CHERIE Blair has told of her husband's dream to holiday with their four children in his ancestral home of Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.
The 59-year-old wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair returned to Irish shores for a whistlestop tour yesterday.
"I really enjoy coming to Ireland, I was here last year for the International Bar Association meeting in Dublin and I love coming here. I have brought my children here and my husband's real ambition is to take them back to Ballyshannon, where he used to go as a boy," she said.
"My own great-grandmother came from Co Cork also and her family were going to go to the US but never got further than Liverpool," Mrs Blair said.
There was a time when "Tony was just the husband of the MP candidate". Mrs Blair contested the seat of North Thanet in Kent for Labour at the 1983 UK general election, losing to Conservative candidate Roger Gale.
Her husband was unhappy in the period when it looked like her political career would overtake his. "If that had continued, he probably would have divorced me," she joked.
'Her Story' contains 36 images of girls up to 17 years of age, taken by Irish photographer Jason Clarke. The exhibition features images of 18 Irish and 18 Sierra Leonean participants in their natural environments.
"I've been involved with Plan International for a number of years now," she said. "I also launched the campaign for girls when I was still at Downing Street and I think it's a fantastic idea because we often talk about the problems for women, but we forget that they start at the beginning of life when you're a girl.
"Often you're dismissed as just a girl and what this exhibition reminds us is that these girls are full of potential and talent."
Earlier in the day, Mrs Blair addressed a packed audience at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin for Women in Business. In an hour-long discussion that touched on her upbringing and life as a London barrister, Mrs Blair gave several examples of moments in her career when she felt underestimated because of her gender.