ONE of the country's oldest women has died at the age of 107 having joined her family for dinner one final time this Christmas.
Margaret Mitchell, originally from Aughnacliffe, Co Longford, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday night following a chest infection.
It was the first time that she had taken to her bed following illness, according to her son-in-law Lawrence O'Carroll.
Lawrence and his wife Myra had cared for Mrs Mitchell in her final years at their home in Eskra, Co Tyrone, though she had lived largely independently in Dublin until the age of 100.
Margaret was the third-oldest person in Ireland. Born Margaret Smyth in 1906, Mrs Mitchell vividly remembered her parents discussing the news that the Titanic had gone down in the Atlantic when she was six years of age.
She lost her father at a young age and worked on the family farm in her early years. In 1924, at the age of 18, she left for America, working for a time in the famous Plaza Hotel in New York before training to become a paediatric nurse.
She returned to Ireland for a visit in 1933 and then again in 1939 for the ordination of her brother, this time returning for good. She married Leitrim farmer Patrick Mitchell in 1944, the same year she lost her brother in World War II.
The couple raised their two daughters, Myra and Margaret, in Cloone, Co Leitrim, before moving to Dublin in 1971. Though grief-stricken by the death of her husband and daughter Margaret, who died in 1994, Margaret bore her losses stoically.
"She never talked of death -- she was always a very positive person for whom the glass was always half full," said Lawrence.
Asked the secret of her longevity in an interview with a local paper last year, Mrs Mitchell replied: "Take life easy."
Her funeral will take place tomorrow morning in Cloone, Co Leitrim.