Mary P McAleese

Born:June 27, 1951 (age 72)
Career:President of Ireland, 1997-2011
Education:Queen's University of Belfast

Mary McAleese served as president of Ireland from 1997 to 2011, the second female president of that country. She succeeded Mary Robinson, making her the world's first woman to succeed another as president.

McAleese was born on June 27, 1951, in Belfast and is the first president to come from Northern Ireland. The eldest of nine children, McAleese grew up in Northern Ireland through the violent times that have come to be known as The Troubles. 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 University, to become the director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first female pro-vice chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast.

McAleese is an experienced broadcaster, having worked as a current affairs journalist and presenter in radio and television with Radio Telefís Éireann. She has a longstanding interest in many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation.

Prior to being elected as president, McAleese worked as a director of Channel 4 Television, the director of Northern Ireland Electricity, and as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Trade and Investment in Ireland and its follow-up Pittsburg conference in 1996. She also served as a member of the Catholic Church delegation in 1996 to the North Commission on Contentious Parades and as a member of the Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum in 1984. McAleese was also a founding member of the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas.

In 2014, McAleese was appointed Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary's University.


Marsh, M. (2001, February 15). “Mary McAleese” Britannica. Retrieved December 5, 2022.

New World Encyclopedia (n.d.). “Mary McAleese” New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 5, 2022.

President of Ireland (n.d.). “Mary McAleese” President of Ireland. Retrieved December 5, 2022.