Aisling Cushnahan (nee Parker), Stoneyford, Lisburn and formerly Ravensdale, County Louth, passed suddenly at home on June 15, 2019.
Aisling was a person who enjoyed life and her sudden passing came as a tremendous shock to everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.
Aisling was the eldest daughter of Liam and Elizabeth Parker and sister to Barry and Hilary. Born and raised in Ravensdale, she attended Dulargy National School and then continued her studies at Saint Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk.
Aisling pursued further studies at Dublin City University where she gained a degree in Accountancy.
It was a career in Accountancy that Aisling pursued in life. In recent times she joined Pearson Publishing – a company that she very much enjoyed working for.
She previously held financial roles at several companies including O’Hare’s, IBM, Oxigen, Glen Dimplex and XIAM.
Aisling married Aidan Cushnahan in 2009 and she was so happy and enjoyed every minute of their wedding day shared with family and friends.
Aidan and Aisling enjoyed 10 years of married life during which many precious memories were created of their time together.
Such was the strength of their bond that Aidan, a non-golfer, on many occasions accompanied Aisling to golf competitions to support her.
Their love of travel generated many special memories, especially the trips to South Africa and North America.
Many significant moments of those trips were captured on camera by Aisling who was a talented photographer.
It was her upbringing in Ravensdale that instilled in her a love and appreciation of the countryside and everything pertaining to its beautiful flora and fauna.
Aisling had a special interest in poultry and was known to often buy hens and ducks for family and friends.
She very much enjoyed her involvement with the Louth Poultry Association over recent years and loved her Saturday mornings spent at the monthly poultry sale.
Recently she was involved in organising the poultry section at the County Louth Agricultural Show and thoroughly enjoyed the social aspect of the day, making sure to provide lovely cake that she baked herself for her fellow organisers and friends.
Aisling continued to enjoy this rural life when she moved to Lower Slievenacloy Road in Stoneyford.
One of the passions that dominated Aisling’s life was her love of horses – especially one particular horse that gained her admiration and affection – Arthur!
It was this love of horses that enthused Aisling’s commitment to hunting and show jumping. For many years she was a member of the Oriel Harriers Pony Club and a member of the Oriel Harriers Hunt.
Indeed, her love of the outdoors inspired another passion in her life, that of golf.
Aisling was a very accomplished golfer, sporting a nine handicap, a handicap that would be the envy of many a player!
She was a member of Royal County Down where she enjoyed playing the challenging courses, and was previously a member of the Dundalk and Greenore clubs.
She was president of the Chartered Accountants’ Golf Society and in May enjoyed three days of golf in Sligo with her society friends.
Even though she was a very good golfer she went out of her way to encourage people who were just starting out and always gave them some tips and told them to stick at the game.
Aisling had been very much looking forward to The Open in Portrush. She was anticipating spending the week at the tournament. She was going to ensure that she didn’t miss any of the action on such a momentous occasion.
The shock of Aisling’s death has been felt very deeply by her family, friends, colleagues and the wider community.
Everyone in the community knew of her sporting endeavours and her love of walking. She was often seen in the Stoneyford and Ravensdale localities enjoying a stroll.
It was during these walks that Aisling would often stop to enjoy a chat with others; she was a confidante to many and would talk to stranger and friend alike.
In speaking of Aisling, we are reminded of a quote by the American poet Edward Estlin Cummings who said: ‘we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us, something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.’
Aisling on numerous occasions was this conduit for so many – allowing them to believe in themselves, allowing them to feel valued because someone took the time to enter into a conversation with them and listen to them.
This way of being was characteristic of Aisling who connected authentically and dynamically with the hearts of others.
She was a very caring and sensitive person who would have gone out of her way to help anyone in need.
Indeed, Aisling took a career break to care for her mother Elizabeth who battled with terminal illness for five years and died in 2011.
During this time Aisling arranged for special outings for her mother to Blackrock and other favourite places and was often seen taking her mother in her wheelchair out for walks in Ravensdale.
This was so typical of Aisling’s compassionate nature, generous temperament and her selflessness with her time. She frequently made sacrifices for others.
She loved and cherished her friends and family and always had a special fondness for her seven nieces and nephews.
Christmas was a special time of the year for Aisling and she was famous in the locality for her tree decorating. She had a beautiful collection of decorations she had collected on her travels over the years.
Aisling loved the pantomime and wouldn’t miss a chance to go with the younger family members and plan a special surprise for them.
Aisling was also a very competent baker. Cakes were her signature bakes, creative and imaginative, indeed, works of art.
But they were to be eaten and enjoyed, which they were by many members of her family and friends.
She also enjoyed making jams, preserves and a recent addition to her creations was that of sloe gin.
Aisling too had a great interest in cooking and earlier this year enjoyed a trip with Aidan to Neven Maguire’s restaurant when she didn’t miss the opportunity to get her photo with him and get books signed as presents to bring back to the family.
Aisling loved antiques, especially pictures and furniture. Of course, there was never any consultation with Aidan when purchasing antiques; if Aisling admired the antique it had to be bought.
Her eye for detail is evident in the antiques she collected over the years, but also very evident in her photographs.
Her photographs of family and friends and the local community captured with great sensitivity and accuracy so many aspects of life.
What’s more, Aisling’s beautiful photographs were much admired at a recent exhibition in the village hall in Stoneyford and at County Louth Agricultural Show.
Such exquisite photography gave everyone a glimpse into the heart of Aisling’s innate beauty, sensitive nature and genuine goodness.
Aisling was an authentic and generous woman who was greatly loved and will be long remembered.
Her Month’s Mind Mass takes place in Saint Peter’s, The Rock, Stoneyford, Lisburn on Friday, August 2 at 7pm.