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Oldest pilgrim dies at age 102


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Ireland surely breed them tough!

Galway is mourning the loss of one of its most remarkable citizens after former army captain and NUIG lecturer Alasdar MacCana passed away last week. He would have been 102 years old on Tuesday.

The Oughterard centenarian earned acclaim last year when completed a Certificate in Computing at Moycullen VEC at the age of 101 with a view to starting his own business.

He remained physically adroit and could regularly be seen walking from his home at Portacarron into the village of Oughterard. He travelled to Northern Spain with his son to complete the 100-mile Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage at the age of 97, covering ten miles a day over ten days. He recently turned his attention to studying Ancient Greek before he died at his home in Portacarron, Oughterard last Monday.

Alasdar had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and completed a computer course last year driven by an ambition to start his own business as an educational adviser. He had also started to learn Ancient Greek.

Described as a spiritual man of deep faith, Alasdar attributed his remarkable longevity to “everything in moderation” and habitually enjoyed cigars, a glass of red wine before dinner and a glass of whiskey before bed.
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Thank you for this very inspirational post!

They certainly do breed them tough in Ireland. My last supervisor was a U.S. Marine born in Ireland, and in Nov '09 he ran the JFK 50 miler in about 8 1/2 hours at the age of 43 and several months before that he did a 39 mile run in Ireland. I've emailed him the link to this posting, hoping to get him interested in the Camino.



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It's amazing the wide variety of folks that walk the Way and the many reasons they do.

Here is a man (and I'm sure there are many women) that never "retire", but keep on growing, sharing and continue to dream and, oft times, fulfill those dreams.

A friend in the insurance business, an acquaintance really, said that, as far as policy holders go...they encourage folks to remain active as long as possible. The reason: stats indicate that if an individual "completely" retires (at whatever age)...they tend to die within five years.

Keep planning for your future, keep a clear eye on that plan...and you will have a long future!

Capt Alasdar MacCana..God keep you!



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A life well-lived to the very end!

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sillydoll said:
Ireland surely breed them tough!

Described as a spiritual man of deep faith, Alasdar attributed his remarkable longevity to “everything in moderation” and habitually enjoyed cigars, a glass of red wine before dinner and a glass of whiskey before bed.

Beware when an Irishman uses this partial quote as it might lead you to suppose the quoter is advocating caution, prudence and contraire Wilde's full text, of which Captain MacCana was most certainly aware, is far the more subversive "Everything in moderation including moderation"!
As a man who lived life to the full and who was beloved father of eight children I'd wager that Captain MacCana was quoting Oscar with tongue firmly in cheek.


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I almost missed this and am so glad I didn't.
Perhaps sainthood should be redefined in terms of this man's amazing contribution to his own life. The Camino in one's 90's. New skills in one's hundreds even with the view to staring a new career. Learning Greek.
Alasdar MacCana you have become my new hero. What a way to say thank you for the gift of life!

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