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Morris, Fitzmaurice, (Morrison)
Though the name Morris is essentially English, it has been used, as also has Morrison, as an anglicized form of O Muirgheasa, a sept of the Ui Fiachrach (Co. Sligo), where, however, the Norman form Morrissey is now rarely met with. O Muirghis is an abbreviation of this; Morris is also used as an abbreviation of Fitzmaurice (in Irish Mac Muiris), the Fitzmaurices being celebrated as a branch of the Geraldines and lords of Lixnaw in Kerry. Fitzmaurice was also the surname adopted by a branch of the Prendergasts in Co. Mayo.
The family of Morris whose arms are illustrated in Plate XXII are of Norman origin. when they first came to Ireland they were known as de Marries, or by its Latin equivalent de Marisco (see Morrissey below). In 1485 a branch of this stock settled in Galway City where they became one of the "Tribes of Galway", and from that date until the submergence of Catholic Ireland in Cromwell's time, they were prominent in the commercial and social activities of Galway, though surprisingly few of them held municipal office: those who did so are recorded as mares, Mareis and Maries, but in no case in the modern form Morris up to 1654, when the Catholic Corporation was suppressed.
The Fitzmaurices of Kerry were very prominent in the wars against the Elizabethan invaders in the sixteenth century, notably James Fitzmaurice (1530-1579), two Thomas Fitzmaurices (1502-1590 and 1574-1639), and Patrick Fitzmaurice (1550-1600). Of men called Morris the best known is Rev. Francis Orpen Morris (1810-1893), author of British Birds and other standard works on natural history, who was born in Co. Cork. Hervey Montmorency Morres (1767-1839), Tipperary born officer in the Austrian and the French armies, was a United Irishman and took a leading part in the 1798 insurrection. From Galway there was Michael Morris (1827-1901) the Judge, who was created a peer in his old age. Michael Morris, Lord Killanin, President of the International Olympic Committee (1972-1980), is grandson of Michael Morris, the first holder of the title.