2015 Spring Discourse

Professor Ian MacBride of King’s College London delivered the 2015 Spring Discourse at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, on 27 February.

His paper asked ‘Why the history of the penal laws has still to be written’.

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Traditionally signed on the Treaty Stone at Limerick on 3rd October 1691, the treaty of Limerick provided: “The Roman Catholics of this kingdom shall enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion as are consistent with the laws of Ireland, or as they did enjoy in the reign of king Charles the second: and their majesties, as soon as their affairs will permit them to summon a parliament in this kingdom, will endeavour to procure the said Roman Catholics such farther security in that particular, as may preserve them from any disturbance upon the account of their said religion.” The breach of this Treaty institutionalised religious discrimination against Roman Catholics and Dissenters who would not conform to the uses of the established church

2014 Autumn Discourse

The 2014 Autumn Discourse was delivered by Dr Coleman Dennehy speaking to the topic “Appointments to the Irish bench in the early Restoration period”
concluding a conference on LAW AND REVOLUTION IN IRELAND: LAW & LAWYERS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE CROMWELLIAN INTERREGNUM (The flyer for the conference is available here. )

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The Four Courts at Christ Church (1608-1796)

2014 Spring Discourse

The 2014 Spring Discourse took place at the Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Stranmillis Road, Belfast In a change to the Society’s usual format, this year we invited a number of excellent speakers to address the Society on a range of topics over two days:

  • Professor Lord Bew (School of Politics, Queen’s Univeristy Belfast): ‘Parnell and the Law.’
  • Sir Anthony Hart: ‘The Law in Action in Ulster, 1898.’
  • Professor Peter Gray (School of History, QUB): ‘Making a Poor Law for Ireland’.
  • Dr Thomas Mohr (UCD Sutherland School of Law): ‘The Oath and the Treaty.’

The flyer for the event is available here.



2013 Autumn Discourse

Continuing the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Society, the 2013 AGM took place on Friday 8 November at the Stormont Hotel, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast. The AGM was followed by the launch of the Society’s 25th Anniversary Volume, Daire Hogan and Colum Kenny (eds), Changes in Practice in Law (Four Courts Press, 2013), by Mr David Ford MLA at the Stormont Parliament buildings.

Dr Conor Mulvagh of UCD Dublin then presented a paper entitled “Legislative landmine?: evaluating the third Home Rule Bill”


2013 Spring Discourse

2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Legal History Society in the Provost’s House of Trinity College Dublin. It is therefore fitting that we returned to Trinity for this year’s Spring Discourse. An excellent paper was delivered by Mr Daire Hogan in the Debating Chamber of the Graduates Memorial Building, on Friday 15th February, entitled: ‘ . . . “I want the chancellorship. You can get it for me”; James Campbell’s path to judicial office, 1915 – 1918.’

James Campbell, first Baron Glenavy
[James Campbell, First Baron Glenavy and Lord Chancellor of Ireland]

About the Speaker
Mr Hogan is a recently retired partner at McCann FitzGerald. He served as the first honorary Treasurer of the Society and was President 1995-98. In addition Daire was a co-editor of the first publication Brehons Serjeants and Attorneys . He lectured to the Society on RR Cherry, published as an essay in Mysteries and Solutions and also edited jointly with Dr Eamonn G Hall ‘The Law Society of Ireland 1852-2002, Portrait of a Profession’ Four Courts Press 2002.

Other Events
As part of the proceedings on Friday 15th February, the first W.N. Osborough Composition Prize in Legal History was awarded to Dr Maebh Harding from the University of Portsmouth (pictured below). Dr Harding’s essay, ‘The Curious Incident of the Marriage Act (No. 2) 1537 and the Irish Statute Book’ is published in Legal Studies (2012).


2012 Autumn Discourse

By kind permission of the Dublin Cemetery Committee and the Glasnevin Trust, the 2012 Annual General Meeting was held in the Museum of Glasnevin cemetery on Friday 30th November. The AGM was preceded by a fascinating guided tour of the legal graves of Glasnevin.

After the AGM, the president of the Society, Prof. Norma Dawson delivered her presidential address entitled: “The Ulster Plantation Case 1892-98 – the end of the adventure?” For more details please click here.

2012 Spring Discourse

The 2012 Spring Discourse will take place on Monday 26th March at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. The Society will be addressed by the Rt Hon Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and President of the Selden Society.

2011 Autumn Discourse

The Autumn Discourse took place on Friday 4th November 2011 in the Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr Kevin Costello delivered a fascinating paper on Imprisonment for Debtors in the Nineteenth Century. This was followed by a wine reception.

The Society also held its 2011 Annual General Meeting.

2011 Spring Discourse

The Spring Discourse of the Irish Legal History Society took place at The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1, on Friday, 4 March 2011 at 6.00 p.m.

The Hon. Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan delivered a discourse on “The Three Judges of the Supreme Court of the Irish Free State, 1925 to 1936 – Their Backgrounds, Personalities and Mindsets”.

The discourse took place in the Upper Lecture Theatre.

2010 Autumn Discourse

The 2010 Annual General Meeting of the Irish Legal History Society took place on 12 November 2010 at the National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Mr Myles Dungan delivered a paper on “Ruffian Print: United Ireland, Censorship and Jury Packing 1881-1883”.