After meeting with the faithful today in St. Peter's Square, and before returning to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope spent a few minutes talking with McAleese.
The meeting took place in one of an office near the auditorium in Paul VI Hall. McAleese was accompanied by her husband and her entourage. The Holy See did not reveal details of their conversation.
Last July 7, the date of the terrorist attacks in London, Benedict XVI received Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in private audience.
Benedict XVI has begun a series of audiences with heads of state, in connection with the start of his pontificate. On Monday he met with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father also greeted privately, in the reception hall of Paul VI Hall, Prime Minister Jacques Sylla of Madagascar, who was accompanied by a small entourage.