland's oldest citizen has died at the ripe old age of 108.

Sarah Treasa Clancy, from Carraroe, Connemara, passed away peacefully in her sleep yesterday morning, according to relatives.

The native Irish speaker shared her May 2 birthday with local legend Colm de Bhailís, who died at the age of 110 two years before she was born in 1908.

Ms Clancy never celebrated her birthdays and loved to keep her neighbours guessing about her age, according to a recent profile in the Connacht Tribune newspaper.

She had eight siblings, all of whom predeceased her.

However, she never lost touch with her childhood home Sruthan, and returned there in 1988 after moving to Boston, where she worked as a cook and maid to wealthy Bostonians for 50 years.

Although she never married or had children of her own, she loved children and would answer their letters to Santa.

She stopped babysitting local children at the age of 95, according to her nephew Petie Mac Donagh, who along with his wife Patricia cared for Sarah at her home.

While she would occasionally get respite care at the local HSE-run nursing home, Aras Mhic Dara, Sarah once remarked about the "very old-looking" residents of the home despite being over a century old herself.

She also refused to be ferried around in a wheelchair until she hit 107.

Officials from the nursing home were unavailable for comment last night.

But local county councillor Sean O Tuairisg paid tribute to her as "an exceptional woman".

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