Ireland's oldest woman, Molly Madden, passed another milestone in her long life when she officially became the oldest ever living Mayo person.
On Tuesday, August 25, 108-year-old Molly Madden from Ballycastle became the county’s oldest ever person when she overtook the previous record of 108 years and 260 days. The previous record had been held by Ballindine native Helena Gibbons, who died in Massachusetts on October 18, 2002.
Molly (nee Keane) was born in Galway on December 8, 1906, but she moved with her family at the age of three to the village of Kincon in north Mayo. She later moved to Ballycastle for work and married local man Pat Madden and lived in the seaside village until shortly before her 100th birthday.
She currently resides in the Moy Ridge Nursing Home in Ballina, and according to her grandson John Madden is in “good nick” for a woman of her age.
“You are always proud of your grandmother no matter what age she is, but for her to reach 108 years and be the oldest ever Mayo person, you are of course very proud,” John said.
Molly became the oldest person living in Ireland following the death of Kildare woman Margaret O’Connell, aged 109 years, last December.
In July, she became the oldest living Irish woman following the death in Syracuse, New York, of Co. Clare-native Kathleen Snavely (nee Haynes) aged 113 years.
Molly’s husband, Pat, died in 2009. Together they had four children.
Her grandson, John, who played in goal for Mayo in the 1996 All-Ireland final, said his grandmother is too much of a lady to ask her what her secret to long life is. However, he noted she never smoked or drank and believes a diet of fresh fish and healthy home cooking, along with hard work, may be a contributing factor.