Junior Barrister Piqued by Omission of his Name from News Report, 1871

From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 June 1871: “TO THE EDITOR OF THE FREEMAN DEAR SIR – [D]uring the discussion before of the House of Commons of the Alliance Gas Bill, your reporter… has omitted both the names of Mr O’Hara and myself from the list of counsel retained against the bill. And further, in the report…

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Acid Attack on Solicitor Charged with Indecent Assault, 1884

From the Belfast News-Letter, 14 March 1884: “Miss Lillie Tyndall, a young lady of prepossessing appearance, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer outside Arklow [was] charged with having thrown a bottle of… vitriol into the face of [Mr John Kelly Toomey, a well-known solicitor]. [Information sworn by Mr Toomey, from hospital] Lillie Tyndall came to…

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Sailing Fatalities among the Irish Bar, 1872-1907

From the Belfast News-Letter, 21 July 1898: “Kingstown regatta opened today in ideal weather – bright sunshine and a fair sailing breeze… Sympathy was felt for Mr Justice Boyd, whose fine yacht, Thalia, was competing, while he himself, anxious to be on board, had to sit administering justice in the Four Courts… between four executive…

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Fighting over Girls in the Yard, 1836

From the Dublin Morning Register, 20 December 1836: “Garret Moran and James Doolin, two nice-looking young lads, were next brought up, charged with drunkenness and disturbing the peace. The watchman stated that he found them fighting in the yard of the Four Courts. Moran declared that he had a situation there, and could go in…

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First Law Library Ended by Typhoid and Solicitors, 1894

The Christmas of 1893 was a very sad one for the Law Library. It started in early December when no less than nine members of the Bar went down with typhoid. This was quickly followed by the news that one of the afflicted, Martin Burke QC, had lost his battle with the disease and passed…

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Sumptuous Connaught Bar Dinner, 1831

From the Freeman, 7 November 1831: “Dinner to Stephen Woulfe, Esquire, Assistant Barrister: The solicitors practising in this district invited our learned and impartial Assistant Barrister to a sumptuous dinner at Kilroys on Saturday last. Every luxury of the season was served up in the best style, and the wines, which were of the choicest…

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Letting off Steam: Heating Problems in Court 2, 1860

From the Irish Times, 17 January 1860: “COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – YESTERDAY – THE HOT WATER PIPES Previous to the commencement of the business of the court, Mr Serjeant Fitzgibbon complained of the constant steam that was coming up from the pipes underneath the table close to which the gentlemen of the inner bar…

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Down by the (neglected) Four Courts Gardens, 1904

From the Freeman’s Journal, 2 December 1904: “FOUR COURTS GARDENS: Sir – Having had occasion to visit the Four Courts I sauntered round the new buildings, and as I reached the rere opposite to the police offices I was forcibly struck with the neglect and apathy of the surroundings. Here there is a considerable extent…

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The Irish Barrister’s Dead Sweetheart’s Belongings, 1900

From the Freeman’s Journal, 7 March 1900, and the Islington Gazette, 5 March 1900: “At the Clerkenwell County Court, Mrs Dorcas Poyntz sued Miss Rosita Tennyson, an actress, for £25.12s, the value of goods formerly belonging to her daughter, Evaline Poyntz, who had been visiting Miss Tennyson at the date of her death, and which…

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The Four Courts on Fire, 1805-1922

From the Freeman’s Journal, 21 December 1867: “Great excitement was occasioned yesterday by the announcement that the north-eastern wing of the Four Courts was on fire, and that a large quantity of valuable documents had been consumed. At twenty-five minutes past seven o’clock, Mr James Reid and Mr Matthew Kennedy, and Police Constable 20D, observed…

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Led to be Bled: The Painful Duty of Junior Counsel, 1899

From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 August 1899: “The shooting of Dreyfus’s Counsel, Maitre Labori, reminds a writer in the ‘Liverpool Post’ that members of the Bar in England, and still more in this country, have from time to time been called upon to defend their forensic opinions and actions by an appeal to arms. A…

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The Terrifying Tale of the Tipstaff’s Niece, 1835

The following story worthy of Dickens, or perhaps Wilkie Collins, was reported in the Dublin Morning Register, 4 September 1835, and the Leeds Times, 19 September 1835: “[Margaret Feltis], who is only 17 years of age, was left an orphan, and taken [in} by her uncle… a man of excellent character, of the name of…

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Briefless Barristers as Marriage Prospects, 1870

From the Freeman’s Journal, 31 May 1870: “SIR – Can you kindly inform me why business people possess no social position in Dublin? This evil has increased latterly, commencing at the public school, where the children of a respectable trader are despised by those of professionals, whose parents inculcate the doctrine, considering it infra dig…

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Gallant Liffey Rescue by Solicitor, 1872

From the Freeman’s Journal, 12 August 1872: “At about 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon a man, who apparently was under the influence of drink, leaped across the boundary wall into the Liffey, nearly opposite the Four Courts. His position was extremely perilous as the tide was pretty full, and it seemed clear that unless prompt…

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A Most Offensive Stench: Court 3, 1831-54

No one was ever quite sure what lay below the Four Courts, other than the following: the Dominican monks of the Priory of St Saviour’s were reputed to have installed an extensive network of subterranean passages, and a hidden river, the Bradogue, flowed underground from Constitution Hill to Ormond Quay, its exact route shrouded in…

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Tipstaff Bōjutsu, 1837

From the Freeman’s Journal, 25 September 1837: “Patrick Falkner, a tipstaff, was indicted for assaulting John Kelly, a car-driver. Mr Kelly deposed that he was waiting, with his car, in the yard of the Four Courts for the gentlemen to come out, when, on his refusing to leave, the accused came up to him and…

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Lord Norbury’s Playground: Court 2, 1800-1827

From the Morning Post, 2 November 1827, this account of civil trials before Lord Norbury, Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, published shortly after his resignation at the advanced age of 87: “The performances of Lord Norbury, in the Court of Common Pleas, were greatly preferable, in the decline of the Dublin stage, to…

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Life-Threatening Law Library Lavatories, 1874

From the Freeman’s Journal, 18 June 1874: “The life of a barrister practising in the Four Courts is imperilled by two distinct sets of circumstances. In the first place there is in summer the all-pervading Liffey stench. In the second place there is all the year round the noisesome den known as the Library. The…

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