Magna Carta is one of the most famous documents in the history of the world, credited with being the first effective check in writing on arbitrary, oppressive and unjust rule — in a word, on tyranny. The fame of Magna Carta spread across the world as England, and later Britain, came to girdle the globe in its power.
What is the place of Ireland in the story of Magna Carta’s global dissemination? Four centuries before the Great Charter crossed the Atlantic, it was already implanted across the Irish Sea. A version of the charter issued in November 1216 in the name of the boy-king Henry III was sent to Ireland, where it became fundamental to the English common law tradition in Ireland that survives to the present.
The conference will explore the legal-historical background to Magna Carta in Ireland, the reception of the charter into English law in Ireland, the political and polemical uses to which the charter was put, and its twentieth and twentieth-first century invocations as a living presence in contemporary Irish law. Professor Paul Brand (All Souls, Oxford) will deliver a keynote address on the impact of Magna Carta on the development of English law in medieval Ireland.
A particular concern of the conference will be to explore the paradoxes presented by the reception of Magna Carta into Irish law, above all the contested and often highly restrictive-idea idea of ‘liberty’ that developed in Ireland from the Middle Ages onwards.
This conference wil be held in the Music Room of Christ Church Cathedral, which boasts its own copy of Magna Carta in the Liber Niger held in the cathedral treasury.
Speakers include: Claire Breay, Sean Duffy, Ian Campbell, Coleman Dennehy, Sparky Booker, Colum Kenny, Adrian Empey, James Kelly, Patrick Geoghegan, John Larkin, Blathne Ruane.
WHEN: Friday, 25 November 2016 at 10:30 – Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 16:00
REGISTRATION: This event is free but booking is essential. Places can be reserved via Eventbrite
WHERE: Music Room, Christ Church Cathedral – Christ Church Cathedral, ChristChurch Place, Dublin 8
Friday, 25 November 2016
10.45 Welcome and opening remarks
11.00 Session 1. Chair – Bernard Meehan, Medieval History Research Centre, TCD
Claire Breay ‘Celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta at the British Library in 2015’
Seán Duffy ‘The political background to Magna Carta: King John and Ireland’
12.30–1.30 Lunch (attendees to make their own arrangements)
1.30 – 3.00 Session 2. Chair – Maebh Harding, University of Warwick
Adrian Empey ‘Conquest and common law’
Peter Crooks ‘1216, 1366 and all that: Magna Carta and exclusionary liberties in late medieval Ireland’
3.00 – 3.30 Coffee break sponsored by Four Courts Press Limited
3.30 – 5.00 Session 3. Chair – James McGuire MRIA
Ian Campbell ‘Magna Carta in Irish political theory, 1541–1660’
Coleman Dennehy ‘Nisi per legale judicium parium suorum: parliament, politics, and the right to trial by peer
Colum Kenny ‘Myth, Mervyn and the “Irish Magna Carta” of 1662’
5.00 Tea and Coffee to welcome ILHS members
5.30 Irish Legal History Society Annual General Meeting
6.00 The Irish Legal History Society Winter Discourse and Keynote Conference Address
Chair: The Hon. Mr Justice Deeny, President
Professor Paul Brand Emeritus Fellow, All Souls Oxford: ‘Magna Carta in Ireland, 1215–1320’
Saturday, 26 November 2016
9.30 – 10.45 ILHS Council Meeting
11.00 – 12.30 Session 5. Chair: – Kenneth Milne – Chair, Christ Church Cathedral Library and Archives Committee
Jimmy Kelly ‘Era of Liberty? The politics of political rights in eighteenth-century Ireland’
Patrick Geoghegan ‘Daniel O’Connell, Magna Carta and the idea of liberty’
12.30 – 1.30 Lunch (attendees to make their own arrangements)
1.30 – 3.00 Session 6. Chair: – Sir Anthony Hart
Tom Mohr ‘Liberty in an Irish Free State, 1922–37’
Bláthna Ruane ‘Magna Carta and modern Irish constitutionalism’
John Larkin ‘Magna Carta and the Irish statute books’
The Society gratefully acknowledges the support so generously given by the sponsors of this conference and without which it could not have taken place.
- Christ Church Cathedral Library and Archives Committee
- The Grace Lawless Lee Fund, Trinity College Dublin
- The Medieval History Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin
- The Humanities Institute, University College Dublin.
- Sir Anthony Hart
- The Law Society of Ireland
The Society would also like to thank its publishers Four Courts Press for sponsoring the coffee break on Friday and the publishers whose leaflets are enclosed in the conference pack.