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. …

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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…

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Barrister Overboard, 1873

From the Ballyshannon Herald, 21 June 1873: “FATAL ACCIDENT TO A DUBLIN BARRISTER 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…

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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…

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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…

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The Todd Brothers, 1917-18

From the Dublin Daily Express, 14 April 1916 “LIVELY EXCHANGES BETWEEN RECORDER AND HIS BROTHER 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…

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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…

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Dry Rot, Destitute Juniors and the Law of Cause and Effect: The New Bar 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 from the popular press, with the following day’s Irish Times describing the new premises as “a splendid building, in which there have been provided tables, desks and chairs affording seating…

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A Mysterious Assault on a Four Courts Registrar, 1916

From the Belfast Newsletter, June 16, 1916: “FOUR COURTS OFFICIAL INJURED STRANGE AFFAIR AT BLACKROCK 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…

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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…

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If Cats Could Talk: The Fatal Fall of a Donegal Solicitor, 1916

From the Evening Herald, 7 September 1916: “Solicitor’s Claim for Alleged Slander etc Today, before Mr Justice Gordon, sitting as Vacation Judge, the case of John Mackey v the Four Courts Hotel Co Ltd, and Henry G Kilbey, managing director, was listed for hearing. The plaintiff sought damages laid at £10,000 for slander, false imprisonment,…

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Manager of Four Courts Coffee Room Prosecuted for Adulterating Spirits, 1921

From the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 7 April 1921: “Today in the Northern Police Court, before Mr Lupton KC, Mr John Barror, Coffee Room Bar, Four Courts, was summoned, at the suit of Mr Tannam, Inspector of Food, for having, on the 15th February last, sold him four glasses of whiskey adulterated by the addition of…

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The Musket and the Brief, 1798

Yesterday’s relaxation of traditional requirements regarding barristers’ court dress brings to mind an earlier decision of the Benchers in Trinity Term 1798 permitting barrister members of the Lawyers’ Corps to appear in court armed and in uniform. Sheil’s ‘Sketches of the Irish Bar’ records subsequent events in all their colourful fulfilment: “Justice was stripped of…

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Law Library ‘Boy’ Sues for Damaged Bicycle, 1910

From the Irish Independent, 28 July 1910: “In the action brought by Patrick Geraghty to recover £10 damages from John S Russell for injuries to his bicycle caused, as alleged, by the defendant’s motor car, the Recorder, at the City Sessions yesterday, said that the evidence was so conflicting that he would direct the case…

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Schoolgirls Ordered Out of Court, 1915

From the Belfast Newsletter, January 18, 1915: “An extraordinary incident occurred at the Four Courts yesterday. Shortly before eleven o’clock one of the courts, in which a divorce action had been listed for hearing before Mr Justice Molony, was invaded by upwards of eighty girls, apparently schoolgirls, whose ages would range from 16 to 20…

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Barristers Play the Market, 1900

From the Freeman’s Journal, 1 February 1900, this story set during the Anglo- Boer War of 1899-1902: “There is nothing more interesting in the Four Courts Law Library at present than the telegrams which are sent there daily to a group of barristers who have arranged for a supply of information from Stock Exchange sources. …

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Barrister’s Daughter Elopes in Mother’s Dress, 1878

From the Freeman’s Journal, 28 February 1878: “(SPECIAL TELEGRAM FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT) An extraordinary case of elopement has just come to light.  This morning there arrived in Belfast by the Royal Mail steamer from Glasgow a somewhat prepossessing young lady, said to be the daughter of a barrister residing in the Irish metropolis.  She was…

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Like Strokes of a Stick on a Carpet, 1891

From the Sligo Independent, 7 November 1891: “An exciting incident occurred at the Four Courts yesterday afternoon, just before three o’clock… In the passage to the coffee room Mr MacDermott, son of Mr Alfred MacDermott, Solicitor, met Mr Timothy Healy, MP and QC and straightaway attacked him with a cutting whip, striking him repeatedly and…

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Old Barristers Swoop In to Claim Seats in New Law Library, 1897

From the Freeman’s Journal, 23 February 1897, this story dealing with initial seating allocation in the ‘new’ Law Library, located in the Eastern Wing and replacing an older Law Library behind the Round Hall: “ALLOCATION OF SEATS Yesterday was a day of some excitement amongst the barristers at the Four Courts owing to the fact…

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Bloodhound Sent Out After Father of the Irish Bar Disappears in Scottish Highlands, 1889

From the Glasgow Evening Post, 4 October 1889: “DISAPPEARANCE OF A DUBLIN BARRISTER Mr Andrews, a QC of Dublin, aged 87 years, who has been residing at Tighnabruaich, Kyles of Bute, for some time, has been missing since Wednesday.  On Wednesday afternoon he was out for a walk along the road leading toward Glen Caladh,…

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