Clonmel man (104) sees historic lessons

The Government is doing a good job in trying to curtail the spread of Covid-19, according to one of the country’s oldest citizens who remembers the impact of the Spanish flu in Ireland more than 100 years ago.

John Walsh (104) was just three years old and living with his parents, Richard and Louise in Clonmel, when his father caught the Spanish flu. The flu killed thousands in Ireland and upwards of 50 million worldwide in 1918 and 1919.

“I was born in O’Shea’s Nursing Home on New Quay in Clonmel, Co Tipperary on September 10th 1915 so I was very young when the Spanish flu arrived in Clonmel,” said Mr Walsh, a former chief accountant at Bulmers.

“Dad was an electrician by trade and he was the first manager of the newly opened Magner’s Theatre which was a cinema in Clonmel and we lived at the time at O’Connell Tce which was a very small modest terrace of houses.

“Dad got the Spanish flu… My mother didn’t get the flu but I remember as he was getting better, she would let me peek in the door of his bedroom to see him.

“The warmth of his smile of welcome remains with me to this day – thankfully he survived and although he was a smoker, he lived until 1967 and was into his 70s when he died,” said Mr Walsh, a widower who lost his wife, Ciss in 1974.

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