By Tom Ryan
Bubbly Mrs Maureen Armstrong of Upperchurch, is in training for her 19th Dublin City Womens Mini-Marathon on June 3rd – at eighty eight years of age!
And this time she will be joined by her daughters, Martina Heffernan of Two Mile Borris, and Librarian, Marian Heffernan of Celbridge, County Kildare, and her grand-daughter, Fiona Armstrong. Three generations of a very popular and caring family who are all set for the great day for a great cause, the Irish Cancer Society.
Recently I joined brave and caring Maureen and her daughter, Martina, for tea in Hayes’ Hotel, Thurles, to discuss the ever-cheerful Maureen’s remarkable lifestyle.
Maureen and her family folks and her neighbour, Maggie Lewis, will walk the 10 Kilometres route in company with some 40,000 others on Bank Holiday Monday, June 3rd in Dublin, starting at 3pm.
“This is my nineteenth Dublin City Womens Mini-Marathon but I also took part in a mini-marathon in Thurles and also in the first County Tipperary Womens Mini-Marathon in Clonmel”.
Maureen enjoys dancing and she and her daughter, Martina, trip the light fantastic at the very popular fortnightly Tea Dance in Drombane Hall. Three generations in harmony in every sense in the lovely old
cuardaiocht tradition of the rural house dances of another era. The old time waltz is Maureen’s favourite dance.
”We dance Ballycommon Sets, Quicksteps, and Cashel Sets” said Maureen. High energy set-dancing, Maureen? “I’m as good as any of them”, she declares. She enjoys all the fine bands they that play in Drombane Hall. “We have lots of very good bands coming to Drombane and they have tea for everyone up there as well.”
“I don’t do any diet, I’m a light feeder and I am only eight and a half stone”. I like raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society. So many people have cancer, young and old, and it’s great to be able to help them. ”I’m very fit and healthy and I like to walk about three miles every day. I stroll up and down the road, saying my prayers as I go. I don’t drink or smoke which is a great benefit to my health I think in this day and age, and I take aloe vera every day. With the current recession, it’s very important for people to get out and exercise.
It’s free and healthy and good for the body.”
“My two daughters, Martina and, Marian, who will do the Mini -marathon with me, are two sisters married to two brothers,” Martin is Martina’s husband and Donal is Marian’s husband.
“I am a happy person, yes, Thank God. And I have a great sense of humour. I am enjoying life and the secret of that is hard work all my life” said Maureen, who worked on the family farm at home in Gortahoola, “dealing with cattle and all that kind of thing.” Maureen, in addition to daughters, Martina and Marian, has five
sons,-PJ in Roscrea, Denis in Gortahoola, John and Seamus in Thurles and Michael in Dublin.
“They are all involved in the backup for me,” said Maureen, who also has 21 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Maureen said: ”I always walk for the Irish Cancer Society but I have done a walk for the Children of Chernobyl also” She has raised hundreds of Euro for good causes, particularly the Irish Cancer Society, Maureen said “I
have 18 Dublin Womens Mini- Marathon medals at home”. “Each participant will receive a ribbon and medal for having been part of the “biggest women only event in the world”.
At eighty eight years of age, Maureen Armstrong is reckoned to be the oldest participant in the Womens Mini- Marathon. But she may very well be the youngest at heart also. She has a kind, caring, Christian nature and visits folks in their homes or in hospital. Maureen once featured with Pat Kenny on the “Late Late Show with
Martina and Marian. And she has souvenir photographs to prove it!.
Maureen has enjoyed walking with the Upperchurch Hill Walking Trails folks and she has climbed Croagh Patrick also. Maureen does not smoke or drink and she proudly points to her Silver and Gold Pioneer Pins “I never broke my Confirmation pledge” she said. “I eat plenty of fruit and drink plenty of water.” Maureen is also a keen sports fan.