13 Aug 2022

A generous and caring family woman

The death took place on May 2 of Maeve Cuggy, The Square, Freshford.

The death took place on May 2 of Maeve Cuggy, The Square, Freshford.

She was predeceased by her husband, Jim, in December 2004 shortly after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Prior to her move back to the village, Maeve and Jim lived in Clomantagh, where they built a bungalow on her late father’s property. Before that they raised their family at Kilkenny Street, Freshford.

Maeve was the eldest daughter of the late James “Jay” and Sarah Butler. While Jay lived into his 90s, his wife, Sarah, died at a young age. Maevie, as she was then known, helped her father to raise her young siblings. The generosity of spirit she displayed throughout her life began then and was referred to on many occasions during her funeral service.

Maevie continued to care for the youngest members of the Butler family while raising her own young family at Kilkenny Street. Maevie and Jim were part of a generation which believed in the importance of education. While the 1950s and 1960s were difficult times in Ireland, the Cuggys did everything to ensure that their family had the best education possible.

The regard that her immediate family have for Maevie is equalled by the esteem in which she is held by her grandchildren. All have pleasant memories of days and nights spent in Clomantagh. While high academic standards were encouraged by their grandparents, the Cuggy grandchildren will testify that education for life began around the Happy Valley.

People skills, now invaluable in places spanning the globe from Manhattan to Milton Keynes, Dubai to Dublin and Portarlington to Ballyragget, were honed with lessons in all walks of life ranging from milking cows to delivering calves, hunting hares and, of course, walking greyhounds. Sometimes young or old don’t so much walk greyhounds as get dragged along by them. As a run was reached and a fiery, young hound leapt away from its breathless handler, the only sympathy shown by grandad was an admonishment: “You slipped that greyhound a fraction early there!” A compliment was earned in Clomantagh. In later years at family gatherings, Maevie loved the company of her grandchildren and often gravitated towards the youth group which formed in the garage when one or two withdrew for a smoke.

Maevie’s mother Sarah was a member of the Kennedy family of Knocknamuck at whose home the members of the Flying Column, under Ned Aylward of Ahenure and Seán Hogan of Knocklong fame, were billeted the night before the Knocknagress ambush.

In 1919 her father Jay was sentenced to Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast and Walton Prison, Liverpool for Republican activities. When hostilities broke out after the Treaty, he took the Republican side and was on manoeuvres in the Comeragh Mountains. With such a strong nationalist background, Maeve passed on a similar regard for all things Gaelic to her family and grandchildren. Hence, at clan gatherings, politics, culture, language and games were the topics of conversation after the main item on the agenda, greyhounds, was disposed of.

Maeve and Jim were long-time co-secretaries of Freshford Coursing Club but we can take it that, while Jim may have called club members to arms every September to hunt hares, it was Maeve who pushed the pen to have everything ready for the November meeting. It was fitting that both were honoured some years ago when they retired to the fringes of the club. The highlight of a lifetime devoted to coursing occurred in 1993 when Maeve and Jim bred and trained Carol’s Friend, for owner Declan Delaney, to win the Kitty Butler Stakes at the National Coursing Festival at Powerstown.

When circumstances forced her to move back to the village in 2005, Maeve enjoyed her new surroundings. Near to the shop and church, she attended all the activities which took place during the year in the Community Hall and Prague House or on the Green, known to her great-grandchildren as “Grandma’s Garden.”

Family gatherings meant a lot over the years. The most recent was when she was surprised for her 85th birthday. A few days before, she played the role of “Lady of the Manor” at a clan celebration in Uppercourt. The pleasant memories from those and similar occasions will sustain Mari, Sally, Ned and Thérèse over the coming months.

Sincere sympathy is extended to them and to her highly regarded sons-in-law, Seán, Eddie and Tom and daughter-in-law, Mary; to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; to her brothers and sisters, relatives and friends. Go raibh leaba aici ar dheis lámh Dé i measc a clann is a cairde atá imithe roimpi.

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