History of the Department

Psychiatry is a medical speciality with a strong multidisciplinary ethos involving biological, psychological and social interventions. The Discipline of Psychiatry at Trinity College has a long tradition. Funded by a bequest from Jonathan Swift, St Patrick’s University Hospital (SPUH) (founded 1746) was one of the world’s first psychiatric hospitals. Notable College figures including John Cheyne (1777-1836), John Eustace (1791-1867), Thomas Drapes (1847-1919) and Connolly Norman (1853-1908) contributed to the emergence of academic and clinical psychiatry in Ireland and internationally. Undergraduate instruction in mental disease began in 1893, but it was not until 1969 that Professor Peter Beckett (1922-1974) was appointed as Professor of a newly established Department of Psychiatry. This was one of the first nationally to provide community based services and played a major role in developing Post Graduate Psychiatric Training in Ireland. Members of the Discipline, most notably Professor Anthony Clare (1942-2007), have been influential in changing public perception of mental illness. We are an active and expanding Discipline involved in education, research and clinical service delivery.

Full-time staff members provide clinical services to, and work in partnership with, HSE child, adult and later life community mental health services in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group area, the national forensic service at the Central Mental Hospital and St Partick’s University Hospital. Part-time staff members work in a wide range of HSE community services, forensic services, learning disability, liaison psychiatry, drug treatment services and other sub- specialties.

The Discipline is involved in teaching throughout the undergraduate medical curriculum, contributing to other undergraduate courses, organizing postgraduate courses and providing a post-graduate professional training to the next generation of Psychiatrists.

We are very research focused and involved in a wide range of basic science and clinical research. We have internationally recognized research groups in Genomics, Neuroimaging, Molecular Neuroscience and Brain Health/Ageing. We work closely with colleagues at the Insititutes of Translational Medicine (TTMI), Neuroscience (TCIN), Biomedical Sciences (TBSI) Trinity Translational Medicine Institute (TTMI), national and international collaborators (e.g. Broad Institute MIT/Harvard, Oxford University, University of Toronto, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, University of California San Francisco) to develop better understanding of the biology of mental disorders and improve patient care.