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‘My mum’s too busy for empty nest syndrome’

Actress Gemma Doorly is the second youngest in a family of four children and is best known for her role as Sarah O'Leary in Fair City. We caught up with her and her mum, Mary, to find out about their mother-daughter relationship.

Gemma

"One of the lessons that my mum has taught me is the ethic of being busy. I'm probably a bit lazier than she is, but I do like to keep busy with a few different things. When you're an actor and you're not working for a while, the temptation is to sit and watch TV so you have to make sure you have other things to focus on. I've produced a few plays and written a play.

"My mum is really sociable and a brilliant mingler -- she can work a room. She's a great entertainer and we've always felt that maybe she missed her calling!

"Having had four children, she's a very organised person and she's good at managing her time. She was a stay-at-home mum but she always had a lot of her own activities to do, so she keeps busy these days -- there's no empty nest syndrome!

"She's very imaginative and has got a great sense of style. One thing that we have in common is that we're both interested in what's going on in the world -- although my mum is more into current affairs and I like my celebrity gossip!

"I think I was a bit of a difficult teenager and it's only once you get through that period that you understand your parents more and respect them and their opinions."

Mary

"I always remember when Gemma was about six and she was standing on the little stairs that come into the kitchen.

"She was doing her drama bit and her two sisters were saying, 'Will you ever get off the stage!' She was always interested in acting and asked at the age of six and a half if she could go to drama classes.

"Gemma is a loving person -- she's always in contact with us and with the recent bad weather, she was checking in with us to see that we were okay. All of our kids still have a key to the house so we never know who is popping in. We're lucky that they're all living around Dublin so we can see them regularly.

"One thing I admire about Gemma is that she is good with her money. When she's not working, she knows how to live with what she has. She's not a materialistic person.

"She usually calls round for a meal once a week and we like to meet up and play golf together. She hits the ball a lot longer than me, though!"

NEXT WEEK: Artist Denise Cassidy and her daughter Lisa