Roisin McAuley is the daughter of a chemist and grew up in Cookstown in County Tyrone in the 1950s, went to a convent boarding school, and then to Queen's University Belfast to study history. She joined BBC Northern Ireland as a newsreader and announcer, going on to become a reporter for BBC programmes such as Spotlight, Newsnight, Panorama and File on 4. She has also produced and directed television documentaries for ITV and Channel 4 and written and presented programmes on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She lives in Reading with her husband, Richard.
Roisin is the sister of BBC broadcaster and musician Tony McAuley and niece of Glens of Antrim painter Charles McAuley.