By far the most popular President of Ireland, Mary Robinson (nee Bourke) was born to her doctor parents in 1944 in Ballina, County Mayo. Politics was in Mary's blood as her family had links with every political strand in Ireland.
She became a pathfinder early when she received the permission of the Archbishop of Dublin to study in Trinity College. Barely in her twenties, she was appointed Reid Professor of Law in the College.
Mary entered politics and began to fight for women's causes. She married Nicholas Robinson in 1970 and the couple had three children. She served in the upper house in Irish Parliament as an independent senator, but in the mid 1970s joined the Irish Labour Party.
Robinson resigned from the party in early 1980s protesting the Anglo-Irish Agreement. In 1990, the Irish Labour Party asked her to became a candidate for the presidency, though few gave her any chance of winning.
Robinson proved a remarkably good president, earning the praise of her predecessor Brian Lenihan, who said that she was a better president than he ever could have been.
Thanks to her deep intellect and political acumen, she drastically changed the face of Anglo-Irish relations, becoming the first Irish president to be received by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. At the height of her popularity, Marry Robinson's popularity rating was 93 per cent.