Round Hall Wrestle After Perceived Insult to Barrister’s Mother, 1893

From the Belfast News-Letter, 25 January 1893: “Dublin, Tuesday – Mr Pierce De Lacey Mahony, Parnellite candidate for North Meath, a picturesque, handsome, tall, sparely-built man, with Shakespearian cast of countenance, fine dark eyes and hair turning grey, assailed, Mr Matthew J Kenny, MP, of the North=West Bar, a tall, sinewy athlete, dark and fierce,…

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Barrister Sentenced to Six Months’ Hard Labour for Stealing Books from Trinity College Library, 1840

From the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 18 April 1840: “CONVICTION OF A BARRISTER FOR FELONY. Robert Harman, a barrister, was indicted for stealing a number of books from Trinity College Library, the property of the University. The prisoner, when placed at the bar, trembled from head to foot, and during a great portion of…

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Ballymoney Barrister Treats Servants as Guests, 1913

From the Jarrow Express, 21 July 1913: “A remarkable defence was made in a case in which Mr Robert Cramsie, barrister-at-law, of Ballymoney, Co Antrim, was prosecuted before the local magistrates by the Irish Insurance Commissioners for failing to pay the contributions under the National Insurance Act in respect of three employees. The defence was…

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From ‘Back Hair’ to Go-Go Boots: Fashion and the Female Barrister, 1921-1967

From the Belfast News-Letter, 21 January 1922, this account of an interview with Frances Kyle, Ireland’s (technically) first woman barrister, having been called a couple of minutes or so before her colleague Averil Deverell: “‘How do you like the wig,’ I asked as the short winter afternoon closed in, and we rose to say ‘good-bye.’…

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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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Irish Woman Barrister Secures Acquittal for Client on Murder Charge, 1931

From the Waterford Standard, 14 March 1931: “LADY BARRISTER WINS HER FIRST MURDER CASE When she defended Mary Ellen Farrelly, Goiley, Fordstown, Kells, at the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, this week, Miss K Phelan BL won the first murder case in which she had pleaded. Farrelly was charged with the murder of her infant son,…

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Barrister Rescues Sheep, Sued by its Owner, 1907

From the Northern Whig, 29 October 1907 “It is not the first time that trop de zele has brought trouble upon honest people.  The eagerness of Mr Robert Doyle, a member of the Irish Bar, in the cause of prevention of cruelty to animals, made him a defendant in an action for damages in the…

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The Prime of Miss Averil Deverell, 1937

All members of the Irish Bar know of Averil Deverell, whose enigmatic representation in oils smiles down, Brodie-like, from the wall of the Four Courts Law Library. Miss Deverell holds the distinction of being not only the first practising woman barrister in Southern Ireland but also one of the first (possibly the only?) set of…

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Barrister Goes on Fire in Ballina Circuit Court, 1934

From the Meath Chronicle, 24 November 1934: “BARRISTER ON FIRE IN COURT Mr Connolly, a barrister, was addressing Judge Wyse-Power in Ballina (Co Mayo) Circuit Court, when his gown came in contact with an electric fire and blazed up. A solicitor dashed forward and put out the flames after a good part of the gown…

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Dressed to Kilt, 1930

From the Irish Examiner, January 21, 1930: “A touch of novelty was given to the ceremony of calling a number of young gentlemen to the Bar in the Supreme Court this morning.  One of them appeared in kilts.  The regulation wig and gown did not harmonise with this costume, and an old Brehon might have…

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Barrister Shoots Himself While Practising for Lawyers’ Corps, 1803

From the Dublin Journal, 22 March 1803: “Died on Friday last, at Montpelier Place, near the Black Rock, James Sweetman Esq, Barrister at Law. His death was occasioned by an unhappy accident; he was in the Lawyers Corps, and though in a weak state of health, had determined to resume his arms upon the present…

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A Strange Bequest, 1913

From the Aberdeen Daily Journal, 23 September 1913: “Mr William Green, of Gardiner’s Place, Dublin, barrister, for some time editor of the Authorised Law Reports, left personal estate in the United Kingdom valued at £1059. The testator bequeathed £100, his books, pictures and medals, and a little wax doll in blue silk dress to his…

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A Barrister’s Johnnie, 1924

From the Evening Herald, 7 March 1924: “At the Sessions today, before the Recorder, Mr Alex Lynn, BL, sued Mr Richard Mulcahy, as Minister of Defence, and Major General Guilfoyle for damages for loss of a wig and gown and a brief bag and contents alleged to have been seized by military forces at 23…

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Barristers Successfully Challenge Exclusion from Side Passages of Court, 1848

In an era in which the courts, and not parliament, served as the primary venue for Irish political theatre, one significant side benefit of being a barrister was the opportunity of a ringside seat! The Kilkenny Journal, 24 May 1848, contains a report of an interesting minor skirmish which occurred in the course of the…

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Doing ‘Circuit’ in a Motor, 1907

From the Freeman’s Journal, 2 July 1907: “The march of science received a new illustration at the Four Courts yesterday, when some half-dozen members of the Leinster Circuit started in a motor car from the Four Courts for Nenagh, at which town the Assizes open today. The car was a big one of the St…

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Barrister Railway Fatalities, 1862-1921

From the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 11 January 1921: “The sad news of the tragic death of Mr Henry Kennedy, a member of the Irish Bar, in Switzerland on Saturday night reached the Four Courts today.  It appears that while getting into a train about 11.30 p.m. at the frontier on his way home, he missed…

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Barristers’ Term-Time Immunity from Arrest for Debt, 1860

From the Irish Times, 1 February 1860: “[In] Rubenstein v O’Hara… an application was made for the purposes of discharging the defendant, a practising barrister, from arrest [for debt]. The plaintiff… left home to attend the hall of the Four Courts [without an] actual brief, but in the course of the day, he was instructed…

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ADR Irish Style, Pre-1850

From the Kentish Gazette, 5 February 1850: “A famous duellist challenged an Irish barrister, for some remark made by the barrister when the duellist was giving his testimony on the stand in an important case. The barrister knew precisely as much about fighting as a fancy boxer knows about Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost.’ His friends told…

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Young Bar Protest Against Judicial Unpunctuality, 1919

From the Belfast Telegraph, 2 December 1919: “Some judges and junior barristers acted a little comedy in the Four Courts yesterday. When Judge Samuels had disposed of some appeals, he left Court No 1… some 12 junior barristers having motions to move became impatient and left the Court, informing the Registrar that he could tell…

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A Railway Mystery, 1905

From the Irish Independent, 2 June 1905: “Mr John D Gerrard, BA BL, while travelling by the 6.45 p.m. train from Bray to Dublin on Wednesday evening was the victim of an accident which is still shrouded in mystery. Shortly after reaching Dundrum, Mr Gerrard leaned out the carriage window. Suddenly he received a heavy…

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Barrister Convicted of Knocker-Wrenching, 1870

From the Liverpool Courier and Commercial Advertiser, 12 May 1870 “George Carr, barrister… [was] charged with having wrenched off a knocker from the hall-door of the house 44 Dawson-Street between the hours of one and two o’clock on Tuesday… one of the constables observed the accused leaving a hotel in Dawson Street and then stand…

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Cab Driver Convicted of Overcharging a Barrister, 1895

From the Waterford Standard, 13 July 1895: “On Thursday last, at the City Police Court, a man named James Casey, a car-driver in the city, summoned by the Corporation for charging in excess of what was authorised by the Council. Mr E Feely BL, who was the witness in the case, said that on the…

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Mr Bushe Elopes, 1885

From the Weekly Freeman, 5 June 1886: “ARISTOCRATIC DIVORCE CASE FROM IRELAND. Mr. Gerald Brooke applied to have his marriage annulled in consequence of [his wife’s] infidelity with Mr. Seymour Bushe, barrister, Dublin… on Friday, 3rd October 1885, unfortunate unpleasantness arose about a comparatively insignificant tiff about a pet dog—at which the lady announced her…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Devil’s Own, or, the Bar and the Boers, 1900

From the Freeman’s Journal, 22 February 1900: “We have never been quite able to understand why the Four Courts has not raised a ‘Devil’s Own’ Corps for service in the present war. It was not that there were not plenty of juniors and others, with sufficient leisure for soldiering, nor yet was it that business…

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The Bigamist Barrister, 1846

From the Liverpool Mail, 18 April 1846: “At Dublin, on Saturday, the trial of Mr Henry Augustus Browne, barrister, for bigamy took place in the Commission Court… Mr Browne is a remarkably well-looking man of about 24 or 25 years of age… a prime favourite with his brethern at the Bar. The prosecutor was Mr…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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Do Not Covet a Barrister’s Wife, 1862

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…

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Unacceptable Sanitary and Timekeeping Arrangements, 1874

From the Freeman’s Journal, 13 October 1874: “The Barristers’ Library is a crying disgrace… Barristers “look up” their cases in the Library, and also use it as a “trysting place” for meeting Attorneys. The Library is a room utterly unfit for the purpose to which it is devoted. It is not half large enough to…

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Young Bar Fracas, 1829

From the Belfast Newsletter, 6 November 1829: “On Saturday morning, at four o’clock, Mr Scully, the barrister, accompanied by Mr Blake, of Galway, and his brother-in-law, Mr R. Browne, were taking oysters, in Duke Street, Dublin, and entered into conversation with the Rev. Mr Grady, Mr Armstrong and Mr C. Browne. The parties were not,…

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The First Law Library, 1850

The 1830 Law Library* formerly situate in the upper airspace of today’s Supreme Court was lit almost wholly from the roof – an elegant arrangement which, on at least one occasion, threatened not only the Bar’s safety but, even worse – its dignity! As reported in the Dublin Weekly Mail (20 April 1850): “A most…

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The Gambling Devil, 1836

For young 19th century lawyers not yet able to afford their own carriages, the daily trip to the Four Courts not only posed health and safety risks but also – in circumstances where it was impossible to reach Inns Quay without passing at least one of the numerous gambling dens or ‘hells’ encircling it –…

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A ‘Seduction’ and its Consequences, 1830

A tragic story from the Pilot, 12 April 1830: “On Friday a child only about fourteen years old, and small for her age, appeared before the magistrates at College Street Police-office, to charge an unfortunate associate in crime with having taken two shillings from her the previous night. When questioned about her connection with the…

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Barrister Kills Solicitor, Becomes Attorney-General, 1814

Regrettable personal differences often arise between Irish barristers and solicitors. Fortunately, not all end as tragically as this dispute reported in the London Courier & Evening Gazette of 19 February 1814:- “On Saturday evening… a meeting took place on the Strand in Sandymount, between [recently qualified barrister] Counsellor Hatchell and Mr Morley… an eminent attorney.…

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Barrister-Barrister Shooting, 1815

In addition to shooting solicitors they did not agree with, early Irish barristers also occasionally settled by force of arms disputes between themselves. One example is reported in the Dublin Correspondent, 9 May 1815: “In consequence of some warm language which passed in the Four Courts yesterday, between Messrs Wallace and O’Gorman, two Gentlemen of…

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Barristers’ Bags Stolen and Recovered, 1853

From the Freeman’s Journal, 7 June 1853: “A man named John Whitaker was… charged with having stolen a large number of briefs and a law book the property of Messrs. Robinson, QC, Robert Owen Lawson, JF Martley and McCarthy, barristers. It appeared that a person named McDonnell had been employed by several barristers to carry…

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