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'I don't feel like I'm going to be 100. I still feel like I'm 30'


Mary Richardson

Mary Richardson

Mary Richardson

"I was born in Woodford, Co Galway, and was educated in the Convent of Mercy School. I remember doing my homework under the old paraffin lamp that was hanging on the wall.

My earliest memory is trying to understand the word emigration and wondering what or where was America. Six members of our neighbouring family, the Fords, had all emigrated, and one of the farm labourers had left for America too.

"We grew all our own vegetables and the only things we had to buy were a half-a-pound of tea, two pounds of sugar and soap for washing. Every year we'd kill a pig and it would be hung in the kitchen.

"My father would take a big slice off the smoked meat, and that would feed us for a week. He cut turf from the bog and collected timber for fuel. I used to help out on the land, saving the hay. He was a small farmer and took great pride in his work. I recall people commenting on his potato drills and on how straight and accurate the measurements were between drills. People said he must have used a tape measure.

"We hadn't many toys - my godmother gave me a rag doll and a spinning top, which cost a shilling. Later I had a skipping rope. I enjoyed going to the local dances in the town hall. It cost 4p and of course there was no alcohol.

"I moved to Dublin before the Second World War to train as a sales person in a children's drapery shop called O'Brien's in Camden Street. Later on I went to work in the exclusive June and Peter Morris shop in Henry Street. I met my husband in Dublin - he was working for CIE at the time.

"I'm very proud of both of my sons - both have been called to the bar. I don't feel as though I'll be 100 on June 29. I still feel like I'm 30.

"I never think about death and find that having a positive outlook on life gets you through it much better."

Irish Independent