Older Than Ireland

"Both wry treat and testament to the efficacy of modern medicine, Alex Fegan’s documentary rounds up 30 Irish centenarians, and invites them to hold forth on subjects from the civil war to Twitter. You’ll shed a tear or two, possibly more.” - The Guardian

”Alex Fegan, director of popular documentary The Irish Pub, did not face an enormous pool of potential interviewees when preparing his film on Ireland’s oldest residents.

”There are, apparently, just 3,000 centenarians in the country. After placing advertisements throughout Ireland and tracking down further leads, he ended up with close to 10 per cent of that number.

”We meet relatives of warriors for independence. One distinguished lady explains how her father, a senior British officer, took the surrender in 1916. There are middle-class doctors. There are rural farming folk. You could barely imagine a record of the nation that so effectively combined economy with comprehensiveness.

”One thing does unite them. They are all, of course, the “sort of people” who live to be 100. That means there are more women than men about the place, but there are few other clues as to what fuels a long life. Virtually the first thing we see is the indomitable Bessie Nolan – always exquisitely dressed in matching wools – adjusting herself before firing-up an apparently delicious cigarette.

“Elsewhere, another participant boasts that she “never ate a vegetable” in her life. Doctors need not write in to complain that we are downplaying the importance of eating cabbage and not smoking fags.

“Older Than Ireland does, however, press home how significant genetics and plain good luck are in reaching 100.” - The Irish Times

”Older Than Ireland is a pretty convincing case for sitting down with your grandparents and getting them to tell you their stories (particularly if they have completely adorable Irish accents).” - National Post


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