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…

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

June 28, 2015

Creating the dream.

Our latest road trip took us to this wee place…
 Maggie & Robert Graham's 18th century Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which was a beautifully restored traditional Irish thatched cottage, by Maggie & Robert Graham, near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.

Anyway, having already seen images of what it looked like inside…
Recce picture of the sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. Marie came well prepared to transform it, into the sort of thing you would see in a magazine – since that was our goal.

So just before we left, she emailed me to say:

Have just taken an old dust sheet out of the tumble drier to cover up the sofa …… Crumpled as hell and I love it 🙂

I will either fail miserably with this wee place – or it will be my finest hour !!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

And sure if nothing else, it will be a lovely couple of days in a beautiful part of the world 🙂

And so she did, as you can see in the first picture I took…
First picture taken of the sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which when lit as if the sun was shining in, ended up looking like this…
The sitting room in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. after the fire was lit and we played around with the re-positioning of a few items.

To the right was this little room…
Recce picture of a bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which once again Marie transformed…
Bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. as I filled the room with some sunlight – and upstairs was the master bedroom…
Recce picture of the master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which is actually where we started – so while Marie sorted out the bedding, etc…
First picture taken of the master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. I once again worked on the lighting – and the result was this…
Master bedroom in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. which we were both very pleased with.

As Marie would often say to clients:

Photography and Styling go hand in hand – if they sing from the same hymn sheet – voila.
If they don’t – then it can be a loooong and very unproductive day !!!!

Which is very true – because, without her, I honestly won’t have known what to do here…
Recce picture of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. but between us, we just started to sing…
One of the first picture taken of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. and so while Marie worked on the styling, I worked on the lighting…
One of the first picture taken of the kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. and before you know it… voila…
The kitchen in Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. another masterpiece had been created Smile

Wow !!!!

I truly didn’t think we’d get anything so good when I saw the first cut 🙂

It was when the vintage white linen went on the table that it suddenly came together.

And so it when throughout the day – which just left the outside to shoot, which we completed the following morning as the sun came out to play…
 Maggie & Robert Graham's Irish thatched cottage near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal.
.. to complete the dream.

Which is basically what we do, when it comes to creating images which we are hoping others will want to use, be it for a feature in their magazine or for advertising.

Selling the Sizzle, as well as showing Steak smile

Anyway, the reaction to date has been…

“Wow and indeed Wee!!!!!absolutely stunning. You must be v proud of having pulled something of this level off!! Also very special that a wee thatch cottage is styled so uniquely!!! Big pats all round!!!”

.. from Stuart who has assisted us on may such shoots.

From Janet…

“Now Marie – Wow! Triple wow! I am totally blown away by what you have achieved here. Seriously, that is astounding!!!!

You have made a totally run down cottage into a MOST desirable rental!!! You have played to its strengths – it’s rustic/shabbiness and given it charm by the bucket load…and all without even a lick of FB paint – Hee Hee!!! Your wee sis is seriously impressed. You have excelled yourself Madam!!! Blimey, no wonder you’re tired, ​Marie. You are one talented lady “

.. who’s varies properties we have shot over the years, including one of my all-time favorites: Jasmin near the French Riviera village of St Paul de Vence.

And from Claudio – who we have recently been working with quite a bit on our latest hotel work – after seeing the first of the preview images which Marie sent him:

“OMG!!

wow… fair play to both of you!!
I’m not too sure I’m looking at the same house here lol!!

You have done a beautiful work setting up this room, your experience and vision really come​ through in a house like this.
I don’t think Ashley could have done anything here without you…
I can see his sunshine light coming through but it’s the décor of the room and your abilities to hide​ a pretty average looking furniture by creating a luxury look in a very simple way…
honestly Marie, well done!!

thanks also for forwarding ​your before images.. a great example of being​ able to see past what’s in front of you!! Your determination has paid off!

looking forward to the rest now!!”

So there you have it – creating the dream – by Marie & me near the village of Kerrykeel in County Donegal  ​Smile​

November 25, 2010

The northern tip.

Just back from shooting a fabulous little Irish cottage…
Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage called Paddy Mors near Fanad Head in County Donegal.
.. owed by Sarah & Geoff Mitchell, near Fanad Head at the northern tip of Donegal – famous for its stunning scenery and magnificent lighthouse.

So needless to say, we couldn’t go all that way and not photograph the lighthouse…
Fanad Head lighthouse in County Donegal.
.. despite freezing weather and high winds…
Mitchell-32b
.. and also take some shots of Sarah and her little twin boys, Rupert and Archie, too…
Sarah Mitchell walking with her twins near Fanad Head in County Donegal.
.. walking along the winding lighthouse road – before enjoying a pint of Guinness in front of a roaring fire in the local pub to warm us up 🙂

Anyway, the storyline:

Geoff is a builder and Sarah previously worked in the media but is now a full-time Mum.

Both Sarah and Geoff spent many childhood holidays in Northern Donegal and always dreamt of one day buying a holiday home there.
After several years of looking, they finally found this little place.
It is located in Fanad Head which is virtually the most Northernly tip of Ireland and consists of a stunning lighthouse, approx 8 traditional houses and a pub !! The cottage was very dilapidated and run down but the couple have completely re-furbished it.

So started in the living room…
Setting up the living room shot Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. which Marie quickly styled while I lit it up…
Living room in Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. before going into the kitchen, which clearly required a few Red Bulls…
Setting up the kitchen shot Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. and some major tiding too …
The kitchen in Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. as we had been using this room as our base – before heading up to the bedrooms…
Setting up the bedroom shot Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. which I just loved…
Master bedroom in Sarah and Geoff Mitchell's cottage.
.. everything about.

Anyway, just like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to Sarah & Geoff, who own Paddy Mors cottage here, for making us feel so welcome.

They sure have done a fantastic job – as it’s the perfect hideaway to enjoy a complete break & just relax.
So we hope the Editors will like it too – and look forward to seeing the full set images in print real soon.

From Marie & me in beautiful county of Donegal.
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