Lily McCaul

Lily McCaul was a truly extraordinary woman. I knew her through her children, through U3A and through the Gateway. I also interviewed her for Newry Journal. Like thousands of others, I mourn her passing.

Lily was born Mary Elizabeth Cunningham in June of 1922 in Hook’s Entry at The Back of the Dam – which made her of my mother’s generation. Like my mother she raised a large family (she had eleven children – Peter, Donal, Anne, Sheila, Marian, Madge, Nicky, Deirdre, Malachy, David and Jervis – while mum had fourteen) and they knew each other, if not that well. Though Lily made certain she got out and about when the children were reared, my mother was not in a position to do that!

I quote here from the recent tribute that appeared in the local press – though listing a person’s achievements is not the same as a pen-portrait. Above all this was a loving and very lovable lady whom it was a great privilege to number amongst one’s friends.

Lily saw out the last of her days on High Street, just across the road from St Clare’s Avenue where the love of her life, Nickie McCaul grew up. Lily and Nickie were married in September 1945 (again about the same time as Sonny and Eileen) and Nickie and my father Sonny were friends and occasional workmates. She spoke with me about this relationship in recent years.

Lily’s best friend and constant companion was Sylvia McElroy and to Sylvia too I pass on my sympathy as well as to all the children, grandchildren and wider family circle.

Lily was known to most Newry people through her involvement with Gateway, U3A, War on Want and a plethora of other community and charitable interests. She will be best remembered through her children, every one a credit to both her and Nickie.

May the sod rest lightly upon her.


I have just learned to my great regret of the passing last Saturday of Kathleen Cassidy.  I will be attending her funeral mass in two hours time.

Everything said about Lily above apples to Kathleen with equal import. 

In recent years she also had been my Bridge adversary.  Into her eighties, her mind was as sharp as ever and she had little difficulty outwitting and outplaying me on most occasions. 

Kathleen’s son Donal started the Cassidy Printing Works in Canal Street:  recently he has gone to work with Clanrye Press in Greenbank Industrial Estate.  You may know Eithne and other of Katleen’s children and even grandchildren. 

Pray for the repose of her soul.


And lest we slip into melancholy, I give you a list of the recently baptised in Newry Parish:

Aisling Marie O’Callaghan,  Buskhill Road, Donaghmore

Katie Anna Green, Oaklands

Lara Ruby Mc Evoy, Old Warrenpoint Road

Erin Kathleen Martin, Corerhagh Road, Tandragee

Paris Marie McDonagh, Ardaveen Park, Bessbrook

Caoimhin Patrick Griffin, Knockdarragh

Anton Odhran McKevitt, Dominic Street

Michael Desmond Pentony, Barcroft Park

Lewis Brian Watson, Derramore Road, Bessbrook

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.