Irene was inducted into The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame.

Irene held 15 Canadian Championships, 6 U.S. National Championships, and 2 Mexican Championships from 1951-61. She won a bronze and a silver medal in springboard diving at the 1954 and 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games respectively. A member of the 1955 and 1959 Pan Am Games teams, placing 4th in both years, she won a bronze in the 3m springboard at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and member of the 1960 Canadian Olympic Team.

MacDonald had extensive administrative experience, including chairman of diving for Canada (1962-66) and Technical Director for the Canadian Diving Association (1967-69). She was a well respected and long-time coach whose effective methods produced numerous national and international champions including Hall of Famer, Tom Dinsley.