26 Sept 2022

Obituary: Peggy Phelan, Woodlawn, Bennettsbridge

Skilled dressmaker and wonderful homemaker, she had a great love of books and travel


The late Margaret (Peggy) Phelan, Woodlawn

With the death of Peggy Phelan, the Woodlawn Estate in Bennettsbridge has lost one of its oldest residents.

Peggy was 58 years married to Mick her soulmate who passed away in May. She was a dedicated wife, mother, homemaker and provider.

Born in Waterford in 1936, Peggy started school in Kenmare before her family moved to Goresbridge, where she continued primary school and secondary school in The Presentation in Kilkenny.

The Dilworth family of 15 then moved to Bunting Road, Walkinstown in Dublin where Peggy trained as a dressmaker with Evelyn Guane in Middle Abbey Street with her sister Patsy.

Gifted in her craft, she made her own wedding dress and would later repurpose it into a communion dress for her daughters and afterwards into the family christening gown worn by her children and grandchildren.
She met Mick, known to his friends as the ‘Blond Bombshell’ in the famous GAA meeting place of the time, Barry’s Hotel. She had a great love of books and travel. Somewhat of an introvert, she partnered wonderfully with the extroverted Mick. They complemented each other perfectly.

She had a good life, self-sufficient, many of which attributes she passed on to her children. In The Bridge she made numerous wedding dresses, School Band uniforms, Church vestments, altar cloths and alterations through the years.
Family camping was enjoyed in the early years in the Morris minor and the tent when they were often joined by the ‘Dublin cousins’.

As her children moved away Peg and Mick made many trips to visit them in their respective homes, sometimes as far afield as Australia, Bali, Mauritius, UK and Limerick. Family weddings abroad were enjoyed to the full.
Peg was a religious woman and a pioneer for most of her life. She also served as Minister of the Eucharist for several years. She managed to combine her religion with her love of travel, getting in trips to Lourdes, Rome and The Holy Land.
Peg and Mick celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in Madeira combining Peg’s love of travel and Mick’s love of flowers.
Great Artist

Peg was a member of The Ladies club, volunteered with the local Playgroup and loved being a member of local Art Group. She was a great artist and her work was shown in a number of the Art Group’s exhibitions. In the early years Peggy and I attended art classes in the Thomastown and Kilkenny Vocational Schools.

Sadly in recent years Peg was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Mick, her late husband, showing his dedication, love and care, said he was going to look after her at home as she had done for her family. This task he carried out with great dedication, supported by his son Damien who moved back home to facilitate him helped by their other sons Mark and Neil.

Peg with husband Mick took one last trip on May 5 on one of their regular spins. Sadly it was the last time for them to cross the threshold together but typical of their dedication to each other, if one was not going home neither was the other.
On August 24 Peg was reunited with Mick who passed away in May. Together again.
Peg died on August 24, 2021 in the loving care of the staff at Gowran Abbey Nursing Home. She was predeceased by her loving husband and soulmate, Mick and her granddaughter Laura.

Peg’s neighbours of 50 years came out to form a guard of honour before her funeral service. Her coffin was draped in the Christening Gown and First Communion pieces she had made.

On the steps outside the church, offerings presented as a reflection of her life were, a spool of thread, a needle, a tailors scissors and the hem of a pair of trousers to reflect her life as a dressmaker, a crossword puzzle to signify her love of wordplay and a paint brush because of her love of painting. People were invited to take a sachet of flower seeds from a basket.
The remains were received in St Bennett’s Church by Canon Pat Dalton, assisted by Canon Pat Duggan. Requiem Mass was then celebrated. Fr Dalton welcomed everyone and sympathised with the family especially Barbara, John and Andrew, who were unable to attend.

Peg was a woman of great faith and he expressed appreciation for her service to the church, as a Minister of the Eucharistic for many years and in many other ways. The lessons were read by Neil and Mark (sons). Prayers of the Faithful were recited by, Rachel, Leah, Ella and Jessica (granddaughters). Music throughout the ceremony was by Sean O’Neill, Martina Burke and sister-in-law, Eileen. Peg’s daughter, Margaret gave a moving tribute sharing some special memories of her mother.

Fondly remembered by their loving children Margaret, Andrew, John, Mark, Damien, Neil, Barbara; daughters-in-law Helen and Nano, Diana; Mark’s partner Ronnie; sons-in-law Fergus and Doula; grandchildren, Danielle, Enya, Daniel, Matthew, Andrew, Jessica, Rachel, Mairead, Leah, Ella, Rebecca, Adam, Emily, Robin and Dana. Peg will be sadly missed by her sisters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, extended family, neighbours and friends especially Danielle and Enya in Sydney. A cremation service was held in the Victorian Chapel, Mount Jerome Crematorium, Dublin.

Peg’s family would like to express their sincere appreciation to all who helped with actions, words and kindness in their time of immense loss, especially the wonderful community of Bennettsbridge for the support received over the last few months and for the beautiful guard of honour from their Woodlawn family.
Rest in peace Peggy
- JC

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