Launching our series on Northern Irish Voices, Mary McAleese discusses her recent memoir, Here’s The Story (2020), in conversation with Carlo Gébler.
About Dr Mary McAleese: Born in Belfast, Dr Mary McAleese is a law graduate from Queen’s University. In 1975 she was appointed Reid Professor of Law at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1987 she returned to Queen’s as Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and in 1994 she became its first female pro-Vice Chancellor. She is the first President of Ireland to have come from Northern Ireland, a position she held for two terms from 1997-2011. The theme of her presidency was “building bridges” and she has a longstanding interest in many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation. Since stepping down as President she has gained a PhD in canon law (2018).
Throughout her distinguished career Mary McAleese has received numerous prestigious awards and honorary doctorates: amongst others these include The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award (2007) and honorary doctorates of law from the University of Otago, New Zealand (2007), Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, (2009) and Fordham University in the Bronx, New York (2010). In 2009 she became the third living person to be awarded the Freedom of Kilkenny. In 2013 a ceremony was held to rename a bridge on the MI motorway near Drogheda as the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge to honour her contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process.
About Dr Carlo Gébler: Carlo Gébler is the author of nearly 30 works including novels, plays, short stories, children’s fiction, travel writing, historical pieces and a memoir. His more recent work includes The Wing Orderly’s Tales (2016), The Innocent of Falkland Road (2017) a retelling of Aesop’s Fables (2019) and Tales We Tell Ourselves: A Selection From ‘The Decameron’ (2020).
He has contributed extensively to a wide variety of publications including Critical Quarterly, The Dublin Review, Fiction Magazine, The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Irish Independent.