Professor Risteárd Mulcahy was head of the cardiology department and the heart disease research unit at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. He was president of the Irish Medical Association, and one of the founders of the Irish Heart Association. Risteárd devoted much of his professional life researching the causes of coronary heart disease and was active in the prevention of heart disease through healthy eating, regular aerobic exercise and the control of cigarette smoking. He had a long-term interest in the health service in Ireland. Risteárd practised what he preached: he ran his first marathon at the age of sixty-one.