Many of you will already know how modern homeopathy came to Ireland, but for those of you around the world who don’t, here is a short introduction.
FadÃ³, fadÃ³ (which means long, long ago in our native language) there were three Dutch homeopaths and teachers who wanted to extend their homeopathic schooling from the continent and so they set out for Ireland to set up a school. For hundreds of years Ireland has been known as “the Land of Saints and Scholars” and it seemed only fitting to bring the light of homeopathy to this emerald island at the very edge of Europe. The three homeopaths, Ab, Ari and Bert arrived in Dublin with a dream and not much else. They knew no one and had no idea how to go about setting up a school in Ireland but believed they were doing the right thing and so they set off full of inspiration and not a little naivety.
One evening they were driving along a small country road in County Wicklow deeply discussing homeopathic philosophy when it dawned on them that they were completely lost. Now Ireland is not a place to ask for directions as any tourist will tell you. Either your question will be met with a question, “Can you tell me how to get to the nearest post-office?” to which the reply will be “Is it a postage stamp you’re looking for?” or the directions will be a mixture of compass bearings and landmarks, “You go east the road until you see the red farmhouse, then you go west the road until you see the McCarthy’s pub and where you’re looking for won’t be very far from there…” to useless advice “Can you tell me how to get to Dingle please?” to which the answer is “Well, if I was going to Dingle I wouldn’t start from here anyway”.
As luck would have it our Dutch friends saw the light of a house in the distance and they decided to explain both their plight of being lost and also their dream of setting up a homeopathy school. Of all the houses in the whole of Ireland they knocked at the door of the director of The Natural Medicine Company who not only took them in and made them tea but also gave them practical help and advice on how to achieve their goal. That fateful, or fated meeting in 1989 lead to the establishment of The Irish School of Homeopathy and it has been running successfully ever since.
Ab, Ari and Bert taught the first class in the School of which I was a student but they always wanted the School to be both owned and run locally. During the year, Declan Hammond came back to Ireland from his worldwide travels and joined the Dutch homeopaths in providing lectures at the school and once he made Ireland his home again he was invited to become a director of the school as did I after graduation. There have been many changes over the years and the school continues to thrive and attract new students making it one of the longest established and successful homeopathy schools in the world today. The School now has four directors, Declan Hammond, Gerry Murphy, Anne Walker and Angie Murphy together with a dedicated team of core teachers, international teachers, tutors and supervisors.
Ireland has always had a community mentality. While this attitude has been tested and changed over the years, especially as the country became more materialistic, there is still very much a community and family ideal that permeates Irish culture and society today. This is very evident in the homeopathic community in Ireland. Shortly after the School was established The Irish Society of Homeopaths (www.irishhomeopathy.ie ) was set up and is the professional body for homeopaths for the last twenty years. The membership is made up of students and graduates from all of the accredited course providers, The Irish School of Homeopathy, The Burren School of Homeopathy, The Galway College of Homeopathy and the Tralee College of Homeopathic Medicine. There are now approximately four hundred members and it represents a vibrant community of homeopaths who are involved in all aspects of healthcare. There are practitioners all around the country and they are providing an essential service to families and individuals and raising awareness generally of a holistic approach to healthcare.
The Irish Society of Homeopaths sets and maintains the standards for professional homeopathic practice in Ireland. It has a robust Code of Ethics and Practice and a number of working groups dealing with issues like accreditation of courses, education and media. The Society is a member of the ECCH and ICH and contributes to the ongoing development of homeopathy worldwide. You will find much more information on the work of the Society on their website.
In the School we try in everything we do to reflect the underlying philosophy of homeopathy. Homeopathy is about the individual, and the way in which each person expresses themselves in their lives and relationships, and is unique to that person. The School seeks to value and nurture that uniqueness and this philosophy is reflected in how the course is taught and how the students are assessed. Becoming a homeopath is a process and we aim to provide opportunities for each student to engage in that process at a fundamental level. There are many changes in students over the four years of their professional training, and their graduation is always a celebration not only of the knowledge and skills learned but also the changes people have made in their lives to enable them to work deeply with patients. The School has a range of courses available from introductory courses right though to post-graduate and CPD.
While homeopathy is about the individual, it is not about individualism. Homeopaths provide a vital service within their community, whether they practice on their own or are part of a team. There have been many initiatives to bring homeopathy to people who would not otherwise benefit and you can read about one of these initiatives in the article by Rita Garland. This is a project run in the inner city of Dublin by a group of volunteers and provides a model for how this might be achieved in other cities around the world.
Homeopathy not only helps patients and their families throughout their lives and but it is also there to assist patients at the end of their lives. There are many hospice foundations around the world that would benefit from having homeopathy available for those who are preparing to die. Anne Marie O’Bradaigh has been interested in this work for some time and you can read more about her work and patients in her article about End of Life Care.
There is a wide ranging interview with Declan Hammond who is mentioned earlier in this piece together with some very interesting cases. Declan sees homeopathy as a tool for personal growth and development and his practice goes far beyond the traditional ideas for case taking and treatment.
There are also cases from Grainne Adams and Bernie Smyth who are lecturers in the School. I think you will find the cases interesting and they re-affirm how deep acting and life changing homeopathic treatment can be.
I hope you have enjoyed this short introduction to homeopathy in Ireland and perhaps you might visit our country sometime. The Irish Society of Homeopaths is hosting its First Annual Conference this year and the theme of the conference is Treating Children with Homeopathy. There is a very interesting line-up of speakers and topics and it is a unique and exciting opportunity to meet old and new friends from around the world. If you would like more information or would like to attend there are details on the Society’s website. Also if you liked the articles you have read, some are provided and reproduced with kind permission of the Homeopathic Times which is the journal of the profession in Ireland and you may subscribe through the Society’s website also.
It has been our privilege to be invited by Hpathy to submit articles for this May edition of the ezine and if you would like to find out more about us please visit our website at www.ish.ie  or you may contact me directly through the editor.
Irish School of Homeopathy.