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News Archive 2014

First ever Female President of the Royal Irish Academy

Thursday, 20 March, 2014 


The Royal Irish Academy has elected its first female president in its 229-year history. UCD Professor Mary E. Daly will be the 55th president of Ireland’s leading academic institution and will take up the three-year post immediately.

Professor Daly is one of Ireland’s most prominent senior historians and is a member of the government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations.

Professor of History at University College Dublin, Mary E. Daly served for seven years as Principal of UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies. She has also held visiting positions at Harvard and Boston College. She has served on the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. From 2000 to 2004 she was Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy and vice-chair of the Academy’s Working Group on Higher Education.

Professor Daly was involved in the commemoration of the sesquicentenary of the great famine 1995-97, and with Dr Margaret O’Callaghan she directed a research project on the Golden Jubilee of the 1916 Rising, resulting in the publication of a major edited work: 1916 in 1966: commemorating the Easter Rising (2007).

Over the course of her distinguished career, Professor Daly has researched widely and published prolifically, notably: Dublin, the Deposed Capital: A Social and Economic History, 1860-1914 (1984); Women and Work in Ireland (1997); The Slow Failure: Population Decline and Independent Ireland, 1920-1973 (2006); and, with Theo Hoppen, Gladstone: Ireland and Beyond (2011).

Professor Daly said that she is looking forward to taking up her new role in the Academy.  ‘It is a place of great ideas and energy’.

Other scholars who have held the position of President of the Royal Irish Academy include: Eoin MacNeill (1940-3), T.K. Whittaker (1985-7) and James Dooge (1987-90).

UCD Professor Imelda Maher, who holds the Sutherland Chair in European Law at UCD Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin was elected as the Royal Irish Academy’s Honorary Secretary (Humanities and Social Sciences).

The Royal Irish Academy has 482 Members including Mary McAleese, Mary Robinson, Roy Foster, Nuala O’Loan, Peter Sutherland, Susan Denham, Geraldine Kennedy, Patrick Honohan and Frances Ruane.



(Produced by UCD University Relations)