One of Ireland’s oldest citizens Michael Coyne dies aged 107

Roscommon man ‘enjoyed life until the very end’ and liked ‘a glass of Guinness followed by a Jameson chaser’

Tributes have been paid to one of Ireland’s oldest citizens, Michael Coyne, a native of Fairymount, Castlerea, Co Roscommon who has died at the age of 107.

An avid GAA supporter, Michael – who lived in Boyle with his nephew, Neil McGarry – enjoyed good health until the end, according to his godson Austin Waldron.

“On his birthday last January he amazed everyone when he recited a poem about Castlerea from memory,” Mr Waldron said.

“It’s very sad but he enjoyed life until the very end. We were already looking forward to the next birthday party”.

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As part of the 107th birthday celebrations, a Mass was said by local parish priest Fr Michael Donnelly, at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Fairymount, where Michael was baptised in 1917. This was followed by a birthday lunch in Hester’s Golden Eagle Bar in Castlerea.

“He loved people and he enjoyed a glass of Guinness followed by a Jameson chaser. He was absolutely brilliant. He was driving until he was 98 and his license was in date until he was 100,″ said Mr Waldron who teased the centenarian that he lived so long because he never got married.

A lifelong Fianna Fáil supporter, Mr Coyne was very proud of his party membership card which he carried in his wallet along with his driver’s license.

“He had a great life and thanks to Neil he was able to live at home – he was very independent. He read several newspapers but the Roscommon Herald was his favourite,” said Mr Waldron.

Mr Coyne was recently honoured for his work on the construction of the Bellacorick power station in Co Mayo in the 1950s. He was an employee of a construction company ran by Mr Waldron’s late father, John.

The 107-year-old was presented with a copy of Powering the West, A History of Bord na Móna and ESB in North Mayo, which documented the construction of the power station which closed in 2005, but was one of the biggest infrastructural projects in the West of Ireland at that time.

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