Mary Guckian was born at Kiltoghert, Co. Leitrim, one of a family of seven. She was reared on a totally self-sufficient organic farm and worked with Leitrim and Sligo County Councils before moving to Dublin Corporation. Later she travelled and worked in Sydney, Tasmania, the Channel Islands and Oxford. She now works in the library of the Institute of Public Administration.
Mary enjoys photography and produced a series of postcards during the 1980s that sold around Ireland. Her work has also been exhibited.
Her first book Perfume of the Soil (1999), enjoyed great success and has been reprinted. The book is an invitation to delve into life in rural Ireland throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Some of her poems also speak of modern Ireland and about life in the city. Her observations, emotions and sheer ability to go straight to the heart of a subject make her work popular and celebratory.