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Newcestown's Michael was the last man to fix Big Ben

August 17th, 2018 7:05 AM

By Brian Moore

Michael Mulderrig, celebrating his 100th birthday, has been a vegetarian for over 50 years.

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THERE must be something in the water, as yet another West Cork resident celebrated his 100th birthday this month.

Of course, according to Michael Mulderrig, who lives with his son just outside Newcestown, water has very little to do with reaching the 100th year mark.

‘My father was born in Mayo on July 15th 1918,’ John, Michael’s son told The Southern Star. ‘Of course, if you ask him, he’ll tell you that he only reached 100 for the simple fact that he gave up the booze … when he was 11 years old!’

Apparently, it was young Michael’s job to go and collect the odd bottle of Poitin for his neighbours every now and again. 

‘He would take a nip of Poitin sometimes, and then refill the bottle from the local stream,’ John continued. ‘And then when he turned 11 he took the pledge and never drank again. And he has also been a vegetarian for over 50 years.’

Michael headed off, like many others of his generation, to find work in England.

‘My father grew up on a farm but he was always fascinated with clocks and watches,’ John said. ‘He would often take them apart and tinker with the mechanism, so when he first arrived in London he got a job working on the clocks in all the government buildings and courthouses. He also worked on Big Ben. In fact he was the last person to repair the world-famous clock.’

Michael didn’t officially retire until he was 80 and was completely independent up until he was 98, when he travelled from Mayo to live with his son in Newcestown.

‘My father loves living here in West Cork, but as a proud Mayo man he is looking forward to getting back home,’ John said. ‘We are working to get his house ready for him and he’ll be back in Mayo before too long.’ 

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