One of Ireland's oldest third-level students graduated today from Waterford Institute of Technology with an honours arts degree in Irish and English.

Tom Boyle, 82, from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford is one of 2,457 graduates being conferred with their degrees this week at ceremonies at Waterford Institute of Technology.

He was accompanied to today's event at the WIT College Street campus by his wife Phyllis, their seven children and also grandchildren.

"To do something I’ve always wanted to do," the former taxi driver and horticulturalist told RTÉ News when asked why he decided to return to full-time education.

He started out in third level many years ago but, for various reasons did not complete his studies.

"I always regretted that I hadn’t been able to finish it at the time I started it because I was doing it at nights and work problems and various things came up at the time," he explained.

He enrolled at WIT in 2016 and completed his studies this year, but says plans for the future are undecided as of yet.

"Ask me after tonight!," he joked, adding that the 6.15am start he made every morning to get the bus from home to college might prevent him from going back for a Masters degree.

In the meantime, he says he is delighted with his achievement.

His wife, Phyllis, said the whole family are proud with what he has done.

"I'm glad he achieved it, I'm glad I'm alive to see it," she said, adding that she hoped it would serve as an example to their children, grandchildren and others.

"As Tom says, with our young people, the future is bright."

WIT's head of the School of Humanities, Suzanne Denieffe, said that Mr Boyle’s achievement is proof that lifelong learning is real.

She said: "Sometimes people think education is purely for school-leavers, those just finishing school and entering into the workplace, but in fact education is so much more than that and there are opportunities for people regardless of your age.

"Sometimes people think education is just for a job, but it's about personal development and it really can enhance your life, the life of your family, and therefore it enhances society."

She said that Mr Boyle had "enriched" college life and the course during his time at WIT.

"It's important that we have that diversity of age groups and we certainly have a wide range in the arts programme," she said.