Aran islander Bridget Dirrane is the oldest person in Ireland to be conferred with an honorary degree.

Watched by dignitaries and members of her extended family 103 year old Bridget Dirrane received an honorary degree of Master of Arts from Dr Patrick Fottrell, President of the National University of Ireland Galway.

The ceremony took place in the grounds of the St Francis Nursing Home in Newcastle, County Galway where Bridget has been living in recent years.

Dr Fottrell says that not only is Bridget the oldest person ever to be honoured with an honorary degree in Ireland, but it was also the first time in the history of the university that they have gone outdoors to confer an honorary degree.

The honorary degree was given in recognition of Bridget’s full and varied life which includes her time in the Aran Islands, her time in Cumann na mBan, her activities during the War of Independence, her work as a nurse and the 40 years of her life spent in Boston, where she spent a number of years working for the Kennedy family.

Bridget says she was surprised to receive the honour.

I never expected to get such an honour because I was a devil may care scholar going to school.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 May 1998. The reporter is Joe Woods.