Taking porridge and exercise are Roddy’s secrets to long life

Taking porridge and exercise are Roddy’s secrets to long life

14 August 2019

DOWNPATRICK’S new centenarian, Roderick Maguire, says his secret to a long life is his daily bowl of porridge.

The former master painter says he still has porridge every morning which he makes for himself at his Thomas Russell Park home. 

Mr Maguire, better known as Roddy, turned 100 nearly two weeks ago on August 2.

He received the customary congratulatory card from the Queen as well as a letter from Irish President Michael D 

Higgins and €2,500 — a special financial bounty known as the Centenarian award.

Mr Maguire was treated to a special reception in St Patrick’s Church after parish priest Fr John Murray said a special mass for him on his birthday.

His family gathered at Quoile Bistro the next night to have a family reunion, which included children and grandchildren who travelled over from Doncaster in England.

With his first wife Betty, who sadly died many years ago, he had four children — Rory, Joan, Anne and Niall. He also has eight grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Mr Maguire has been a widower for several decades following the death of his second wife, Maureen.

Born to James and Anna Maguire in St Dillion’s Avenue, Mr Maguire was one of seven children— and he was fortunate enough to have had his three brothers in their nineties attending his celebration.

After leaving school, he joined his father, who was a master painter like his father before him, to serve his time in this specialised trade.

Mr Maguire was revered around the town as a skilled tradesman in demand for sign-painting, particularly for many commercial properties, until he retired at 70.

“I just loved it, particularly the sign-painting which also involved gilding, and I loved working along with my father,” he told the Recorder.

“But when they brought in these plastic signs, that helped to do away with the sign-writing and it became a dead trade so I would do different jobs like painting number plates on tractors.

“It was a very tough time then as your income just declined, but it was something that just happened.

“I remember it was also a really tough time getting supplies during the Second World War as we were only allowed six rolls of wallpaper a month. Sure that would have hardly done one room so we had to try and save and stockpile it for customers.”

When asked about his secret to long life, Mr Maguire said: “I think it has to be porridge and taking exercise. I’ve had porridge every day for my breakfast and I still take it every day and I make it myself.”

Two of the major developments that he believed impacted on Downpatrick in his lifetime were the closure of the railway in 1950 and the construction of council houses which afforded a good standard of housing to families like his.

He said: “Once the railway closed came the buses and it was tougher to get about and nowadays you can’t get on to the roads with all the traffic.

“I’ve seen the town expanded beyond all belief and when one of the grandchildren recently took me out and around, I couldn’t believe that Downpatrick was as big as it was. Whenever I was growing up, sure it was just a wee village.”