On November 11, 1997 Mary McAleese was inaugurated as the eighth President of Ireland. Mary McAleese was re-elected on Friday 1st October 2004 being the only validly-nominated candidate.
Born on June 27, 1951 in Belfast, she is the first President to come from Northern Ireland. She graduated in Law from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1973 and was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1974. In 1975, she was appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and in 1987, she returned to her Alma Mater, Queen’s, to become Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. She also worked as a journalist and announcer for RTÉ (the Irish national television service) from 1979 to 1981. In 1994, she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Queen’s University of Belfast.
She is the author of “Reconciled being: Love in chaos” (1997), Building Bridges (2011), Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law (2014).
Since leaving office she has been a Burns Scholar at Boston College (2013) and Distinguished Carmel and Martin Naughton Fellow at the University of Notre Dame (2015). In 2016 she was the Distinguished Visiting fellow at St. Mary’s University, London. She is Chair of the Von Hugel Institute at St Edmund’s College Cambridge University and Patron of the Bob Hawke Institute, University of South Australia. In 2018, the former president was appointed the newly created Professor of Children, Law and Religion at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
In January 2012, Mary McAleese along with her husband were rewarded the Tipperary Peace Prize for their work in “promoting peace and reconciliation.”
McAleese wrote Here’s the Story: A Memoir, published in 2020.