Happiness is a 74-year long marriage to ‘your best friend’ according to the longest-married couple in Ireland.

Friends and family have toasted Tipperary couple James and Margaret Hurley after their granddaughter nominated them in a competition to find Ireland’s longest-married couple.

Childhood sweethearts, the couple married when Margaret was 20 and James was just 18 in 1940.

Now 93 and 91 respectively, they have five children, 12 grandchildren ranging in age from 43 to 22 and seven great grandchildren between 10 years and six months.

A well known farmer and truck company owner in the town of Fethard, James told the Herald newspaper that he always knew bubbly Margaret was the one for him.

He said: “She is a very gentle, extremely caring and loving woman. I always loved her sense of humour, too.”

Margaret told the paper that the secret to their happy marriage is being with the right person.

She said: “It’s easy to live a long and happy life when you marry your best friend and I always tried to mind it.

“We are extremely close and have always enjoyed each other’s company.”

James added that he was delighted to marry an ‘older’ woman.

He added: “She has given me many happy days and I hope we will never part.”

Their 24-year-old granddaughter Sophie Fitzpatrick entered the couple in the competition and told judges that she has learned what true love really is from her grandparents.

The Dublin girl said: “I’ve learned that family is absolutely everything in life and they are such amazing role models to all of us.

“I’m so proud of them. When my grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary three years ago, my granddad told my granny: ‘I hope we will never part.’

“I think that is a true sign of pure commitment to one another. As far as I’m concerned I think their marriage is definitely one of the most durable marriages in the country. They truly are best friends.”

James and Margaret Hurley.Herald