The Sentinel with the Sonorous Voice: Bramley of the Law Library, 1869-1904

From the Belfast Newsletter, 15 January 1904:

“A celebrity of the Four Courts has joined the majority, and the frequenters of the Law Library will miss the stalwart form and the stentorian voice of Bramley.  Every solicitor in Ireland knew Bramley.  He sat as trusty sentinel at his rostrum within the portals of the Library.  Nobody unless under escort of a barrister dared pass within the precincts sacred to the gentlemen of the long robe, and Bramley, like Justice, was no respecter read more

The Wimple Life, 1908

From the Preston Herald, 22 August 1908:

Unless the widow of Mr Michael J Hanmore, a solicitor, late of 3, Prince of Wales Terrace, Bray, Co Wicklow, consents to enter a convent and devote the remainder of her life to prayer. His executors are instructed that she is to receive her jewellery and wearing apparel only.

This is one of the conditions governing the disposal of the testator’s fortune of which the net personalty has been sworn for probate at £7,801.  It was, Mr Hanmore read more

Barrister Overboard, 1873

From the Ballyshannon Herald, 21 June 1873:


Yesterday afternoon, after the steamship Sarmatian reached her wharf at South Quebec, a most melancholy accident occurred to Mr JS Barrett, barrister, of Dublin, a cabin passenger on his way to Toronto.  He went on shore to look after the baggage of a lady passenger.  Coming to the edge of the pontoon, the lady being on the dock of the steamer, he made a sign to her by waving his umbrella that all was read more

Bullet-Piercings, Bombs, Whiskey and Cigars: The Four Courts after the Rising, May-June 1916

The occupation of the Four Courts by rebel forces in 1916 led to much anxious speculation as to the extent of the resulting destruction.

An initial gloomy report from the Northern Whig of the 1st May 1916 recounted that

“Most extensive and indeed irreparable damage has been done by the Sinn Feiners. They threw a number of the books and documents into the Liffey and tore up and burned many records which it will be impossible to replace.”

Particular ire was provoked by the discovery that the Law read more

Derry Girl’s Application to Become Barrister Rejected by Benchers of King’s Inns, 1901

From the Irish News and Belfast Morning News, 26 October 1901

“The usual monotony of the meeting of the Benchers to-day was varied by an incident which should serve as a reminder to them and to all men that the slow-going nineteenth century has come to an end, and that we are now in the full blaze of the enlightened twentieth century. A young lady, hailing rom Derry, applied to be admitted as a law student. ‘Nolumus mutari’ is the motto of the Honourable Society of King’s read more

The Todd Brothers, 1917-18

From the Dublin Daily Express, 14 April 1916


Londonderry, Thursday

Following lively exchanges between his Honour Judge Todd, Recorder, Derry, and his brother, Dr Todd, Crown Solicitor, there was an extraordinary scene at Derry Quarter Sessions today, culminating in his Honour adjourning the case and stating that he would report the matter to a higher court.  The incident arose during the hearing of an action by the Derry County Council read more

The Great Golfing Days of the Irish Bar, 1904-14

From the Western Morning News of 21 April 1911:

“The representative match between the members of the Bar Golfing Society and the Irish Bar has now become a very well-established annual fixture.  At one time there was the possibility of the contest being only an intermittent one and an idea was prevalent that the Irish bar could never be strong enough to take the full strength of the English Bar.  Last year the Irishmen secured a very creditable win on their own links at Dollymount, read more

Dry Rot, Destitute Juniors and the Law of Cause and Effect: Improving the Second Law Library, 1897-1909

The formal opening of the second Law Library in the Eastern Wing of the Four Courts on 15 April 1897 prompted a gush of admiration in the press, with the next day’s Irish Times describing the new premises as

a splendid building, in which there have been provided tables, desks and chairs affording seating accommodation for 263 members of the Bar… It may be said that never before in the history of Ireland was the Bar of Ireland so magnificently provided for as this fine new library, read more

A Mysterious Assault on a Four Courts Registrar, 1916

From the Belfast Newsletter, June 16, 1916:



A sensational and mysterious assault is reported from Blackrock, County Dublin, the victim being Mr Francis Kennedy, Associate of the King’s Bench, and nephew of the Lord Chief Justice.

It appears that in the early hours of the morning, Mr Kennedy, who resides at Marino Park, Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, was heard by his wife to groan. She rose to go to his assistance and on looking up saw read more

The Female Barrister – Fair, Feared and ‘Finished at Forty,’ 1896

The 1896 decision of the Benchers of the Ontario Law Society to admit women to the Bar of Ontario, resulted in a flurry of excitement as to whether the same dread fate might await this jurisdiction.

The Freeman’s Journal of 12 August 1896 did not look kindly on the idea of female barristers, stating that

“[t]he most litigious ladies have been heretofore content to conduct their own cases and… have conducted them very badly.”

The Ballymena Observer, 27 November 1896, likewise doubted if women read more