Born in Dublin, Eileen Kane was educated at the Dominican College, Eccles Street, and at University College Dublin. After a number of years as a secondary school teacher, she moved to the Department of External Affairs as Third Secretary, before returning to UCD to study History of Art under the late Dr Françoise Henry, and to take up a post as Assistant, and subsequently Lecturer in the History of European Painting.
She was awarded the degree of Ph.D. for her thesis on the arts in post-papal Avignon. Her research interests and academic publications have centred upon Avignon, Rome and Dublin. Since her retirement from UCD, she has concentrated on her interest in Christian art and spirituality, and has published regularly in that area. Doctor Kane is a Dame of the Order of Pope St Gregory.