Strokestown native Luke Dolan is now officially Ireland’s oldest man at 105
EATING HIS favourite meal of bacon and cabbage and not drinking alcohol is what Strokestown native Luke Dolan attributes to living a long life after celebrating his 105th birthday.
With confirmation from the President’s Office that he is now officially Ireland’s oldest man, the Cloonfree native celebrated his birthday with family over the June Bank Holiday.
He may only have stopped smoking in his 70s, but it doesn’t appear to have done him much harm to the former farmer who worked long days on his eight acre farm most of his life.
Mr Dolan has good genes on his side. His sister May, died at 106 and his two other sisters Nancy and Nora lived into their 90s. His wife Peggy died at 85, six years ago, and until four years ago, Luke lived in his home in Strokestown. The couple had seven children, John Joe, Tom, Pat, Michael, Madeline, Gerard and Bernadette. He is now a resident in the Sonas Care Centre, Cloverhill, where his son-in-law Seamus is a director. As well as seventeen grandchildren, Mr Dolan is also a great grandfather to 32 children!
Shirley Larkin, Assistant Director of Nursing at Sonas Care Centre, said that Mr Dolan was a great character and congratulated him on reaching his 105th birthday.
“He is the life and soul of the place and certainly is an inspiration to us all. He’s a big fan of Johnny Cash and gives us a song most days. He is an incredibly kind and warm man, with a great sense of humour,” she commented.
Born on June 4th, 1906, Mr Dolan has been alive for the two world wars and the 1916 Easter rising, but it is the Irish War of Independence, which touched his own area of Strokestown, which he remembers most vividly. The Scramogue Ambush, carried out by the IRA on March 23rd, 1921, is a day he will never forget.
“I can remember well the day of the Scramogue Ambush in March 1921 and to this day I can not agree with what happened. It was a terrible incident, any kind of murder is wrong, it doesn’t matter who you are fighting,” he said.
Although his sight is failing, Luke still has a great interest in football and listens to each Roscommon match on the radio and is looking forward to the Connacht final.
Winner of a county championship with Strokestown in 1933, he has fond memories of the Roscommon team of the 1940s that won All-Ireland titles back to back to back to back.
“He could name that team and probably their positions on the day of the finals and remains to this day a hurling and football fanatic,” joked his daughter Madeline.
“For a man of such years, he has been in remarkably good health. He is an incredibly independent man, even still and is very happy here, having plenty of banter with other clients and the staff. Living to 105 and being Ireland’s oldest man is a wonderful achievement,” she concluded.
He is Ireland’s oldest man and last week his family celebrated the birthday of Luke Dolan who was born on June 4th 1906. A father of seven Luke’s wife Peggy passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.
Luke’s son Tom confirmed to the Roscommon People that family members had called at various times throughout the day to celebrate the great occasion.
“His memory is very good and he eats well. He loves a boiled egg every day and would have one three times per day if he wanted to,” he joked.
“He is also the great grandfather to thirty with almost all calling to see him at various stages during the day.”
For the past six years Luke has been a resident of the Sonas care centre, having lived on the family farm at Clonfree Strokestown, all of his life. His son John Joe now lives and works on the farm where Luke grew up with a brother and six sisters. His older sister Mary Kate lived in America until her passing at the age of 106, while his sisters Nora and Nancy lived into their nineties.
In 1932 Luke lined out for Strokestown in the county senior football final, when his side defeated Roscommon Town by 3-02 to 0-01. To this day he retains a great interest in Gaelic Games and he has numerous stories to tell about great games in the past. Luke has a great love of Radio and he knows as much about today’s game as he does about games passed. His grandson (also) Luke Dolan was a Roscommon senior player for a number of years.
When asked what the secret to a long and happy life is, Luke is quick to admit it was the hard work that he performed on the family farm, all those years ago.