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RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey opens up about afterlife beliefs after mother Peggy’s tragic death

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Marty Morrissey in his native Quilty, Co Clare. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Marty Morrissey in his native Quilty, Co Clare. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Marty Morrissey in his native Quilty, Co Clare. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Marty Morrissey has revealed he is beginning to believe in an afterlife after several incidents involving butterflies following his mother's tragic death.

The popular GAA commentator was awestruck when two butterflies appeared over the altar during his mum Peggy's funeral in Co. Clare last December.

Peggy (94) was killed when her car crashed as she attempted to drive to a hotel to shelter from a storm.

"The butterflies in the church was just remarkable, for that time of year," Marty said.

"You're talking about the 12th of December, which was her Mass. On the 14th of December I was stood at the back yard and were looking at what we called 'Joe Flynn's meadow' and this beautiful butterfly came over the house and went into the meadow and then came back up and literally hovered over my head and over the back door.

"If Steven Spielberg was doing it, you'd say 'Steven, you are overdoing it here'."

Marty (63) says he has been inundated with messages from the public since his initial butterflies revelation.

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Marty Morrissey and his late mother Peggy. Photo: RTÉ.

Marty Morrissey and his late mother Peggy. Photo: RTÉ.

Marty Morrissey and his late mother Peggy. Photo: RTÉ.

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"I got so many cards and letters since then to tell me that other people have had similar experiences," he reflects.

"Mum was very spiritual and religious. I'm not as spiritual as my mum, but by God I'm coming around to believe - I go to Mass, not regularly, irregularly.

"It would make you think about an afterlife, that there is an afterlife. I want there to be an afterlife. Everywhere I see one [butterfly] now, I think of Mom."

Marty will be co-hosting RTÉs coverage of the Bloom garden festival in Dublin's Phoenix Park this weekend.

He himself lives in an apartment in Rathfarnham in Dublin, but has tried to get greenfingered at the family home in Co. Clare, where Marty was an only child.

"It has been a hard six months and it's very hard to go to Co. Clare and the house so empty," he admits.

"Down at home in Clare, we have a bit of a lawn. My late mother loved plants and flowers and all that sort of thing.

"One hundred per cent I'd help out. I'd get down and dirty and do bits and pieces for her.

"One of the great pleasures of life is to see something that you've sowed grow over time, and to mind it and cajole it and love it.

"Her big thing was the lawn was always full of daisies. But I think tulips and roses were her favourites."

Marty tries to visit the house in Clare as much as possible.

"I do get down a bit," he adds. "I have a friend of mine, who cuts the grass and all that sort of thing.

"When I do get home and I have a day to myself, which doesn't happen that much, I do a bit of manicuring, I suppose is the word.

"I love being out there and I have a little dog, Sammy, and it is great."

Keen gardener Peggy never got to go to Bloom.

"She never went to Bloom, but she would have loved it," he confirms. "We talked about it a few years ago before Covid, but she said it was too warm to go."

Marty is presenting the RTÉ show with Aine Lawlor, with whom he's co-hosted broadcasts from Bloom before.

"I have a lovely TV partner, and she is the one that is the genius about gardens," he stresses.

"But I love being out in them. I love being out and about and being out in the garden.

"I love everything about fresh air. I'm privileged to be working with Aine and to be doing Bloom and to be out in the garden - particularly after what we all went through with the pandemic.

"Just be out and smell the leaves, smell the flowers, get the buzz of the bees and the birds chirping - I'm beginning to sound like a poet!

"It's just to be out there again and to get all those smells and senses is fantastic."

While researching this year's show, Marty discovered there may be a chance that at some stage in the future, because of the likes of weeding and pesticides, bees may die out.

"With the population of bees decreasing all the time, unless we mind the world and mind the earth and mind what we have here, then we would have drone bees to replicate what bees do, which I thought was fascinating," he explains.

"That the cycle of life between the earth and the human is so important and we must maintain it, and I just found that fascinating."


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