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Ireland’s oldest woman Nancy Stewart welcomed home son she hadn’t seen during the pandemic shortly before she died aged 107


Nancy Stewart at her home in Clonard Co. Meath with her granddaughter Louise Coghlan. Photograph by Gerry Mooney

Nancy Stewart at her home in Clonard Co. Meath with her granddaughter Louise Coghlan. Photograph by Gerry Mooney

Nancy Stewart. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

Nancy Stewart. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson


Nancy Stewart at her home in Clonard Co. Meath with her granddaughter Louise Coghlan. Photograph by Gerry Mooney

The heartbroken granddaughter and “best friend” of one of Ireland's oldest women said her grandmother died peacefully at home, after being reunited with her son who hadn't been home for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Nancy Stewart from Clonard, Co Meath, died peacefully early on Friday morning, aged 107.

The much loved woman, who was older than the State, left people smiling during the pandemic when she appeared across social media alongside her granddaughter Louise Coghlan with messages of hope and positivity.

Nancy, who always had a glint in her eye and a smile on her face made surprise phone calls to people around the world while in isolation and received many calls from celebrities including Daniel and Majella O'Donnell.

She survived two World Wars, the War of Independence and two pandemics and had been cocooning at her home where she has lived for the last 83 years.

Its believed she was Ireland’s oldest woman who still lived in her own home.

Her granddaughter Louise said her gran had been in terrific health in recent weeks and had even discarded her glasses and hearing aid.

"She was in great form. She didn't need her glasses and her hearing aid went in the bin,” she said.

"In the last week, two friends that she hadn't seen since before Covid-19 and were precious to her visited and her son came home from England and he hasn't been home either because of the restrictions.

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"I think myself she was holding on for those moments.

"She had her tea on Thursday and was as high as a kite. Later that night she felt uneasy but didn't know what was wrong. She died peacefully later.

"She was delighted with all the cards and parcels she received from all over the world because of the social media posts and videos that we created."

In a Facebook post, the devastated Louise wrote: "I'll never be able to put into words how broken my heart is yet, how full of love and gratitude it is for one human who gave me all I need to see the world in a forever kind and generous way.

"You were my world for so long and for so many others, but now we much let God, my dad and all the angels and saints be blessed with your presence.

"Forever the other half of my heart, forever my reason to smile, even when I feel low. The world doesn't seem half as bright without you in it, but I know you will help me find my sparkle when the time is right.

"We will meet again and when we do, I know you will have the kettle on. All my love from here to eternity. Don't worry, I'll turn the lights off before I close my eyes tonight. My best friend forever. Lou."

In the last 18 months, Nancy issued a letter to all parishes asking people to look out for each other

On her birthday on October 16 last year, she said: "I don't feel 107. I feel half that to be honest. It's all about good food, good friends and always looking on the bright side of life. I think that's the secret to a good life

"I can't believe I'm the oldest person in Ireland living in my own home. I don't feel that old. When God wants me, he will come and take me but for now, I will keep enjoying my life, I'll keep loving my family and I'll keep saying my prayers day by day, oh, and not to forget eating lots of good wholesome food is my tip.

"Good food and lots of tea is my secret to a long life as well as keeping positive as best we can. We must always look forward and hope for the best."

Nancy, who was born in 1913, lost her husband Bob in a car crash in 1989 and her twin daughters Margaret and Anne passed away in the last ten years.

She has three daughters Kathleen, Mary and Olive, one son Finian and 84 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Nancy's funeral Mass takes place on Sunday at 2pm in St Finian's Church, Clonard, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery. Due to Government advice, the capacity of the church is limited to 50pc.

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