Ireland’s oldest person Sarah Clancy dies aged 108

Connemara woman returned to An Cheathrú Rua in 1988 after spending decades in US

Sarah Treasa Clancy 1908-2016. Photograph: Seán Ó Mainnín

Sarah Treasa Clancy 1908-2016. Photograph: Seán Ó Mainnín

 

Ireland’s oldest citizen, Sarah Clancy, passed away this morning (Tuesday, December 27). She was 108.

The woman from Sruthán, An Cheathrú Rua in Connemara died peacefully in her sleep at home, according to relatives.

Sarah Treasa Clancy was born on May 2, 1908. Her life overlapped that of Patrick Pearse - who lived ten miles down the road in Ros Muc - by eight years.

Her life was featured in an article published in The Irish Times earlier this month.

Another illustrious neighbour was Bruce Ismay, the owner of the ill-fated Titanic, who moved in to nearby Casla Lodge in 1913. That same year five-year-old Sarah saw Roger Casement when he visited her school.

After school she worked as a “cailín aimsire”, or housemaid, locally. But her dream was always to emigrate to the US.

In 1938 she set up home in Dorchester, Boston with her sister, Anne, who had travelled with her.

Living with her sister meant she spoke her native Irish all her life. Sarah was meticulous and clothes-conscious, traits that easily got her work in the upper-class quarters of Brookline beside Dorchester both as a cook and a maid.

She returned to her house in Sruthán in 1988 after her sister died and babysat a new generation of grandchildren until retiring at age 95.

Up to age 107 she refused all wheelchairs. Three weeks ago she initially modestly demurred about her photograph being taken but then relented to give the camera a broad smile.

Sarah had eight brothers and sisters all of whom predeceased her.