The reminiscences of Ignatius O’Brien, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1913-18
A life in Cork, Dublin and Westminster
Daire Hogan & Patrick Maume, editors
Ignatius O’Brien was the youngest son of a struggling Cork business family. After somewhat unhappy experiences at a Cork Vincentian school and the Catholic University of Ireland, he studied to become a barrister while supporting himself as a reporter on Dublin newspapers. Over time he built up a reputation in property and commercial law, and an ultimately successful career led to him being appointed a law officer and later lord chancellor under the post-1906 Liberal governments.
O’Brien avoided party politics, but was a moderate home ruler who attributed the troubles besetting relations between Britain and Ireland to a failure to implement moderate reforms in time. After being created Baron Shandon on his removal as lord chancellor, he moved to England, where as a member of the House of Lords he was involved in various peace initiatives.
His reminiscences of and reflections on the relatively self-contained world of mid-Victorian Cork, of student and journalistic work and play in Land War Dublin, of the struggles of an aspiring barrister on circuit and of the declining years of Dublin Castle, provide new insights into Irish life in the closing decades of the union. He also gives his impressions of prominent contemporaries, including Charles Stewart Parnell, Edward Carson and Lord Chief Justice Peter O’Brien (“Peter the Packer”).
The publication, part of the Irish Legal History Society series, of this important memoir is accompanied by detailed notes and commentaries on its legal and political context by Daire Hogan and Patrick Maume.
Daire Hogan is a solicitor and former president of the Irish Legal History Society. Patrick Maume is a researcher with the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography, who has published extensively on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish history.
In October 1641, violence erupted in mid-Ulster that spread throughout the whole kingdom and lasted for more than a decade. The war was neither unpredictable nor was it out of step with the rest of the Stuart kingdoms, or indeed Europe generally. As with all wars, particularly the multi-national and multi-denominational, the Irish wars of the 1640s and 1650s had many complex and interrelated causes. Law, the legal system and the legal community played a vital role in the origins and the development of the conflict in Ireland that took it from a dependent kingdom to becoming part of a republican commonwealth. Lawyers also played a fundamental part in the return of the legal and political ‘normality’ in the 1660s. This collection of essays considers how the law was part of this process and to what extent it was shaped by the revolutionary developments of the period. These essays arise from a conference held in 2014 in the House of Lords at the Bank of Ireland, Dublin, under the auspices of the Irish Legal History Society.
Contributors: Andrew Carpenter, Stephen Carroll, John Cunningham, Coleman A. Dennehy, Neil Johnston, Colum Kenny, Neasa Malone, Aran McArdle, Bríd McGrath, Jess Velona, Philip Walsh and Jennifer Wells.
Coleman A. Dennehy teaches at the University of Limerick, is a Humanities Institute (UCD) research associate and a former IRC Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, having previously taught history at University College London and law at the University of Vienna. In addition to many articles and chapters, he published an edited collection, Restoration Ireland (Aldershot, 2008) and also a monograph, The Irish parliament, 1613–89 (Manchester, 2019).
The extent and duration of interpreter provision for Irish speakers appearing in court in the long nineteenth century have long been a conundrum. In 1737 the Administration of Justice (Language) Act stipulated that all legal proceedings in Ireland should take place in English, thus placing Irish speakers at a huge disadvantage, obliging them to communicate through others, and treating them as foreigners in their own country. Gradually, over time, legislation was passed to allow the grand juries, forerunners of county councils, to employ salaried interpreters. Drawing on extensive research on grand jury records held at national and local level, supplemented by records of correspondence with the Chief Secretary’s Office in Dublin Castle, this book provides definitive answers on where, when, and until when, Irish language court interpreters were employed. Contemporaneous newspaper court reports are used to illustrate how exactly the system worked in practice and to explore official, primarily negative, attitudes towards Irish speakers. The famous Maamtrasna murders trials, where, most unusually for such a serious case, a police constable acted as court interpreter, are discussed. The book explains the appointment process for interpreters, discusses ethical issues that arose in court, and includes microhistories of some 90 interpreters.
Mary Phelan is a lecturer at the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University. Her published works relate mainly to contemporary interpreter provision and translation.
This book is sent free of charge to all members of the ILHS, and can be purchased directly from Four Courts Press here.
Regarded as the most celebrated Irish political pamphlet published before 1801, William Molyneux’s Case of Ireland, stated (1698) was written to demonstrate that English statutes did not becomeof force in Ireland until they had been re-enacted by the Irish parliament. For all its fame, The Case’s mass of legal precedents and seemingly contradictory arguments make it a work that requires elucidation for the modern reader. This new edition presents a critical text, based on the manuscripts of The Case in the Trinity College Dublin library, together with explanatory notes, and a re-examination of the historical background and the sources on which Molyneux drew. The arguments in The Case, set out in a form analogous to presenting a legal case in court, are shown to be a significant response to the contemporary pamphlet debate on Irish woollen exports and the legal competence of the Irish house of lords, rather than the stand-alone publication the book has often been treated as.
August 2018. 336pp; ills.
Available free of charge to all members of the Society, or for purchase from Four Courts Press
Patrick Hyde Kelly is a fellow emeritus of Trinity College Dublin. A specialist in the history of political and economic thought in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Ireland and Britain, he has edited Locke on money (2 vols, Oxford, 1991) for The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.
Niamh Howlin is a lecturer in the Sutherland School of Law at University College Dublin. She has published extensively on the nineteenth-century Irish jury system, as well as on other aspects of criminal justice history and contemporary issues surrounding jury trial.
Born in Rhode Island, Arthur Browne was a lawyer, a scholar, and a politician in the Ireland of the late eighteenth century and established a brilliant reputation in all three areas at a time of enormous conflict and upheaval. The pre-eminent maritime lawyer of his era, Browne was also an MP in the Irish parliament, and the Regius Professor of Civil and Canon Law at Trinity College Dublin, where he has been described as ‘one of the most able and learned academic lawyers ever to teach there’. A brilliant and forceful debater, Browne opposed violent revolution, supported the Catholic cause, and became one of the most powerful liberal voices in the Irish parliament in the 1790s. His international reputation as a legal scholar was established by his two-volume study on the civil law and the law of the admiralty published in 1797 and 1799, a work that had a major influence around the world and especially on American maritime law. This new book explores how the American-born Browne became a leading figure in Irish law, academia and politics, and it provides a new perspective on his role in parliament during the controversial passing of the Act of Union in 1800.
Joseph C. Sweeney is the John D. Calamari Distinguished Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.
Guardian of the Treaty: The Privy Council Appeal and Irish Sovereignty (Four Courts Press 2016) ISBN: 978-1-84682-587-3
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final appellate court of the British Empire. In 1935 the Irish Free State was recognized as the first part of the Empire to abolish the appeal to the Privy Council. This book examines the controversial Irish appeal to the Privy Council in the wider context of the history of the British Empire in the early 20th century. In particular, it analyses Irish resistance to the imposition of the appeal in 1922 and the attempts to abolish it at the Imperial conferences of the 1920s and 1930s.
This book also outlines the means by which Irish governments attempted to block Privy Council appeals. It examines the reality of claims that the Privy Council appeal offered a means of safeguarding the rights of the Protestant minority within the Irish Free State. Finally, it reveals British intentions that the Privy Council act as the guardian and enforcer of the settlement embodied in the 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty. The conclusion to this work explains why the Privy Council was unsuccessful in protecting this settlement.
Thomas Mohr is a lecturer at the School of Law, University College Dublin. He is honorary secretary of the Irish Legal History Society.
By Colum Kenny
Published by Four Courts Press (Dublin, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1851826866 ISBN-13: 978-1851826865
Kenny recounts a major cultural controversy that marked the recognition of the King’s Inns Library as an important part of the heritage of modern Ireland. In 1972 thousands of non-law books from King’s Inns were sold at Sotheby’s in London. The row that ensued involved many well-known people including Cearbhall O Dalaigh, Mary Robinson and Charles J. Haughey. The sale was criticized as the random dispersal of an irreplaceable collection and it raises vital questions about the proper care of libraries, about the relationship of general knowledge to professional expertise and about the problematic nature of Irish identity in a post-colonial era. The books were sold because King’s Inns was in financial difficulty, a difficulty exacerbated by the fact that the benchers had recently renovated their kitchens. The government was kept informed by the benchers of their plans but failed to respond to a proposal that might have resulted in all of the volumes remaining in Ireland. Kenny suggests means of avoiding acrimony or major controversy in connection with any possible disposal of books by King’s Inns Library in the future.
published by the Irish Academic Press in association with the Irish Legal History Society 1996.
This book aims to reconstruct part of Dublin’s past from source material of an unconventional and unfamiliar sort: accounts Of lawsuits generated by the evolving fortunes of the city and surrounding district. To enable the significance of these lawsuits to be better understood and to lend coherence to the narrative as a whole, additional explanatory material has been incorporated, drawn principally from general and specialist local histories. But the choice of focus has been dictated by the presence of an inventory of lawsuits with a topographical bias. In his preface, Professor Osborough remarks that he is unaware of the existence of any equivalent published exercise carried out for any other large city. The contents include: introducing litigation topography; defining Dublin; the physical setting; the river, port and bay; re-naming Sackville street; landmark buildings; public utilities; recreation for Dubliners; burying Dubliners; assessment. Complete with a detailed index and tables of cases and statutes, this volume is enhanced by over 100 illustrations in black and white.
published by Irish Academic Press in association with the Irish Legal History Society, 1996.
Recalling the existence of an ancient and elaborate system of breton legal education, Kenny notes that little or no training was provided for lawyers within Ireland between the Tudor destruction of Gaelic society and the Victorian era. He describes the political and professional processes which led finally to the revival of legal training in the nineteenth century and the part played in that revival by Tristram Kennedy. Kennedy, a Protestant from Londonderry, established the Carrickmacross lace industry and represented in parliament the Catholic electorate of Louth. An account of his life is included. Particular attention is paid to the Dublin Law Institute which Kennedy founded and which he ran with the active support of the great educational reformer, Thomas Wyse MP. Special chapters are also devoted to the absence of a developed, chamber system in Ireland and to the experiences of those who finally succeeded in having repealed the long-standing requirement that they eat as Daniel O’Connell is said to have put it, ‘so many legs of mutton’ at the English inns.