This article is adapted from "Ireland National Tour" prepared by S. Kennedy, 2008, which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Supl. 1).
The origins of psychology in Ireland can be traced back to the centuries-old tradition of philosophical studies in the centers of learning of the Early Christian Era. Internationally recognized contributors to psychological thought in the pre-scientific era range from Johannes Eriugena (Scottus) in the ninth century to George Berkeley in the eighteenth. While a Chair of Logic and Psychology was established in the Dublin College of the newly founded National University of Ireland as early as 1909, psychology was studied then as an essentially philosophical discipline. Somewhat later, psychology came to be seen as a discipline whose practical applications justified its inclusion in programs of teacher education. For one such course in Dublin, Ant Sr. Maire published Aigneolaiocht, a psychology textbook, in 1928. In the late 1940s, psychology began to emerge as an independent empirical discipline. The first Irish professional psychologists qualified in 1950 with a B.Ed. degree from the Queen's University of Belfast. Ten years later, the first psychologists to qualify in Dublin were awarded a postgraduate DipPsych.
Research in psychology in the Republic of Ireland is conducted in the country's four University Colleges as well as in a number of Dublin based specialized centers devoted to research and training in the social sciences, e.g., the Educational Research Centre. Heavy teaching loads in rapidly growing University Departments and the absence of consistent funding have militated against the development of large-scale research projects. Most funded research is geared towards the improved functioning of educational and health services and of industrial organizations.
Full university degrees in psychology are now available at four University Colleges in the Republic of Ireland and at four University centers in Northern Ireland. In these, 496 students completed courses of either three or four years leading to a basic degree in psychology in 1991. After graduating, some students go on to take M.A. and Ph.D. degrees by research. Others work for postgraduate professional degrees such as the MPsychSc degree in Clinical Psychology at University College, Dublin, the MSc in Counseling at Trinity College, Dublin or the M.A. in Human Resource and Occupational Psychology at University College, Cork. Some also avail themselves of the opportunities for advanced training available abroad, especially in the United States and in Britain. In the Republic of Ireland, psychologists are employed in a variety of settings. Apart from academic departments, the main employment agencies are the Department of Education, the Health Boards, voluntary organizations providing services for people with learning disabilities and the public and private sectors of industry. In general, psychology is now well established in Ireland. Psychologists in Ireland are not legally registered, but since 1991 the Psychological Society of Ireland has operated a voluntary form of registration and has published an annual register.
In 1979 the Psychological Society of Ireland developed a code of professional ethics to which its own members subscribe. The code was revised and enlarged in 1991 and again in 1998 (see Swain (2000) in European Psychologist, 5, 19-27.
Irish Journal of Psychology, 1971- , 4/year
Irish Psychologist, 1974- , 12/year