Mary Patricia McAleese (ˌmækəˈliːs ; Máire Pádraigín Mhic Ghiolla Íosa; ; born 27 June 1951) is an Irish activist lawyer, academic, author, and former politician who served as the eighth president of Ireland from November 1997 to November 2011. McAleese was first elected as president in 1997, having received the nomination of Fianna Fáil. She succeeded Mary Robinson, making her the second female president of Ireland, and the first woman in the world to succeed another woman as president. She nominated herself for re-election in 2004 and was returned unopposed for a second term. McAleese is the first president of Ireland to have come from either Northern Ireland or Ulster.
McAleese graduated in law from Queen's University Belfast. In 1975, she was appointed Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin, and in 1987 she returned to her alma mater, Queen's, to become director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first fem