Kilkenny woman’s secret to reaching 90

It involves an occasional hot whiskey

Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett


Kilkenny woman’s secret to reaching 90

Lil with her sons and daughters, L-R: Billy, Micheál, John, Seamus, Lil, Lillian, Caroline, Julie.

Lil Coogan – a nonagenarian living in Castlecomer – says the secret to a long life is “plenty of work and a plain diet”.

The former B&B owner is from Uskerty in Kilkenny and recently celebrated her 90th birthday but says she still feels young.

Speaking to the Kilkenny People about her long life, she said: “The secret is plenty of work and a plain diet. I have cereal, homemade brown bread and butter for breakfast and porridge with milk in the winter.”

Lil says she has always had good health and just did very simple but healthy things throughout her life.

“I never smoked but I wouldn’t mind a hot whiskey now and then. I take honey in my tea. I haven’t a sweet tooth but as I get older I’m a little more into sweet things.”

The mother of seven says she catered all her life and ran a guest house in Castlecomer and ran the Avalon Inn too with her late husband Willie.

However, the sprightly 90- year-old says she is not done yet. “I’m not retired, I’m still going. I still feel young. I’m not an early riser. I don’t go to bed until 12 o’clock. I get up and do my usual. I put in my washing, do the table,” she said.

Lil is fortunate to have her family close by and one of her sons lives with her at present. She is full of praise for her children - one of whom makes the dinner for her every evening.

Lil said: “My boys have a garage up the town so they come down for lunch. My son Micheál has lived with me for the last while and he makes me a lovely dinner every evening.

“I’ve great family. I’ve seven children and 18 grandchildren.”

On her exercise routine, she said: “I did walk when I had time to walk. I still exercise and I’ve had very good health all my life.”

Lil added: “In you’re head you feel young and then you say, ‘Oh my God, I’m 90’”.

When asked about how well she looks, Lil quipped: “We have beauticians here in Castlecomer and they’d turn you inside out.”