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'Thank God' Woman (79) who lives in off-grid cottage with no electricty is 'delighted' after getting Covid jab

'I’m absolutely delighted to get the vaccine because I’ve great faith in these things'

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Margaret Gallagher

Margaret Gallagher

Margaret Gallagher

A woman who has lived “off grid” with no electricity or running water for almost 80 years has just had her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Margaret Gallagher, who lives just outside Belcoo in County Fermanagh, spoke to the Sunday World of her delight that she has her first layer of protection from Covid-19.

The 79-year-old, who has no television, no internet and uses a wind-up radio, fetches her water from a nearby well every day and has an open turf fire to heat the thatched cottage which she has lived in since she was born.

“I’m absolutely delighted to get the vaccine because I’ve great faith in these things and at the moment it’s the only show in town – so I have no choice but to have faith in it!” she said.

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Margaret Gallagher has been living  off Grid for almost 80 years.

Margaret Gallagher has been living off Grid for almost 80 years.

Margaret Gallagher has been living off Grid for almost 80 years.

“I have great doctors and a great practice beside my home. I have such faith in these doctors who know all about me. I got the call from them on the day I turned 79, which was January 26.

“I got my injection on the Friday afterwards, and was over the moon. My next one is due on April 9, right after Good Friday.

“It’s great because I just feel a bit more protected, it’s a simple as that. With the first lockdown, it was like it was a bit of a novelty or something; it always felt like there was an end in sight.

“However, with this lockdown, it seems like it’s going to be a flu we’re going to have to live with, like the other flus we’ve had in the past.

“In my lifetime, I don’t think I’m ever going to see the end of Covid-19, but I think it will get better eventually.”

Margaret also spoke of her hope that those who have developed different types of coronavirus vaccines, and have reportedly made significant leaps and strides as a result in other areas of medicine, will one day be able to find cures for other diseases and conditions, such as the arthritis that she suffers from herself.

“Now as a result of their work those who have been looking for vaccinations have made breakthroughs in other areas. I have arthritis, and I believe they’re coming up with something for that now, though I don’t think it will be in my lifetime.

“God bless every doctor and every scientist and everyone on the front line and the cleaners to keep the hospitals clean.

"They’re all such brilliant people who are working together to keep us safe. It’s great to see the way it’s panning out.

“It’s wonderful that we have all these talented scientists, and I think we’re not thankful enough to God who gave the brains to all these people who have been able to come up with vaccines to protect us against coronavirus.

“I think God has had a great hand in this. He might not have sent it, but he allowed it to happen, because quite frankly, we were all getting ahead of ourselves. The need for God doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as it was years ago.

“During famines like the Spanish flu and things like that, God is what kept the people going. This is just another tragedy.

“Good will come out of this, definitely. Neighbours and friends who normally went out of their way to look after each other have just gone above and beyond to care for others. Everyone is helping everyone else.”

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Margaret Gallagher living off the land

Margaret Gallagher living off the land

Margaret Gallagher living off the land

Now, while she is looking forward to getting her second vaccination, Margaret continues her day-to-day chores around the cottage, which get a little trickier during the winter as living with a thatched roof over your head raises its own challenges.

“The heavy snow the other night was not good. I had to go out at four o’clock in the morning to check the roof. I had to get an old fishing pole to push the snow that had landed off. Snow is very heavy so it can cause problems for the timber frame.”

“Americans love coming to look at the cottage, but they often say things to me like “why do you not have any roses around the door”, because they’ve seen this on a postcard.

“Trust me, when you lugging buckets of water up from the well and turf in through the door all the time, roses are the last thing on your mind!”

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