It was with sadness that we learned of the death of Luke Dolan, Ireland’s oldest man. A Roscommon native, Luke was a lifelong Ireland’s Own reader and a great friend of the magazine. He died at the age of 108 and in tribute to him we are giving you the chance to read a piece in which Luke’s life featured in Ireland’s Own, in July of this year. May he rest in peace.

Congratulations to Ireland’s oldest man

Luke Dolan (right), a native of Clonfree, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon and now residing at Sonas Care Centre, Roscommon, has become Ireland’s Oldest Man, having celebrated his 108th birthday in the company of his family, which includes 30 great grandchildren, on June 4th, 2014.

He was born in 1906. A father of seven – John Joe, Tom, Pat, Michael, Madeline, Gerard and Bernadette – Luke’s wife Peggy passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.

Luke has been a resident of Sonas Care Centre for the past 6 years, having resided on his family farm in Strokestown since birth. Luke smoked and did not eat porridge until in his 60’s, but he appears to have long age and good health in his genes; his sister Mary Kate survived until her 107th year and sisters Nancy and Nora lived into their 90’s.

Alcohol was never an influence in Luke’s life and he never attended a dance. Luke is a keen storyteller, recollecting stories from his youth, showing a particular love for all things GAA. In 1932 Luke lined out for the Strokestown team that beat Roscommon Town by 3-2 to 0-1 in the county senior football final. Luke also kept fit by playing handball. Luke has a love for the radio and listening to the GAA games brings him joy. His love for GAA rubbed off on his grandson, Luke Fallon, who was a Roscommon senior player for a number of years. Luke also has a love of music, in particular Johnny Cash. He can be regularly heard singing a bar or two of ‘Kevin Barry’ and ‘Shoe the Donkey’! Luke has been a lifelong reader of Ireland’s Own, which was only four years in being at the time of his birth. In his years Luke has been witness to many changes and events, the most notable being The Easter Rising, The War of Independence, the two world wars, and the introduction of TV and electricity into Irish homes.

Luke can recall clearly the day Roscommon man, Dr. Douglas Hyde, became Ireland’s first president in June 1938. bringing recognition to the County of Roscommon. And now Luke can be added to the pantheon of great Roscommon men. Well done to him on his long life.

This piece on Luke was submitted by John Lynch from Athlone who visited him and was really impressed by him and his lively personality.