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27 Sept 2022

Ruby toasts 106th birthday and 'looking forward to trips out '

Ruby Druce 106

Ruby Druce celebrates her 106th birthday with her nieces Carmel Harran and Margo Butler

Ruby Druce says she is longing to visiting her favourite eateries again.

Ruby celebrates her 106th birthday today and the Castlefin woman wants to see an end of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Now living with her niece, Margo Butler, in Letterkenny, Ruby - one of the country's oldest living people - has been busy talking to many well-wishers on the phone today. Nieces Margo Butler and Carmel Harran were on hand with a cake to celebrate the big day.

The onset of the Omicron variant put an end to Ruby’s hopes of a birthday bash at Arena 7.

But the sprightly Ruby is planning to visit some of her regular haunts again soon.

“I want to see end of Covid restrictions so I can get back to trips out,” Ruby told Donegal Live.

“I’m especially looking forward to going for a bite to eat in Larkins, Arena 7 and McGlynns in Castlefinn.

“If we got rid of this virus now, I would like to see everyone and have visitors come to see me again.”

Ruby had been out and about since getting her Covid-19 vaccine booster, but the rise in cases recently has seen her take precautionary measures again.

She particularly loves a trip back to her native Castlefin: “I would come to Castlefin often and go to Jimmy McGlynn’s for my dinner.”

Ruby survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and she has told how her secret to a long life is ‘plenty of walking, hard work and a daily cod liver oil capsule’.

She was the eldest of five children of George and Elizabeth Crawford. Two of her siblings, James and Mary Elizabeth were among the 23,000 Irish people who died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.

“I remember the sadness in the house,” Ruby said.

“They just weren’t there and I didn’t know where they had gone for a long time. It was a good few years before I knew what had happened to them. Children weren’t told about death back then.”

Ruby was employed for 48 years at Porter’s Shirt Factory and her husband, James Druce, died in 1970. The couple had been married in 1956.

Ruby is a pioneer all her life but, aged three, was given poitín when she contracted the flu in 1918 following the deaths of her siblings.

She said: “It saved me, but I never broke the confirmation pledge after that.”

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