Case Citations and Personal Law Libraries, pre-1836

From the Freeman’s Journal, 1 September 1890:

“Modern text books now enable practitioners to dispense with much memorised learning laboriously acquired in former days… Within the recollection of men still living the library at the Four Courts did not exist, and it was considered a breach of etiquette to bring a law book into court, the judges being supposed to know all the cases on the mere names being cited. Nowadays the multiplication of reports has compelled Bench and read more

The Pill Lane Fishwives, 1835

From Saunders’ Newsletter, October 1835:

“SIR – I beg, through the medium of your valuable Paper, to again call the attention of the Commissioners of the Paving Board to the intolerable nuisance, which has been so long suffered to continue in Pill Lane. Nearly from the corner of Arran Street to that of Charles Street, stands of putrid fish, tripes &c., are in the street, and on the flagging, to the great annoyance of passengers, particularly during the law term, when read more

The Litigant who became a Barrister, 1853

From Saunders’ Newsletter, 3 July 1853:

“The spectator in the Hall of the Four Courts may, if it pleases, sometimes see, in his costume, a tall, portly looking young man whose history is about as romantic as that of any learned gentleman in the Four Courts.

Mr Wall… before his admission to the Bar… was remarkable for a monastic disposition.  His confessor was a Franciscan friar.  He had frequently heard him speak of the excellence of his order, and been commended read more

Long Hours for Law Clerks, 1865

From the Freeman’s Journal, 13 May 1865:

“The general half-year meeting of the Attorneys and Solicitors’ Society was held yesterday in the Solicitors Hall, Four Courts [now the Law Library]… to consider the propriety of giving a half-holiday each Saturday to their employees.

Mr Molloy observed that the early closing movement had been carried out in Dublin with great success.  The merchants of the city had generally adopted it, and he did not see why they should be read more

The Lord Chief Justice’s Phantom Coach, 1803-

The position of Lord Chief Justice, accorded to the most senior judge of the Queen’s Bench, did not bring good luck to the first such office-holder to sit in Court 1.

Lord Kilwarden, by all accounts a decent and humane man, was set upon, stabbed and killed in 1803 while driving to a Privy Council meeting in the midst of the Emmet Rebellion. Even worse, his terrified horses then returned at a gallop to his home, Newlands Cross, Clondalkin, where Lady Kilwarden met the empty coach.

Such read more

Gatecrashing a Bar Meeting, 1830

As you can see from the illustrations above, Courts 1-4 as originally furnished included a handsome box (complete with coat-hooks and inkwells) specifically for the Press.

Pre-Law Library, the Courts were often used for Bar meetings and the Freeman’s Journal of 16 February 1830 contains an interesting account of one such meeting, held to discuss a threat by the magistrates of Bruff, County Limerick, to hold a Mr read more

Barrister’s Spouse Violated by Briefing Solicitor, 1842

From the Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser, 20 April 1842:

Mr Robert Caldwell, a respectable attorney, was… charged with having… attempted by force to violate Anne Corbet, the wife of Mr Edward Lestrange Corbet, barrister.

Mrs Corbet… deposed that she met Mr Caldwell for the first time in Sept.1840…  Mr Caldwell then sent some law business to her husband, and he was invited to dine at their residence, in Fitzwilliam Street… she never gave him the least encouragement read more

The Hammond Lane Explosion, 1878

From the Freeman’s Journal, 29 April 1878:

“On Saturday afternoon Dublin was startled and horrified by one of the most appalling accidents which has ever taken place in this metropolis – an accident by which no less than fourteen fellow creatures have lost their lives, and by which a dreadful amount of suffering, sorrow, misery and bereavement has been caused.

The scene of this awful occurrence was Hammond-Lane, a narrow laneway situated in the poor and populous district read more

The Perils of Personal Service, 1834

From the Wexford Conservative, 7 May 1834:

“[A]n unfortunate man appeared in the hall of the Four Courts on Thursday with his face and head swollen inflamed and lacerated in a most shocking manner. His nose was literally flattened, and covered with dressing plaster and his hair and clothes were besmirched with blood, and his whole frame was agitated by a feverish tremor. Why the poor creature chose to exhibit his wretched condition instead of being in hospital is unaccountable, but read more

Do Not Covet a Barrister’s Wife, 1862

The Marshalsea, Dublin, 1860

From the Usk Observer, 19 July 1862:

“The Dublin papers announce the death of a person named Sterne, who had been imprisoned for debt in the Four Courts Marshalsea for 36 years. Mr Sterne was a gentleman of large fortune… a gentleman of fashion as well as a ‘fast’ man about town. The most remarkable event of his life was his elopement with a married lady of great respectability, the wife of an eminent barrister. This lady, who was young, pretty and well connected, read more