Letting off Steam: Heating Problems in Court 2, 1860

From the Irish Times, 17 January 1860:


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 were obliged to stand. He declared it was equal to a warm bath, and was likely to be attended read more

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 of high, uncut, tufted grass, over which is scattered dirty papers etc. If these grass plots were, as they ought to be, kept as similar plots surrounding the read more

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 mystery.

Whether due to this secret tributary, the smell of Anna Livia herself, or something awry in the sanitary arrangements, all four of the Four Courts were read more

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 Library is the place where barristers work up their cases, and it is also the place where it is understood that attorneys will find the barristers whom they want. During read more

The Problem of Paging Barristers, 1846

From Saunders’s Newsletter, 20 November 1846:

“SIR- In consequence of the numerous complaints by respectable solicitors against the present system of calling barristers’ names at the door of the library, and the uncertainty in which inquirers leave the ante-room, after suffering ten minutes’ crushing among clerks, idlers, &c., when the return of non est is given by the importunate functionary, who continually howls forth name after name through the library, read more

Round Hall Ablutions Averted, 1808

From Saunders’s Newsletter, 22 October 1808:

“The alterations now making in the New Courts upon the Inns Quay, consist of raising the floor of the great hall up to the level of the platform at the great entrance, which has been somewhat lowered in order to meet the newly raised floor and by this alteration there will not be any descent from the great entrance into the hall, and the ascent from thence into each of the four courts will only be by two risers instead of five… read more

Mr Finn’s Four Courts Coffee-Room, 1839

From the Freeman, 22 January 1839:

“John Finn, Henrietta-street, applied for a license for the coffee-room of the Four Courts. Mr Walsh opposed the application, on the part of the Vintners’ Society, and dwelt on the impropriety of such an establishment in the courts.

Mr Curran replied in favour of the application, and said that as it was always in the power of the benchers to move their tenant, in case he abused their trust, there could be no danger of any impropriety being carried read more

Bookstalls, Showmen and Dancing Dogs, 1821-1840

From the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 26 September 1840:

“THE FOUR COURTS:- Although law is very busy in the interior, and the lawyers are not idle in their vocation, the exterior of the building resembles an unfortunate criminal, debarred the privilege of counsel and left to his fate. It is not sufficient that the Bar should have a “law library” intra muros, but the public must have a “reading room” rent free extra muros. Almost the entire front of this splendid 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

Health and Safety Issues in the Round Hall, 1853

On 4 August 1853, an anonymous barrister, ‘J.P.P’, felt compelled to write to Saunders’ Newsletter complaining about the dangerous condition of the Four Courts:

“SIR – During one of the late heavy showers, as I was passing through the hall of the Four Courts to the dark cellar where we barristers put on and off our wigs and gowns, I heard, to my great surprise, a sharp sound… of falling water. I looked up and perceived a stream of no small size descending read more