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Marty pictured with his late mother Peggy

Marty’s emotional tribute to ‘greatest Irish mother’


BROADCASTER Marty Morrissey remembered his beloved mother Peggy as “The greatest Irish mother in the history of motherhood” as she was laid to rest in Mullagh at the weekend.
Mrs Morrissey passed away following a road accident last week in a moment her only son described as “the greatest tragedy of my life”.
Mourners gathered on Sunday at St Mary’s Church in Mullagh to say their last goodbyes to the popular member of the local community.
As well as family, neighbours and friends the funeral mass was attended by representatives from both Irish President Michael D Higgins as well as Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Family photos, rosary beads and her prayer book, red lipstick, drivers license, a Cork flag as well as the Statue of Liberty were among just some of the items placed at the altar as symbols of her life.
Addressing those gathered at the funeral mass in an emotional tribute to his mother, Mr Morrissey said he was “blessed to be her son, her only child”.
He described his mother as, “a rebel, a proud woman from North Cork, the Mallow, Doneraile area, a woman that loved human contact and thrived on conversation, craic, banter.
“She was loyal, determined, witty, funny, deeply religious, a daily mass goer, so loving, a fabulous wife, an adoring mother.”
He continued, “She was also a 5ft 4in force of nature – argumentative, stubborn, fiercely independent, intensely proud and to be honest really annoying on occasion. This was Peggy Morrissey. In my humble opinion, the greatest Irish mother in the history of motherhood.”
Peggy Twomey met Martin Snr from Mullagh when he arrived in Mallow after taking up a teaching position, he recalled.
“Based on photographs Peggy Twomey was a beautiful woman with long dark hair and stunning blue eyes. As I often told her she was an absolute babe. She’d tell me to shut up and cop on. But then that Peggy smile would arrive, and she would say to be fair Marty I wasn’t bad you know in my day.”
After getting married the Morrisseys then moved to New York. Mr Morrissey told how his “extraordinary” mother travelled on her own for 14 hours across the Atlantic back to Cork to make sure her son was born in her home county, and mother and son returned to New York a few weeks later.
The family moved back to Ireland when their son was 10, settling down in Clare where they ran a pub. Mr Morrissey labelled himself and his mother the “dynamic duo”.
Remembering their time in the family pub he said, “She was known as Mrs Morrissey, and if someone misbehaved, my father was way too soft, so it was left to Peggy to jump into action.
“For my mother, there was no yellow card, no black card or sin bin, it was always a straight red.”
Mrs Morrissey was predeceased by her husband in December 2004.
Mr Morrissey told the funeral mass, “Next Saturday, my dad will be dead 17 years. Peggy lived alone along the wild Atlantic Way. She was lonely, she was heartbroken at times. She rang me every morning or I her at 10 o’clock. Then again at lunchtime, after 4 pm and when the Six One news was over; then at 10 pm and again when she was in bed.
“My mother was no ordinary woman. How am I going to survive without her?”
He said since losing his mother, he has been seeking a sign she is safe and happy. “Yesterday, after bringing Mom to church here and Fr Donoghue started praying, something unusual happened.
“A beautiful butterfly flew around the altar and over her coffin, only to be joined a few moments later by a second butterfly, and they flew together over the short aisle over the seat where she always sat in this church.
“I have to ask what are two butterflies doing in a church in Mullagh in December.
Maybe I’m losing it, but I want to take it as a sign that my Mom and Dad are together again, and they are happy.”
Although an only child, Mr Morrissey said he was a “lucky man” to have felt the love of his “three families” this week.
He paid tribute to his local community, saying, “My friends here in this parish are my brothers and sisters who have responded so magnificently to my greatest tragedy of losing you last Monday night.
“I’m lucky, Mam and Dad, you brought me home to this parish when I was 10. This is where I belong, this is home.”
His second family are his colleagues at RTÉ, saying, “their support I will cherish for the rest of my life”.
And finally, “My third family is the GAA community nationwide. I am overwhelmed by the people from Croke Park to every county in Ireland who has reached out to me in my hour of need. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, everyone who rallied around me because, to be honest, I was good for nothing.”
He also paid a special tribute to the emergency services for all they did to try and help his mother in her final moments.
He concluded, “She often told me, especially after a row, that she adored the ground I walked on.
“I loved my mother with all my heart. I spent all my life with her. She gave me everything – total and utter unconditional love. I will miss her so much. My life has changed this week.
“Mom, I adored the ground you walked on. My life revolved around you, and I would do it all again if I could.
“We were a team: the most formidable mother and son team in the world. I have to let you go now, mom. Go to dad and tell him I loved him too. You lived life to the full.
“There is no doubt, Peggy Morrissey, you did it your way. Mum, thank you for giving me the strength to do this. I love you.”
A unanimous motion of sympathy to the broadcaster was passed at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council.

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