Cork legend Mary McGrath passes away just weeks before her 105th birthday

Cork legend Mary McGrath passes away just weeks before her 105th birthday

Well known Cork woman Mary McGrath has passed away just weeks before her 105th birthday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Well-known Cork woman Mary McGrath has passed away just weeks before her 105th birthday.

Ms McGrath, who was born on April 24, 1916 – the day the Easter Rising began – passed away yesterday.

Supported by her family, neighbours and friends, Ms McGrath had lived independently in her home on Barrack Street before taking a fall at Christmas time which landed her in hospital where she contracted Covid-19.

After recovering from Covid, she was since being cared for by the staff at Bishopscourt Nursing Home.

Last year, Ms McGrath celebrated her 104th birthday weeks into the pandemic at a physically distanced party outside her home.

Family, friends and neighbours joined the then Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan and Lady Mayoress, Aedamar Sheehan to celebrate the occasion.

Speaking to The Echo at the time, Ms McGrath cited a stress-free mindset as her best life advice.

"I never worried and so long as I was working I couldn’t care less," she said.

At the age of just 16, Mary started work at the Jennings Soda Water Factory, making sauces and lemonade - a job she stayed in for over 30 years.

"It was tough work, but I enjoyed it," she said.

The celebration last year was organised by Ms McGrath’s friends at South Parish Old Folks Club, by family members and by Ballyphehane Day Care and Ballyphehane/Togher Community Development Programme which she regularly attended and described as 'the club'.

Last year, Ms McGrath celebrated her 104th birthday weeks into the pandemic at a physically distanced party outside her home. Mary is pictured here chatting with her friends Joan Goggin and Brenda O'Driscoll. Picture: Larry Cummins
Last year, Ms McGrath celebrated her 104th birthday weeks into the pandemic at a physically distanced party outside her home. Mary is pictured here chatting with her friends Joan Goggin and Brenda O'Driscoll. Picture: Larry Cummins

Ms McGrath also said she attributed her health and longevity to having wonderful friends.

"I've always had lots of friends and lots of friends from different backgrounds.

"I'm part of the Ballyphehane Friendship Group and take part in the community education classes at the Day Care Centre where we have art, music and get to meet with lots of younger people too," she said.

"I just enjoy people and like to stay connected with people," she said.

Ms McGrath played a major role in the very popular singing group: 'The Swinging 60s Choir'.

For almost 20 years she and the choir performed in local festivals, community events, community centres, hospitals and retirement homes.

The group also recorded a song titled 'The Over 60s Song - It’s Great To Up And About' for Paddy O’Brien, activist for the elderly and founder of the Over 60s Talent Competition.

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