From June 4 to July 2, 2016, 14 Eastern psychology majors studied History of Psychology at University College Dublin, Ireland, with Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Jenna Scisco. 2016 is an important year for the Republic of Ireland which is celebrating the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising, a revolutionary event that led to Ireland’s ultimate independence from Britain. Students were immersed in Ireland’s fascinating, yet turbulent, history through a historical walking tour in Dublin’s city center, a visit to the Michael Collins Center in Clonakilty to learn about his critical contributions to the Irish Revolution and Civil War, and a guided tour of Skibbereen Heritage Center to learn about the tragic Great Famine. The students also visited Kerry Wollen Mill to learn about the wool industry in Ireland and toured the beautiful Ring of Kerry on Ireland’s southwest coast. On another course excursion, the students visited Newgrange, an ancient tomb and spiritual site from 3200 BC, and Clonmacnoise, a monastic site settled in 544 AD. Gerald Conlogue, retired Professor of Diagnostic Imaging from Quinnipiac Unviersity, gave a guest lecture on bog bodies which was followed up by a visit to Mongan Bog.
By learning about the Ireland’s history through these site visits and associated readings, the students came to understand why psychology was late in arriving in Ireland relative to the United States, with modern scientific psychology appearing in the 1950s. Each student in the course wrote a biography of a current Irish psychologist and traced their academic lineage. Through this project, they explored how Irish psychologists were influenced by the original founders and schools of thought in psychology. At University College Cork, retired Senior Lecturer Dr. Ronny Swain gave an entertaining last lecture on the history of psychology in Ireland which placed psychology within Ireland’s historical and cultural contexts. The students also had the opportunity to see the Ballinasloe Asylum from the outside, providing a glimpse into Ireland’s past treatment of individuals in these facilities. To wrap up the four weeks in Ireland, students saw The Wake, a play at Abbey Theatre in Dublin, featuring an Irish woman with extreme behavior who ultimately was taken to an asylum to assess her mental health. It was the perfect ending to a successful Global Field Course on the History of Psychology!
Michael Collins Centre