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The message written on former Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley's cow 'Butters' on his farm proposing to Catherine Biggs. Roisin Burke story.
The message written on former Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley's cow 'Butters' on his farm proposing to Catherine Biggs. Roisin Burke story.

Former Cork Mayor gets engaged to Mad Max make-up artist who accepted the proposal painted on his pet cow

Award-winning make-up artist Catherine Biggs, who worked on the set of major movies Mad Max, The Great Gatsby and Australia, is getting married to former County Mayor Declan Hurley.

The jet-setting Mayo woman, who spent ten years living in Australia and whose mother recently relocated to Dunmanway, said yes to the West Cork farmer after he painted the million-dollar question on the side of his pet cow ‘Butters’ which she saw as they strolled around the farm in the sunshine last Monday.

Catherine's work has been part of productions that have won a BAFTA, an Academy Award and an IFTA for best hair and make up. This included the hair and make-up of actor Tom Hardy in the critically acclaimed Mad Max 4 Fury Road film.

The pair have enjoyed a whirlwind romance since they met in a chance encounter at the Dunmanway Agricultural Show last summer and hoped to get married “sooner rather than later” according to Declan.

“I was walking around the show when I was introduced by someone to Catherine’s mother Angela, who was supervising a stall, we got chatting and then Catherine just appeared.” 

Former county mayor Declan Hurley with his fiance Catherine Biggs.
Former county mayor Declan Hurley with his fiance Catherine Biggs.
Mr Hurley said since meeting Catherine, he finally understood the phrase ‘opposites attract.’ 

“I like what she doesn’t. We are both very independent people. We do have the odd skirmish, but we always discuss things openly and that helps us to understand each other.” 

The Independent Councillor said that Catherine, who is currently studying Art and Visual Communications at CIT, had been a great support to him during the local elections and told The Echo when she was still around after the chaos of the campaigning, he knew it must be serious.

Declan said he had been thinking for a long time about how to pop the question and thought since they had met in a field, he should keep the agricultural theme going.

“I got the green paint I use for marking the animals and I started painting my pet cow, Butters. It looked well so I kept going. I thought it was something different.

One the couple’s one year anniversary on Monday, Catherine was visiting and Declan suggested a walk around the farm, passed the field of grazing cows where Butters was enjoying the sunshine.

“She spotted the green paint and took a closer look and then she burst out laughing at what I had done, but then also realised the seriousness of what I had done and she said yes, much to my relief.” 

The Dunmanway farmer said he sometimes thinks about the chance encounter that brought them together and all the ways they have realised they are connected since.

“Catherine’s mother Angela is originally from Dunmanway before she moved to Mayo many years ago. She has since relocated back to Dunmanway and lives a stone's throw from the farm. Our grandfathers would have been close friends as well,” Declan said.

Mr Hurley said the pair were seizing the moment. “We're hoping to get married in the general Dunmanway area in the next year or two. It feels right and I would rather do it sooner rather than later.”