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Dublin woman celebrates her 80th birthday by getting a tattoo... of sweet peas

Nora McLoughlin said her reason for getting it is simple: life is for living.

Nora McLoughlin from Dublin
Nora McLoughlin from Dublin
Image: Ursula McLoughlin

NORA MCLOUGHLIN FROM Donnycarney in North Dublin is described by her son as “tea-totaller, committed non-smoker, weekly mass goer and old fashioned conformist” until now, that is, he said.

To celebrate turning 80-years-old, Nora decided it was just about time to get a tattoo.


Speaking to, Nora said she is so surprised about the reaction she has gotten, saying she didn’t think it would be such a big deal to people. “My children and grandchildren think I’m mad. But I thought, I am turning 80, I’m lucky to still be here, so why not”.

She said she never wanted a tattoo in the past, but after her son came home from Dubai with one, she said she was fascinated with it. “I thought, that’s what I want. It’s a perfect way to celebrate my birthday”.

When asked how she decided to choose a design she said. “Well, I am a country girl at heart, I like flowers and nice colours and I love sweet peas, so that is how I decided I would get them tattooed on my arm”.

Part of me

She said: “It is strange, but I have only had it a few days and it already feels like it’s part of me, that I couldn’t be without it. It feels like I have had it for years”.

Nora said that her grandchildren thought she was great getting it done, adding :

They’ll all want a tattoo like granny’s now!

Nora has been battling bone cancer and bone marrow cancer for the past five years. She said:

When you go through something like that you realise that you have to live each day to its full.

You don’t realise how fast life goes by in a blink and how much time you spend worrying about the small stuff. I’m lucky to be alive and that is why I got this tattoo, I just hope I’ll be here for a little while yet, so I can enjoy it.

She added: “Life is about making the most of it, this has almost been a blessing in disguise because I realise that now. Life is about getting up and putting one step in front of the other and life is for living”.


(Pic credit: Ursula McLoughlin)

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