Did you know that Ballina is the childhood home of Ireland’s first female president , Mary Robinson?
Mary Robinson was born in Ballina in 1944. She served as the 7th president of Ireland between 1990 and 1997 and historically she became the first woman to be elected as president of Ireland.
Robinson embraced a much more influential role as president than her predecessors, and she did a huge amount to encourage a more modern picture of Ireland. She was the first head of state to visit Somalia after the civil war and famine there in 1992, and also the first to visit Rwanda after the genocide there in 1994. Shortly before her term as president expired, she took up the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCHR).
Robinson adjusted the priorities of her office as high commissioner to emphasize the promotion of human rights at the national and regional levels, she was the first UN High Commissioner to visit China, and she also assisted in developing human rights monitoring in Kosovo. She was elected chancellor of Trinity College in 1998, a position she held until 2019.
Mary Robinson's childhood home, a three storey period home on Victoria Terrace on the banks of the River Moy, where she dreamed big dreams as a young girl, was purchased by Mayo County Council in 2019. The Mary Robinson Centre, a presidential library in the style of the United States, has been under construction since the Victorian house owned by Mrs. Robinson's brother Adrian Bourke was purchased.
The Mary Robinson Centre is Ireland’s first Presidential Library and a centre for change. Modelled on the Libraries synonymous with all former Presidents in the US, The Mary Robinson Centre will include a museum, archive, research and educational facility supported by NUI Galway and an events venue. It will be located on the banks of the River Moy in Ballina, just a stones throw away from us here at the Ballina Manor Hotel.