Mary E Daly Pauric Dempsey

Royal Irish Academy appoints first woman president in 229 years

The academy appointed its second female chief executive in November 2013.

IT TOOK 229 years, but the Royal Irish Academy has appointed its first female president.

Professor Mary E Daly was elected into the role yesterday, becoming the 55th president of Ireland’s leading academic institution.

She will take up the three-year post immediately. Professor Daly said that she was looking forward to taking up her new role, saying of the Academy:

It is a place of great ideas and energy.

In 2013, the Academy also appointed a woman as chief executive. Laura Mahoney had been acting CEO from November 2010 and is only the second woman to hold this position.


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

She has also held visiting positions at Harvard and Boston College and served on the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

Over the course of her career, Professor Daly has researched widely and published on subjects including Dublin, the Deposed Capital: A Social and Economic History, 1860-1914 (1984); and Women and Work in Ireland (1997).

Professor Imelda Maher, who holds the Sutherland Chair in European Law at UCD, was elected as the Royal Irish Academy’s Honorary Secretary.

Read: Could Mona Lisa have been a feminist who wanted more women in the Church?>

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