Tuesday 11 December 2018

Bessie Nolan, star of Older Than Ireland, passes away aged 106

Celebrating 100 years: Bessie Nolan in 'Older than Ireland'
Celebrating 100 years: Bessie Nolan in 'Older than Ireland'

Sean Nolan

Dubliner Bessie Nolan, who shot to fame after her starring role in documentary Older Than Ireland, has passed away aged 106.

In a post on the film's Facebook page where her death was announced they described Bessie as 'an inspiration'.

When Alex Fegan's documentary was broadcast on RTÉ in 2016, viewers fell in love with Bessie, who was 103 when the film was shot.

The documentary won wide acclaim as it interviewed Irish men and women who were born before the 1916 Rising.

Bessie, who was seen lighting up a cigarette in the opening shot of the film, became the star and most talked about contributor.

Dubbed 'a hero' by many on Twitter after the documentary was aired, the film makers paid a glowing tribute to her on Facebook last night.

"Ireland’s oldest and most glamorous fashionista always had an interest in style, which was something we immediately noticed when we arrived to interview her. She was the personification of elegance. Sitting down to talk, we compliment her on how stylish she is but she was characteristically modest about and retorted with a quip about how “ancient” she was."

They also recalled a conversation they had with her about death.

“Death doesn’t bother me," Bessie told them. "You live as long as God wants, you can’t die when you want to. You can live too long. What do you want to live for when you’ve nothing to live for? I’ve done all I wanted to do.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris also paid tribute to Bessie last night, calling her an 'amazing person'.

The McAuley Centre in Drimnagh in Dublin also paid tribute to Bessie saying that they would "miss her greatly, all her wonderful stories, her endless encouragement to all her friends and all who knew her. She made a huge impact on anyone who had the privilege of knowing or meeting this amazing Lady."

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