Céad míle fáilte! (one hundred thousand welcomes!)

The members of the Irish Society for Parasitology are a diverse group from academia, industry and government who are involved in teaching and working within the broad area of parasitology.  

The society aims to advance the study of parasitology, facilitate communication between those interested in parasitology, and promote the dissemination of information and resources for teaching and research in parasitology.  

The key activity of the ISP is the annual scientific meeting and AGM, which is an opportunity to share research results and network with members of the Irish parasitology community. For more details check out our History below, our ‘Honorary members’, the 'Awards and Prizes' we offer, and our 'Meetings' pages. 

We are open to everybody! To join the ISP please email irishsoc.parasitology@gmail.com.


History of the ISP

Parasitology was represented in Ireland for many years by the ‘Irish Society of Parasitology’. While no records of this society have survived, it is thought to have been founded by Professor Fergus O’Rourke of University College Cork, in the 1950s. It apparently met infrequently and sporadically, reflecting the limited amount of research then taking place in the country. The final meeting appears to have been in the 1970s at the UCD Faculty of Agriculture, then located in the Albert College, Glasnevin, Dublin (now part of Dublin City University).

The numbers of parasitologists in Ireland increased markedly in the 1980s, many of whom met up regularly in the UK at meetings of the British Society for Parasitology and/or the Association of Veterinary Teachers and Research Workers. By the early 1990s it was evident that there was sufficient interest amongst a small number of Irish research parasitologists to re-launch the ‘Irish Parasitology Interest Group’ in the Veterinary College, UCD, Ballsbridge, Dublin, in March 1993. At this meeting, the eminent parasitologist Lawson Soulsby (as E. J. L. Soulsby, the author of some highly influential textbooks, and since 1990 Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior) presented a lecture entitled ‘A Worm's Eye View - 21st Century Outlook’. The seminar was very well attended with more than 50 participants, and also received significant sponsorship from veterinary pharmaceutical companies.

With this encouragement the Irish Society for Parasitology was duly inaugurated and had its first meeting on 1st-2nd October 1993 at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. At the AGM during this meeting, Professor Rob Lee was voted in as the first ISP President, supported by an executive consisting of an Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, and six general members including two graduate students. Over the next few months a Constitution was formulated, which although remaining in draft form for many years, has formed the basis for the functioning of the society. Annual meetings have taken place at varied venues since the formation of the society. Now the society has become firmly established, with a large mailing list

First ISP President

Professor Lee was Dean of the faculty of veterinary medicine at Dublin University (TCD) when the two veterinary faculties in Dublin were amalgamated within University College Dublin (UCD).

Rob Lee grew up in Glasnevin, Dublin, the son of a pharmacist who came from solid Scottish farming stock. After secondary education as a day pupil at St Andrew’s College, he entered the veterinary college in Ballsbridge in 1938 and emerged as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in July 1943. Within weeks, he was accepted into the British Colonial Veterinary Services. After spells at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Department of Agriculture in Dublin, he travelled to Africa in 1952 as a veterinary parasitologist in northern Nigeria. In 1961, he returned to Dublin as a lecturer in parasitology at UCD and in 1966, he moved to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) as professor of clinical veterinary sciences. In 1969, he was elected fellow of Trinity College. In 1970, he was appointed Dean of the TCD school. He organised the relocation of the Vet College to UCD when the then government decreed that veterinary education should be unified. After his return to UCD, he pursued his academic life as professor of veterinary parasitology and he became involved in many government and academic initiatives concerned with Africa. As technical consultant to the Department of Foreign Affairs, he was involved in the development of livestock production on the island of Pemba

Past ISP Presidents

Rob Lee,  Celia Holland, Grace Mulcahy, Dermot O’Brien, Jeremy Gray, Tom Murphy, Theo de Waal and Sandra O’Neill

Honorary Life Members

Rob Lee, Charlie Hatch, Stuart Taylor, Dermot O’Brien, Jeremy Grey and William C. Campbell.