Irene Lynch, née Bodkin, was a Irish centenarian, school teacher, born 27 April 1911.
Lynch, a member of the Tribes of Galway, is a brother of Michael Bodkin (c.1879 - February 11th, 1900), who was a boyfriend of Nora Barnacle, and part of the inspiration for the character Michael Furey in James Joyce's short story, The Dead. Their parents were Mary Elizabeth Francis and Leo Bodkin, who had another child, Violet. She was sent to live with her grandmother at Nun's Island in the town when her parents emigrated to the USA and educated at the nearby Presentation College, going on to board at Taylor's Hill, and studied English at University College, Galway.
She became a secondary school teacher, spending most of her working life in Belfast. Her husband, Val Lynch of Tuam, was also a teacher. The couple had one son, Patrick, who worked as a solicitor. The family moved back to Galway in the 1970s, whereafter her husband died sometime around the early 1980's. A avid lifelong swimmer, Irene was said to have swam at Salthill until well into her eighties - this in spite of being warned that she was not likely to survive much longer than her brother Michael, who died of Turberculosis in his early twenties. From 2006 onwards, she lived at Merlin Park's long-term residential unit, where she frequently enjoyed sitting in the garden, smoking one of her favorite cigarettes, and watching all the natural wildlife there. She celebrated her 100th birthday at the home of her niece, Mary O’Connor, on Nun's Island, which was documented in a article published in The Connacht Sentinel.
She died November 16th, 2012, at the age of 101. While the cause of her death was not released, it was said to be peaceful.
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