Catherine Martin came relatively late to politics at the age of 34, but ever since she joined the Green Party, she has risen fast - and her ambition seems to know no bounds.
Her friends say that in another life, she could have been an accomplished singer, and in 2013 she had one of her proudest musical moments. As a teacher at St Tiernan's Community School in Dundrum on the southside of Dublin, she persuaded Glen Hansard to present the school with its green flag in recognition of environmental action.
The pair were filmed singing the Oscar-winner's hit 'Falling Slowly' in a duet, with Hansard on guitar and Martin accompanying him tunefully on piano.
Colleagues describe her as an avid Beatles fan and keen Gaeilgeoir, who would happily spend five hours at a fleadh cheoil. As a teenager, she spent a year learning Irish at Coláiste na Rinne in the Co Waterford Gaeltacht.
She joined the Green Party in 2007 and has said that the moment of political awakening came just after the birth of Turlough, the first of her three children.
"When you hold your baby in your arms, you're thinking how to protect that child," said Martin, who is married to the recently elected Green TD Francis Noel Duffy. "I felt I wanted to do something to secure his future and it got me thinking about the broader sense - and securing the nation's future."
Within four years she had been elected deputy leader of the Greens as a relative unknown. At the time, the party was on its knees.
Now, she has emerged as potentially the most powerful woman in the new government - if the administration gets off the ground.
Some of her more seasoned party colleagues were stunned when there were calls from party activists for her to topple Eamon Ryan as leader despite the recent series of Green election victories.
After working closely with the affable Ryan to revive her party, including four years sitting next to each other in the Dáil, and after they had taken the party's number of TDs from zero to 12, she is now seeking to have him removed when there is a leadership contest next month. She is doing so with the enthusiastic backing of many younger, more radical members of the party.
This week, as the Greens debated whether to support a programme for government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the mood was a strange mix of exhilaration and anguish.
On the one hand, the party has never been so powerful, putting its stamp on the programme with pledges for a transformation in environmental policy and dramatic cuts in greenhouse gases.
Whatever one's thoughts on the party, the programme is recognisably a Green document, with promises of everything from increased spending on cycling infrastructure to obligatory carbon footprint labels and a network of drinking-water fountains. On the other hand, with Martin mounting a leadership heave in the background, a party that normally likes to make decisions by consensus is being riven by conflict.
One seasoned Green Party activist, who has worked closely with both Ryan and Martin, told Review: "It has been really traumatic - the party is in bits over it. This has pulled people apart and it has been extremely stressful."
Martin herself has rallied the new younger members of the party, the so-called eco-socialists who have joined during the past four years.
According to one prominent member, many of these younger members see the Green Party as part of a protest movement rather than a more traditional political party. It is no longer "Fine Gael on bikes".
"They see the party as a Green version of People Before Profit, and for many of them, it is much more about marching, tweeting and protesting than achieving your goals in a coalition," said one Ryan supporter.
Close observers of the Greens are surprised to see Martin being portrayed as a bastion of the eco-socialist wing of the party, as she is not seen as particularly radical in her pronouncements.
She is more familiar with rallying support through parliamentary means in the Dáil than manning barricades or going on demos. She has been reluctant to be pigeonholed but said in an interview with the The University Times in 2017: "Maybe when you do examine our policies, we're going centre-left."
She may not be on the militant wing of the party, but there is a perception among her supporters that she would strike a harder bargain in government than Ryan, who is a natural conciliator, always reluctant to engage in confrontation.
Colette Finn, a Cork city councillor and one of the activists who urged Martin to stand as leader, told Review: "She is open to compromise, but she is much more definite about the lines that she will not compromise on."
Another close associate of Martin, who also admires Ryan's achievements, says: "One of the reasons why the eco-warriors prefer her is that she will not be interested in staying around for Mercs and perks. You won't find her in the Dáil bar, and she never drinks at all at functions.
"I don't think she would like to pull the plug on a new government, if it forms, but she won't hang around for four years if it goes wrong, like they did the last time, with disastrous results."
When she was growing up in Carrickmacross and in her early years as a schoolteacher in Dublin, Martin showed little sign that she would pursue a career as a politician.
Her mother, Kitty, was a nurse and her father Vinnie ran a painting and signwriting business that passed through seven generations in the Co Monaghan town.
Catherine attended St Louis Secondary school, also the alma mater of another distinguished Monaghan female politician who rose to fame in south Dublin, Monica Barnes.
Politics was discussed at the dinner table, but early on, it seemed that her brother Vincent P Martin would be the politician of the family.
He was elected to Carrickmacross Town Council, and became mayor of the town. It was when he stepped down to concentrate on his legal career that Catherine was co-opted on to the council for a short time.
Already based in Dublin as a schoolteacher, her period as a local politician in Monaghan was uneventful, apart from an incident in 2010 when she was among a group of councillors who voted to tear a page out of the council's guest book after it had been signed by the Israeli ambassador.
After Martin left the town council and was elected deputy leader of the Green Party, the local Sinn Féin politician Matt Carthy congratulated her on becoming "assistant captain of the Titanic".
But Martin quickly proved that she was not a political figure to be underestimated as she moved her political base to Dundrum, where she still worked as a teacher.
After her election as deputy leader, her relations with Ryan appeared to be warm and she canvassed for him in the disastrous election of 2011, when he lost his seat in Dublin South (he later moved to Dublin Bay South).
Martin once recalled: "The day after I was elected deputy leader… he rang and said we need to meet. I said, 'actually, I have no babysitter, the children are home, they're young'. He said, 'I'll come over to you'. We met in my kitchen, with my children with me. And that was me, thinking, 'I've picked the right party. I'm glad I'm deputy leader of this party'."
Her rapid rise as an electoral powerhouse, first in being elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and then to the Dáil in the Dublin Rathdown constituency is regarded as a case study in effective political campaigning, and she played an essential role in the Green revival.
Martin famously set out to win back the area for the Greens through years of walking and talking in the constituency. She characterised her long march to the Dáil as a "David-and-Goliath battle that took four years".
"I decided that I would have to go to every door," she told Review in 2018. "I started out campaigning to be a councillor two-and-a-half years before the 2014 local elections, and started walking door to door.
"I had one person with me, and after I was elected as a councillor, I continued canvassing for the Dáil seat. By the time the general election came, one voter told me it was my fifth time going to her door."
At the general election in 2016, all this walking and talking paid off: she unseated one of the big beasts of Irish politics, former cabinet minister Alan Shatter, and also dispatched the Labour minister Alex White. She added another ministerial scalp, Shane Ross, when she topped the poll this year.
Since her election, she has made it her business to encourage other women to run for office, and to advise them on campaigning strategy.
While Ryan tends to focus on environmental concerns, Martin has been much more vocal on feminist issues. She has highlighted the under-representation of women in politics, and she set up the cross-party women's caucus in the Oireachtas.
"When I took my seat, I felt I was drowning in a sea of suits, and I felt that something had to be done about it," she said. The group has focused on issues such as parental leave, domestic violence, gender quotas in elections and sexual harassment in the Oireachtas.
Her background as a teacher in a school with a high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds has spurred an interest in equality of opportunity in education.
Supporters hope that she may become the first Green minister for education in a new government.
As with any small party, the Greens face a dilemma as they weigh up the pros and cons of taking power.
They know from bitter experience that they could face obliteration at the polls after coalition with the Civil War parties. But on the other hand, this generation of Greens may not get a similar opportunity to implement their policies. And how would the electorate react if they walked away?
Since February's election, Martin's stance on coalition has been one of studied ambivalence.
Close associates have no doubt that she wants to go into government and become a cabinet minister, but she initially voted against talks with the two big parties.
She then led the Green negotiating team on the Programme for Government and approved the deal, but she hardly gave it a ringing endorsement in her initial response.
"We did not get everything we sought," she said in a statement afterwards. "I am however satisfied that the deal negotiated was the best achievable and that it includes some worthwhile and transformative policies."
Later in the week at the party's special online conference on the deal, she gave it a more enthusiastic endorsement, suggesting that the agreement is "the best green deal in the history of the country".
However, she still expressed reservations and said the party did not get everything it wanted, including on animal welfare and agricultural emissions.
Much was made of the fact that her husband Francis Noel Duffy, a lecturer in architecture, abstained in the parliamentary party vote on a deal that his wife had negotiated.
He spoke against the deal when it was put to members at Thursday’s conference. He told the meeting: “This Programme for Government will not deliver the change people demanded therefore I will vote no.”
One Green Party source said: "A lot of members would have loved that they voted a different way. It showed that he is not his wife's keeper and she is not his keeper."
Others put a different interpretation on the husband-and-wife divergence and saw it as -calculated.
"She wanted to show that she has a foot in both camps in the party," said one member. "It was a signal for her leadership campaign."
If the Greens go into government, Martin will secure a ministry, but there is still a lot to be played for when it comes to securing the leadership.
She has been effective at rallying support in the Dáil and among party activists.
Yet some doubt if she has the charisma of her occasionally gaffe-prone leader to make an impression on the public. They question whether she has made an impact beyond the Dáil and her party base.
If the government deal falls through, Ryan would probably have little alternative but to resign having invested so much in a deal. Martin will be in pole position to take over.
It's funny how conventional wisdom is arrived at in Ireland. Talking to people in both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, you'd be struck by the common assumption of many (not all) that Sinn Féin will be in power five years from now.
Whether it was climate change or a lack of air conditioning, the President’s Hall in the Law Society in north inner city Dublin was roasting. The high windows were open, but the hot July evening sun beat in.