Ashley Morrison's Blog

October 1, 2021

Mum said “good-bye” this morning.

She will be greatly missed by all the family – especially by her three sons, Terence, Nicholas and me.
Mary Morrison

According to the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages document, which she kept in the safe…

Mary Isabella Gallagher's Registration of Birth.

.. Mum was born on the 31st of May 1932 in the District of Fannett, in the Irish County of Donegal – and they called her Mary Isabella.

Under her bed my daughter, Chloe, found a large box that was full of pictures – many of which none of us had ever seen before – like this one of her Mum & Dad,  Kathleen McKemey (18) and Daniel Gallagher (33)…

Catherine McKemey and Daniel Gallagher on their wedding day.

.. which, according to what she wrote on the back, was taken in October 1924 on their wedding day.
And so it’s some of those pictures that I would now like to use here, to help me tell this story about this amazing person that I was always so proud to call my Mum

She was the eldest girl in a family of eleven, eight boys and three girls.

One of the earliest pictures that I found, was this one of her when she was 14, with her two sisters, Sadie (10) and Ann (7), taken in 1946 outside their family home in Moross…

Sadie, Mary and Ann Gallagher

.. with a note beside it saying the “summer after mum died”.
So yes, she lost her Mum when she was only 13 – which is hard to imagine.
Anyway, on the 8th of April 1953, she began her training at Ards Hospital in Northern Ireland – and on the 30th of May 1956, according to framed certificate that I found, she “passed the examinations held to test her proficiency, and has preformed her nursing duties to our satisfaction.”
So she, along with her two sisters who followed her led, became a State Registered Nurse…

Mary Isabella Gallagher

.. and it was around that time it seems, that she met John Morrison (a young farmer from the Ards Peninsula) at a dance in Regent House.
And on the 19th of September 1957, she became known as Mary Isobel Morrison from that day on – as seen here with her brothers (Dan, John, Robert, Tommie, Charlie, Jim and Alfred) and sisters (Sadie and Ann) on her wedding day…

The Gallagher family in 1957.

.. along with Dan’s wife, Joan – and John Morrison…

John and Mary Morrison on their wedding day.

.. who a few years later became my Dad

Swimming was a big part of our lives when I young – and she, as seen here at the back on the far left of this picture of INST swimming club…

Inst swimming team

.. was very much into it as well.
She even flew out to Australia to watch me compete in the 1982 Commonwealth Games – to my surprise – because she never mentioned she was going before I left, the week before the Opening Ceremony…

Opening Ceremony at the 1982 Commonwealth Games

.. which she clearly enjoyed, as she took loads of pictures of that.
So yes, one of the nicest memories that I have of her was at the start of my first event, looking up into the spectator gallery as they announced my name and seeing her with her sister, Sadie, waving their arms and cheering.

I couldn’t believe it – but that was my mum

She loved to travel – and as did my father – seen here together at Thousand Islands on their way to Kingston in 1995…

Mary and John Morrison at Thousand Islands

.. with a note on the back saying: USA on the far side.
So there are lots of pictures of the both of them in various part of the world – as well as lots of pictures of herself with her two sisters, Sadie…

Mary and Sadie

.. who lives in Sydney – and Ann…

Ann and Mary in New York.

.. who lives in New York City.

Many of which I had never seen before.

The picture that I use at the start, by the way, I took of her in a kitchen we were shooting that was featured in the October/November 2005 issue of 25 Beautiful Kitchens magazine…

October/November 2005 issue of 25 Beautiful Kitchens magazine.

.. which she kept in her bedside table – where she stood-in as the homeowner.
So that was definitely one of my favourite images of her, as well as this one…

Mary Morrison's 71st Birthday party.

.. which I took at her 71st birthday party

One thing is for sure, I will miss her and she will be greatly missed by all the family – including her six grandchildren, Ross, Ryan, Amber, Chloe, Holly and Ella – and her dog, Venus…


.. which the people of Ballywalter knew was always by her side.

The end of a chapter, Mum – but not the story  – as you live on in each of us


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