30 Years of Migraine Ireland – 30 Years of Migraine

By 1 March 2024March 22nd, 2024Health, Lifestyle, MAI News, Special

The Headache Lady

30 years ago, a lady called Audrey Craven sat at her kitchen table in a last-ditch desperate attempt to get her and her fellow headache sufferers help for a condition that there was very little understanding about, and even less support.

She wrote to the late Gay Byrne and Gerry Ryan about a meeting she had arranged to have in a Dublin hotel. She asked for them to
put a call out to people who live with headaches who might be experiencing migraine.

Expecting maybe 10 or 20, she was amazed when a couple of hundred people turned up, and each of them had their own story, experience, or knowledge of migraine. The Migraine Association of Ireland was born that evening.

Since 1994 The Migraine Association of Ireland, aka Migraine Ireland, has progressed from a small charity run by volunteers to a national charity with 5 members of staff.


We’ve had some ups and downs throughout the years, but we’re delighted to have been involved in so
many successes such as;

  • The development of Headache Clinics in some of the main Irish hospitals
  • Our Self-Management Course
  • The Sláintecare Towards Self-Care in Headache Pilot Project
  • Getting the Headache Pathway included in the National Strategic Plan for Neurology
  • Working with amazing organisations such as the NAI, IPPOSI, ICGP, RCSI, GPAC, Migraine Canada, The
    American Headache Society, The Migraine Trust, OUCH UK, and many more*
  • Bringing some serious national and international talent to do our talks.
  • Participating in academic research projects with various universities in Ireland
  • Increased our combined online reach to almost 2,000,000 (yes you saw it TWO MILLION) people!

These are a few examples, but not too shabby for a small organisation, me thinks!


To all the amazing staff, CEOs, and board members that have volunteered and worked for MAI over the
years, we hope you are proud of what you have helped to build.

We thank you all for so graciously sharing your knowledge and expertise with us over the last 30 years.
You have allowed us to reach more people and spread far beyond our ambition to create more
awareness of migraine and shine a (dim) light in the darkness. We look forward to continuing our
collaborations with you all.

The team here at Migraine Ireland would like to sincerely thank you, our supporters, many of whom
have been with us throughout the journey. We appreciate your support, encouragement, and ongoing
engagement, and hope to be able to provide you with information and support for many more years.

Organisation Initials explained*

NAI – Neurological Alliance of Ireland

IPPOSI – Irish Platform for Patients’ Organisations, Science and Industry

ICGP – Irish College of General Practitioners

RCSI – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

GPAC – Global Patient Advocacy Coalition

OUCH UK – Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache



Migraine 30 years ago was a different beast. There was little to no understanding of what the condition
was. Women were dismissed when they complained of headache and other symptoms as being
hysterical, stressed, hormonal or simply just imagining things. And for men, it was just headaches.
There were few effective treatments, and only treatments for other conditions were used until…

The Dawn of the Triptans!!!

The 90s saw the very first migraine specific medication type, the Triptan. These medications for the first
time ever legitimised migraine as an actual condition that had to or could be treated.


Ten years later, in the early – mid noughties, researchers developed the CGRP Monoclonal Antibodies.
They discovered that a substance called Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide (CGRP) is released during a
migraine attack for some reason and it interferes with the blood vessels, triggering dilation and pain
among other things.

Laboratory created antibodies were developed to create medications that target this substance and stop
it from completing its actions, either sweeping it away or preventing it from covering the nerve and
binding with it.


These medications began to become more accessible in the 2010s and now 2020s with even more on the
horizon, so the past 30 years of migraine treatment have moved in leaps and bounds.

Migraine has been officially recognised by the WHO as the number one cause of disability in the world
for women between 15 and 49 years of age.

More and more researchers are becoming involved, many due to their own experiences with migraine, or
a loved one with migraine. But we need more.

Unfortunately, the attitude of society, people both in and out of the medical profession and many people
who we feel should know better, still regard migraine as ‘just a headache’.

I hope it won’t take another 30 years for this to change.


Disclaimer: All information contained in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes. The information is not intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment or for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition. If you have any concerns regarding your Migraine or medication please speak to your GP or specialist