A West Cork man has been appointed head of history at University College Cork (UCC).
Dr Mervyn O’Driscoll, who lives in Dunmanway, is now the first West Cork-born head of school since John A Murphy, in 1971.
‘I am honoured to be appointed to head of history at my old college UCC,’ Mervyn told The Southern Star. ‘The head of school has multiple roles and that includes an active role in teaching both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, in addition to leading the school and managing its resources.’
Mervyn grew up in Dunmanway where he attended the Model School and then Bandon Grammar, before studying for his BA and MA at UCC. After graduating, Mervyn achieved his PhD at Cambridge University.
‘As head of history I am committed to maintaining its leading position in terms of teaching and research. It is a student-focused school that is noted for the high quality of its engagement with students,’ Mervyn said. ‘Its graduates are high calibre and have forged ahead in all walks of life including national and European politics, business, multinationals, heritage, diplomacy, administration, civil and public service, in addition to the traditional fields of teaching and higher education.’
Mervyn lives with his wife Michelle and family in his home town. ‘My local roots are reflected in some of my local history interests including the history of the MacCarthy’s, and local horse fairs, such as the Ballabuidhe Horse Fair,’ Mervyn said. ‘It is no surprise that the school of history is noted for its highly successful outreach and engagement with the historical societies of Munster and especially with West Cork. As head, I will endeavour to boost that valued connection between the school and the wider community.’
He added: ‘The school of history runs a highly successful MA in local history and it welcomes applications from the members of local historical societies,’ Mervyn said. ‘Prior experience in the organisation of local historical events and publishing historical journals is taken into account to compensate for the lack of a BA degree. Part of my ambition is to illuminate the often hidden richness of Ireland’s past.’