A Tipperary husband and wife have won the search for the longest married couple in Ireland that was launched by the Catholic Grand Parents Association earlier this year.
James and Margaret Hurley from Fethard will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary later this month, and have 12 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren between them.
Growing up in the South Tipperary Town James Hurley a well-known farmer and owner of a truck company said he always knew bubbly Margaret was the one for him.
“She is a very gentle, extremely caring and loving woman,” said James, (91). “I always loved her sense of humour, too.” James and Margaret married in 1940, when James was 18 and Margaret was 20. They went on to have five children. Described as a very united couple, the Hurleys brought up their children with a strong sense of family pride. Margaret (93) said the secret to their happy marriage is being with the right person. “It’s easy to live a long and happy life when you marry your best friend and I always tried to mind it,” she said. ”We are extremely close and have always enjoyed each other’s company,” said Margaret, whose fondest memories are “tipping about Tipperary visiting historical sites”. Adoring granddaughter Sophie Fitzpatrick (24), who entered her grandparents in a nationwide search for the longest-married couple in the country, told the Irish Independent that she has learned what true love really is from her grandparents. “I’ve learned that family is absolutely everything in life and they are such amazing role models to all of us,” said Sophie, from Rathmines, Dublin.
“I’m so proud of them,” she said. In her letter to the Catholic Grandparents Association of Ireland, who blessed the Hurleys and two other long-married couples, at a ceremony in Knock on September 14th last, Sophie said: “When my grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary three years ago, my grandad told my granny: ‘I hope we will never part’. “I think that is a true sign of pure commitment to one another. As far as I’m concerned I think their marriage is definitely one of the most durable marriages in the country. They truly are best friends.” Eileen and Ned Cusack, married for 70 years and Eileen and Michael Walsh, married 68 years, were also celebrated at the ceremony. The couple were congratulated by the founder and chairperson of the Catholic grandparents association Catherine Wiley.