Mill Street and Streamstown, Westport and San Francisco
One by one they fall away
The daffodils of youth
One by one they yield to death
Life’s last remaining truth
Westport native Vincent MacEvilly was laid to rest in Aughavale cemetery last Saturday. He died on March 28 in his adopted San Francisco. Vincent was born on February 19, 1934, on Mill Street, Westport, son of Helena (née Scott, Aughagower) and PJ, a publican (the premises became Jim McGuire’s and later Shane Moran’s). He was one of six children – sisters Sal and Sr Baptist, brothers Fr Gerard, Pake and John – all reunited with God.
He is survived by his wife Eileen and son Stephen; nephews and nieces Helen, Mary, Margaret, Pat and John; grandnephews and grandnieces Simon, Alex, Greg and Petra; relations and friends.
A regular visitor to his native Westport, Vincent breezed into town like a breath of fresh air, bringing smiles of sunshine and laughter. He was one of the instigators of the Covie Week. At his (and others) behest the last week of July was chosen for the biennial celebration.
Like the swallows, he returned every year, carrying books and papers as he researched his family history. He was proud of his ancestry and the family’s links to the 1798 rebel John Gibbons, who was hanged in Westport following his capture. Some years ago, Vincent wrote an extensive article on this period for The Mayo News.
At his funeral Mass in St Mary’s, Westport, Rev Tony King captured the essence of Vincent with references to Croagh Patrick (The Reek), Clew Bay, the mountains, lakes and rivers. “But it is also true, dear friends that on this journey, the spirit of Vincent was alive enjoying the view of the Reek with a whole new perspective…
“It always strikes me – and all the more so as I move through into my autumn years, there is – what you might describe as the ‘homing sense’ deep down in all of us. That spirit of longing deep within each one of us – drawing us to the familiar places – of memory and childhood…
“In my years of searching about the meaning of life, it seems to me that the strands interwoven in the life of a Christian can be summed up in three challenging phrases – Be grateful for the past; Be enthusiastic in the present; Be hopeful for the future. I believe that Vincent lived that vision in his life. He was a grateful man – to God, to his beloved wife and his devoted son Stephen.”
Vincent was a man of deep faith and involved in his Holy Name Church in San Francisco, especially the Young Men’s Institute, a fraternal organisation. Humour, great company and wonderful story-telling were some of his attributes, nestling alongside his kindness, generosity, honesty and joy.
Vincent spent his last night on Mill Street. He was by himself, but not alone. How could he be, among his own? One can only imagine the host of visitors, a meeting of old souls, family and friends to guide him on his final journey.
He rests a pilgrim in Aughavale, sung into eternity from the graveside by his MacEvilly relations, Hubie, Pat and John. He lies beneath Croagh Patrick and overlooking Clew Bay, flanked by Covies, especially his dear friend Martin Curry.
Sympathies to Eileen, Stephen and family on their loss, consolation on the wonderful memories and peace to Vincent MacEvilly, a great Westport man and true Covie. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
We’ll shroud him in his own earth
Let him return to his own dust
Bring him home and bury him in his native place
His áit dhúchais.
- Liamy MacNally