Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first woman president, is developing Ireland’s first presidential library.
The Mary Robinson Centre is expected to open in 2017 at her childhood home in Ballina, County Mayo, with an adjoining state-of-the-art archive and research facility. The Centre will be run as an academic partnership with National University of Ireland in Galway, as well as cooperative relationships with some of the more than 60 universities around the globe that have conferred honorary doctorates to Robinson.
Digitization of Robinson’s papers from her years as president, 1990-1997 (read about functions of the office in Ireland); United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, 1997-2002; as well as her earlier work as a barrister and member of the Irish Senate, is expected to be completed by the time the centre opens.
The €8.5 million project has all but the last €1 million of funding in place. Toward that end, Robinson will be the keynote speaker at the Irish American Partnership’s annual Nollaig na mBan (Woman’s Christmas) on Jan. 6, 2016, at the University Club of Washington, D.C. Register here.
The opening of the centre will be real boost to Ballina, which lies at the mouth of the River Moy and offers some of the finest salmon fishing in Ireland. The town is already home to The Jackie Clarke Collection, which includes artifacts associated with Theobald Wolfe Tone; letters from Michael Collins, Douglas Hyde, Michael Davitt and O’Donovan Rossa; plus rare books, proclamations, posters, political cartoons, pamphlets, handbills, maps, hunger strike material and personal items from leaders of the 1916 Rising.
Is it possible America’s first woman president will join the international visitors who attend the grand opening of the Mary Robinson Centre?