Limerick woman’s first washing machine lasted 30 years, and her second one is going strong after 26!

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

CECILIA O’Dwyer hangs the rest of us out to dry when it comes to looking after washing machines.

CECILIA O’Dwyer hangs the rest of us out to dry when it comes to looking after washing machines.

The Cappamore grandmother has had just two washing machines in the last 44 years, with barely a problem. At one wash a day that works out at over 16,000 loads - and with four children and living on a farm it could even have been a lot more.

In 1986, the Cappamore grandmother won a Miele competition to find the oldest model of their machine in the country. Her 30-year-old machine took the prize.

Cecilia’s husband William bought it when it was already 12 years old – a story recently highlighted in our popular All Our Yesterdays magazine series. And a visit by the Limerick Leader this week revealed thatthe replacement isn’t going too badly for her either!

When she won the competition in 1986 Miele asked for the washing machine so they could put it in their showroom in Dublin. Automatic washing machines were all the rage in the Eighties so off went Mrs O’Dwyer to Todds in O’Connell Street, where she purchased a Zanussi model for £320.

History has repeated itself as 26 years later her Zanussi washing machine is still going strong.

“It is as good as the old one. I must be good to mind things,” laughed Mrs O’Dwyer.

It has never caused her any trouble and is closing in on the 30 year mark of her trusty Miele model. “Anyone would think I don’t be using it at all but every house has to use them. I reared my family of four – Mary, Pat, Biddy and Michael – and I used the washing machine all during the time they were here. They’re gone their own road now and I still have the washing machine,” said Mrs O’Dwyer.

When she saw the piece on her old Miele in the All Our Yesterdays Mrs O’Dwyer said it brought back lovely memories.

It was purchased by her husband William way back in 1968 for a mere £2 at a DeCourcy auction in Limerick.

“I thought I would be killed when I arrived home with it. I was sent into town to buy a new machine and here I am coming home with one for £2,” said Mr O’Dwyer.

As it was already 12 years old Mrs O’Dwyer wondered how long it would keep working. It was the bargain of the century as new washing machines cost around £150 then. The only thing that ever had to be replaced was a roller which only cost one shilling.

And it is not as if her washing machines didn’t get plenty of use.

The fact that the O’Dwyers are farmers meant her washing machines have had extra strain due to mucky clothes but they just kept on going until the cows come home.

“The Zanussi one is going marvellous too. I’ve had no complaints about washing machines anyway,” said Mrs O’Dwyer.

So since 1968 she has had hardly a bother when she goes to put in her Persil – which surely must be a record.

And if Zanussi plan to run a competition for their oldest washing machine in Ireland Mrs O’Dwyer could be in line for a double.

Do you have a vintage machine to rival Mrs O’Dwyer’s? Tell us about it by calling the Leader on 061 214503.