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Changing Times - The Allenwood Conversations Logo


Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy

A former President of Ireland, a broadcasting icon and an array of guests with an incredible story to tell.

Produced by Enda Grace at Dundara Television and Media.

Dundara Television & Media Edit Suite 1
Changing Times - The Allenwood Conversations
Dermot Kennedy at Dundara Television & Media

Changing Times
The Allenwood Conversations

Season 1

Twenty Episodes

Jarlath Burns at Dundara Television & Media
Keith Barry: Changing Times - The Allenwood Conversations
Roz Purcell with Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy at Dundara Television & Media
Rory O'Connor (Rory's Stories) at Dundara Television & Media
Rory O'Connor (Rory's Stories) at Dundara Television & Media


Jarlath Burns


Eimear Noone


Keith Barry


Anne Doyle


Damian Browne


Stefanie Preissner


Phil Coulter


Roz Purcell


Daniel O'Donnell


Rory O'Connor


Eileen Dunne


Sean Boylan


Noel Cunningham


Don Mescall





Select to Listen and for Transcription

Changing Times - The Allenwood Conversations
Enda Grace, Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy at Dundara Television & Media
Enda Grace, Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy at Dundara Television & Media

Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese is an accomplished Irish politician, barrister, and academic who served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. Born on June 27, 1951, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she was the first individual from Northern Ireland to hold the office of President of Ireland. Her presidency is noted for its focus on bridging divides between communities, particularly the Protestant and Catholic populations in Northern Ireland, and fostering peace and reconciliation.

Before her presidency, McAleese had a distinguished career in law and academia. She studied law at Queen's University Belfast, where she later became the first female Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Her legal career saw her called to both the Northern Irish and Irish bars, and she worked extensively in broadcasting, notably as a journalist and presenter with RTÉ, Ireland's national television and radio broadcaster. Her legal and academic expertise, combined with her personal experiences growing up in a divided Belfast, shaped her approach to politics and public service.

McAleese's tenure as President of Ireland was marked by her commitment to social justice, equality, and community-building. She was deeply involved in promoting the Northern Ireland peace process, using her role to encourage dialogue and understanding between different factions. Her presidency was also characterized by her engagement with the Irish diaspora, strengthening Ireland's connections with its global community.


McAleese's work earned her widespread respect and admiration, both domestically and internationally.

After her presidency, McAleese continued to contribute to public life, focusing on issues such as human rights, social justice, and education. She pursued further academic work, obtaining a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Throughout her career, Mary McAleese has remained a significant figure in Irish public life, known for her dedication to peace, equality, and the betterment of society.

In recent years, Mary McAleese has embraced new media by hosting a podcast, where she discusses a wide range of topics including politics, religion, and social issues. The podcast, which features interviews with notable figures from various fields, reflects her ongoing commitment to dialogue and understanding. Through this platform, McAleese continues to influence public discourse, bringing her insights and experiences to a broad audience.

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy is a renowned Irish television presenter, author, and journalist, best known for her work with RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcaster. Born on October 4, 1954, in Clondalkin, Dublin, she has become a beloved figure in Irish media over a career spanning several decades. Kennedy's warm and engaging on-screen presence has made her a household name, particularly through her long association with the popular magazine show "Nationwide," which she co-presented from 2004 until her retirement in 2019.

Kennedy began her career in education, working as a teacher before transitioning into journalism. She joined RTÉ in the late 1970s, quickly establishing herself as a versatile and skilled broadcaster. Over the years, she has hosted a variety of programs, from news and current affairs to entertainment and cultural shows. Her ability to connect with viewers and convey stories with empathy and clarity has earned her a loyal following and numerous accolades.

One of Kennedy's most significant contributions to Irish television was her role as the co-host of "Nationwide." The program, which explores local stories and issues across Ireland, became a platform for highlighting the richness of Irish life and culture. Kennedy's storytelling prowess and genuine interest in the people she interviewed made the show a staple of Irish television. Her work on "Nationwide" not only entertained but also informed and united viewers by showcasing the diverse experiences and heritage of communities throughout the country.

Beyond her television career, Mary Kennedy is also an accomplished author, having written several books that blend memoir, inspiration, and reflections on Irish life. Her writings often draw from her personal experiences, offering insights into her journey in the media and her perspectives on family, faith, and resilience. Kennedy's literary contributions have further cemented her reputation as a thoughtful and influential voice in Irish culture.

In recent years, adapting to the changing media landscape, Mary Kennedy has embraced podcasting. She hosts "The Allenwood Conversations," where she engages with guests from various backgrounds, discussing a wide range of topics including community stories, personal journeys, and cultural insights. This move into podcasting allows Kennedy to continue her passion for storytelling and connecting with audiences in a more intimate and accessible format. Her podcast reflects her enduring commitment to sharing the stories of Ireland and its people, bridging traditional and new media to remain a significant presence in Irish cultural life.

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