One of Donegal’s oldest residents is celebrating a much quieter birthday today as she turns 105 during the country’s third lockdown.
Popular Castlefinn native Ruby Druce was born on New Year’s Eve 1915. Having lived through the 1918 pandemic, Ruby says times have changed greatly in this strange year.
There may be no party for 2020, but Ruby is still able to celebrate her birthday with cake and countless cards and phone calls from well-wishers. Ruby lives in Letterkenny with her niece Margo Butler, while today’s new travel restrictions have even put a halt to family visiting from Castlefinn to wave in the window.
After a year of keeping safe at home, Ruby is taking today’s birthday celebrations in her stride.
“As the man said, ‘What’s another year?’” she told Donegal Daily.
“It’s a terrible strange time. You’re not allowed out, the boy on the TV said. You can’t enjoy Christmas the same when you can’t have people coming to see you.
“They’re not the times I was reared in anyway. Times have changed.”
Born in 1915 to George Crawford and Elizabeth (nee McBride) of Castlefinn, Ruby has lived a long and interesting life. She was the eldest of five children and lost two siblings, her brother James and sister Mary Elizabeth, to the Spanish Flu.
Ruby worked in Porter’s Shirt Factory from the age of 14 to 62. In 1956 she married her childhood sweetheart James Druce, who sadly passed in 1970.
In recent years, Ruby’s birthday would have been marked in the company of her nieces, grand nephews and nieces, great grand nephews and nieces.
Today the celebrations are much more low-key, but Ruby is grateful to be keeping well.
“Thank God, so far, so good,” she says of her health.
Ruby’s secret to a long life has always been ‘plenty of walking, hard work and a daily cod liver oil capsule’.
Unfortunately her walking has been impacted by a recent fall, but not long ago she would have walked two miles from the house and back again. “And if anybody wanted to give me a lift I wouldn’t go with them,” she said.
Looking ahead to 2021, Ruby is hoping for better days.
“It’s terrible you can’t get moving, get your freedom and get back to normal. Please God we’ll get out again in the summer.”
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