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Here’s the Story with Mary McAleese

13 November , 7:00 pm 8:00 pm GMT


In Conversation With Aoife Barry

Join Dublin Book Festival in welcoming Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese to this exclusive online event to celebrate the publication of her memoirs, Here’s the Story (Sandycove).  In Here’s the Story, the groundbreaking two-term President of Ireland tells the stories of her life, and at this inspirational evening of discussion, she will offer invaluable and inspirational insights from her many years of public service.

When a young Mary McAleese told a priest that she planned to become a lawyer, the priest dismissed the idea: she knew no one in the law, and she was female. The reality of what she went on to achieve – despite those obstacles, and despite a sectarian attack that forced her family to flee their home – is even more improbable.

In this luminous memoir, Mary McAleese traces that astonishing arc: from the tight streets of north Belfast, to a professorship in Dublin while still in her twenties, behind-the-scenes work on the peace process, and two triumphant terms as President of Ireland. She writes of her encounters with prime ministers, popes and royalty with the same easy candour and intimacy with which she describes her childhood. And her account of the latest act in her remarkable career – quietly pursuing a doctorate, and loudly opposing the misogyny of the Catholic Church – is inspiring.

Here’s the Story is warm, witty, often surprising and relentlessly fascinating: an extraordinarily intimate memoir by one of the most remarkable public figures of our time.

Watch back now:

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Aoife Barry

Aoife Barry is a reporter and assistant news editor at, and producer of The Explainer podcast. She is also a regular contributor to Arena and Today With Claire Byrne on RTE Radio 1. Her own writing has been featured on Sunday Miscellany and in Banshee journal. She co-presents the culture podcast Get Around To It, with Lauren Murphy.

Praise for Here’s the Story

‘A fascinating story and well worth the read’ Irish Times

‘RivetingA fiercely urgent reminder to the world – and the Government – that peace must never be sacrificed for politicsTelegraph

‘Excellent’ Matt Cooper, Irish Daily Mail

Artful, entertaining and often enlightening – one of the few memoirs by a senior Irish office-holder that’s actually worth reading’ Sunday Times

‘I was enthralled and absorbed by this memoir’ Sunday Independent

‘What an incredible life lived by an outstanding role model. I ate this book up’ Sinéad Moriarty

‘Full of conviction and isn’t afraid of plain speaking … Priests, popes, paramilitaries and Ian Paisley are all held to account’ Herald Scotland

[A] chatty, provocative and embraceable biography’ RTÉ Guide

‘Compelling … Displays many of the qualities that made her such a popular president’ Business Post 

This is a pre-recorded online event

In the midst of these further strange and uncertain times, Dublin Book Festival is here to offer solace. While the Main Festival will still run this year from 27th November to 6th December with a myriad of events to explore from home, given the move to level 5 restrictions, the DBF team really wanted to play a small part in offering people some entertainment, comfort, and inspiration at this time. Welcome to The DBF Snug, a specially curated package of events, which will run from Tuesday 10th November to Friday 13th November.

Join us in John Boorman‘s estate, seek parenting advice from Dr Malie Coyne, escape to nature with Richard Nairn, and celebrate the launch of the next issue of Winter Papers with Kevin Barry and contributors. On Friday, we welcome Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese to celebrate the publication of her memoirs. So sit back, snuggle up, and let Dublin Book Festival do the rest.