Former nurse Bridget Devlin celebrated her 105th birthday this week with friends at Moneymore Nursing Home.
Bridget, who spent most of her life in New York City, was born in the South Derry village on May 13 1909 before leaving for ‘The Big Apple’.
Her birthday makes her one of the oldest people in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
She was just 19 at the time she decided to leave her family in Moneymore and head west.
It’s a move she has never regretted. In fact, she insisted that she would go back to the United States in again if she was able.
“I would tell any young person to go to America,” she said. “I loved it and would go back tomorrow.”
Most of Bridget’s immediate family are deceased although she is understood to have nephews and nieces living in the Mid-Ulster area.
As a nurse she recalled taking care of US President John F. Kennedy when he was hospitalised with a leg injury.
She never married and resided at an apartment block on East 55th Street for a large part of her time.
Bridget, who enjoys a cup of coffee in the afternoon, is an early riser and likes to listen to Irish Country music.
She came back to Moneymore about ten years ago - aged 95 - and continued to live independently until she was admitted to hospital towards the end of last year.
Rachel Service, who helps to look after her in the Care Home, said Bridget had told her she intended to spend her birthday in bed.
“She is a remarkable lady who can tell a good story when she is in good form,” said Rachel. She said “wee Mary” often talked about her life in States. The Home held a special party for Bridget on Wednesday.