Sadness as one of Limerick's oldest citizens dies - aged 104

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Email:

anne.sheridan@limerickleader.ie

Sadness as one of Limerick's oldest citizens dies - aged 104

ONE of Limerick's oldest citizens, who was a cousin of the executed patriot Kevin Barry, passed away peacefully today, aged 104.

Sr Eileen Doyle was the oldest surviving nun living at Mount St Vincent on O’Connell Avenue in Limerick city for many years. 

The Mercy community said she will be "sadly missed" by the Order, as well as nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, extended family, relatives and friends.

Born on July 22, 1913 in Wicklow, she was only seven years old when her famous cousin Kevin Barry was the first republican to be executed by the British since the leaders of the Easter Rising in November 1920, at the age of 18. 

She shared her birth date, she noted in a interview on her 102nd birthday with the Limerick Leader, with Prince George of Cambridge and the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

All her life, she said, she was always a "healthy little devil,” and never had a serious illness.

The second youngest in a family of nine, she outlived all her siblings.

While Sr Eileen lived in Limerick for most of her life, she also lived in America for 11 years, teaching in Florida and in Mobile, Alabama in the 1970s.

She was also the first principal of Ballynanty school, and believed that hard work, prayer and eating lightly has helped her live a long and healthy life.

“I worked hard, I think that kept me going. I eat lightly, but still I eat enough. I was 21 when I joined the Sisters of Mercy, after training in Mary Immaculate as a teacher and I entered the convent then. I think this is a good place to be now,” she said. 

Looking back, she says that joining the nuns was the right decision for her. 

“I’m happier that I chose this way of life. I don’t know would I have been able to face all those problems that married people have.”

Reposing at Mount St. Vincent Convent Chapel, O'Connell Avenue tomorrow, Friday, from 3pm with evening prayer at 6pm. 

Funeral Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, O'Connell Avenue, on Saturday at 12.30pm followed by burial in St. Mary's Convent Cemetery.