Saturday, 2 October 2010

In memory of Mary Morrisey, nee: Whelan

I wish to convey the condolences of the whole family to the daughters, sons-in-law and grand children of Mary Morrisey who was my mother's cousin in Dublin, on her death this week at the age of 80. Mary was the daughter of my grand mother's sister Catherine (or Kitty) Whelan.

Mary's death is particularly poignant because I have only recently been contacted by her daughter Colette who came across this website, read about the Whelan family and made contact not only with myself via email but also with members of the extended Whelan family in Dublin. Colette and Gaye Mulholland (a cousin of my mother and of Mary Morrisey and someone who has sent us several contributions of information and photographs for this website) recently met up in Dublin for the first time in their lives - which perhaps goes to show the powerful consequences of publishing genealogical research online. Anyone who has watched the BBC television series Who Do You Think You Are? will no doubt share my sense of wonder at how links can be reformed through family history research, even with the passing of generations, events, relationships and ultimately time, and I think this story is as a good example of that.

Colette is married to John Gallagher and they have 2 children. Colette also has 3 sisters:

Therese in Australia, Anne in Australia and Clare in Ireland.

As mentioned above, Mary was Kitty Whelan's daughter, but being born to a young single mum in 1930 in Ireland, Kitty's mother Anne (my great granny Whelan) insisted that Mary grew up outside of the family. Whilst family ties existed, it is fair to say that Mary's life was in isolation from her extended family network, though as Colette said to me recently, none of us can turn back time and attitudes towards single parenthood would be different these days.

However, Mary's death seems particuarly poignant coming so soon after Colette has made contact with the wider family that Mary was denied throughout her 80 years, though particularly as a child growing up in 1930s Dublin. It is less than a month since Colette emailed me.

I would therefore wish not only to convey the deep sense of sadness which I am certain exists on both sides of the Irish sea to learn of Mary's passing but to rightfully embrace and record Mary and her children and grand children into this extended family history.

God bless Mary Morrisey, nee. Whelan.

The picture above is called The Ascension of Mary


  1. What a beautiful piece you have written about Marie. Her daughter Colette sent me a text today to let me know that you had made this addition to the site. Thank you so much Pete.

    Colette and myself did meet up recently and we are in the middle of making arrangements for Colette to meet other relatives very soon.

    Thank you so much Pete for making it possible for us to get in touch.

    Much appreciated.

  2. That's really fantastic Gaye. Thanks for your comments. My mom Joan also sent me some nice comments via email this week. I must get that trip to Dublin organised.