Over 90 and still farming - Mrs Dooley’s recipe for a long life

Hannah Dooley taking part in the Coolrain Vintage Run
Farmer Hannah Dooley from Coolrain seems to have found the secret of eternal youth, and it is simple, hard work and fresh air.

Farmer Hannah Dooley from Coolrain seems to have found the secret of eternal youth, and it is simple, hard work and fresh air.

The grandmother still hops up into her beloved Ford 2600 daily, to tend to her cattle, despite being at an age when most people would be delighted just to be able to hop up out of the armchair.

Mrs Dooley prefers not to reveal her age, though was none too happy when the local priest Fr Lalor commented from the altar about her breaking the driving age limit of 90 years.

“I was ruined altogether,” she said laughing on the phone to the Leinster Express.

A Wexford native, Mrs Dooley came to Coolrain after she married, and had two sons. Her husband Denis passed away 19 years ago but she continued to work their farm, herding and feeding her cattle.

“I enjoy doing the farm work more than kitchen work, I like being in the open air. If I couldn’t drive I’d be lost, I can go up the lane and look at the cattle, and with the sun and the birds, what more could you ask for,” she said.

She is grateful for her health.

“Thank God I am in great health, but I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, I never did,” she said.

Hard work is her secret.

“Hard work and keeping moving no matter what. I couldn’t come in and sit down in the kitchen all day,” she said.

While treasuring the quietness of the countryside, Mrs Dooley is deeply involved in her community.

“I am quite active, I am in the ICA, Community Alert, the over 60’s club, anything that’s going on. I enjoy the local music too, and I go dancing to Camross once a month, I don’t know where I find the time,” she said.

Mrs Dooley also takes her tractor out to vintage days, being a member of the Coolrain Vintage Club since it formed.

“I must be surely the oldest member,” she said.

“Community is very important, especially at present. My neighbours are wonderful, they are there when I need them,” she said.

Mrs Dooley also finds time to do her own baking.

“I have lots of apples at the moment I am trying to get rid of, but the animals will get some, nothing goes to waste” she said.

Cats and dogs are in her care too. “Apart from company they are a great safeguard,” she said.