The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Irish Legal History Society was held on Friday 1st December 2017 at 5pm in the Old Bar Library, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast
The Winter Discourse was delivered by:
Professor Jane Ohlmeyer
PH.D, F.R.HIST.S., M.R.I.A., F.T.C.D., Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin:
Lords, the Law and Litigation in Early Modern Ireland
Professor Ohlmeyer is an expert on the New British and Atlantic Histories and has published extensively on early modern Irish and British history. She has recently completed Making Ireland English: the formation of an aristocracy in the seventeenth century for Yale University Press and volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Ireland is currently in the press. She is currently working on an edition of Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, A shorte view of the State and condicon of the kingdome of Ireland/The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in Ireland (Dublin, 1719/20 and London, 1720 and 1721) and a study of ‘Colonial Ireland, Colonial India’. Professor Ohlmeyer is also an active proponent of ‘Digital Humanities’
Over the years Professor Ohlmeyer has attracted significant amounts of highly competitive funding for her own research projects and for her graduate students. She has considerable expertise in overseeing major editorial projects and helped to secure over €1M in funding from the IRCHSS, the AHRC (the UK funding council) and Trinity College for the digitization and online publication of the ‘1641 Depositions’. She is a founding member of the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity’s humanities research institute and serves its Internal and External Advisory Boards and in a related initiative – ‘Creativity, the City and the University’ – which is linked to the Dublin Creative Alliance. She was closely involved in setting up the ‘Humanities Serving Irish Society’ consortium which under PRTLI 4 secured funding for the Digital Humanities Observatory. She is also the Principal Investigator for the Trinity College Dublin element of ‘Humanities Serving Irish Society’ which was awarded €10.78M as part of PRTLI 4.
- Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the seventeenth century, London and New Haven, Yale University Press, 2012, 1 – 680pp
- Civil War and Restoration in the Three Stuart Kingdoms: the Political Career of Randal MacDonnell First Marquis of Antrim (1609-83) (Cambridge University Press, 1993; paperback reprint in Four Courts Press’s ‘Classics in Irish History’ Series, Dublin, 2001), xxiii + 357 pages.
- The Irish Statute Staple Books, 1596-1687 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1998), with Éamonn Ó Ciardha, xvii + 380 pages.
- The 1641 Depositions – The online version is now available. Between 2011 and 2015 the Irish Manuscripts Commission will publish the 1641 Depositions in 12 volumes. Aidan Clarke is the principal editor and I am one of the co-editors, along with Tom Bartlett, John Morrill and Micheál Ó Siochrú.
- British Interventions in Early Modern Ireland editor with Ciaran Brady (Cambridge University Press, 2004; paperback 2010), xx + 371 pages.
- Kingdom or Colony?: Political Thought in seventeenth-century Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2000; paper back 2010), xvii + 290 pages.
- The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1638-1660 (Oxford University Press, 1998; reprinted as part of the Oxford Illustrated History series, 2002), with John Kenyon, xl + 300 pages, 51 illustrations and 10 maps.
- Ireland from Independence to Occupation, 1641-1660 (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback, 2002), li + 309 pages.
- ‘Making Ireland English: the seventeenth-century Irish peerage’ in Brian MacCuarta (ed.), Reshaping Ireland 1590-1700: Colonization and its consequences: Essays presented to Nicholas Canny (Dublin, 2011).
- ‘Society: the changing role of print – Ireland (to 1660)’ in Joad Raymond (ed.), The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, volume I (Oxford, 2011).
- ‘The baronial context of the Civil War in Ireland’ in John Adamson (ed.), The Civil Wars (London, 2008), pp. 106-24.
- ‘Patronage and Restoration Politics: John Dryden and the House of Ormond’ (with Steven Zwicker) in Historical Journal (2006), pp. 677-706.
- ‘A Laboratory for Empire?: Early Modern Ireland and English Imperialism’ in Kevin Kenny (ed.), Ireland and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 26-60.
- ‘Literature, Identity, and the New British Histories’ in David Barker and Willy Maley, eds., British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 245-55.
- ‘Seventeenth-century Ireland and the New British and Atlantic Histories’ in American Historical Review 104:2 (April, 1999), pp. 446-462
- ‘”Civilizinge of those rude partes”. The colonization of Ireland and Scotland, 1580s-1640s’ in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 1, ed. N. Canny (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), pp. 124-47.
- ‘The Wars of Religion, 1603-60’ in A Military History of Ireland, ed. Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 160-187.
- ‘The “Antrim Plot” of 1641 – a myth?’, The Historical Journal, 35 (1992), pp. 905-19.
Our 2017 Spring Discourse took place on Friday 17 February at 5.30, at Regent House, Trinity College Dublin. John F. Larkin, QC, Attorney General for Northern Ireland delivered an insightful address on: ‘The Irish Convention, 1917-18: Centenary Reflections’
About the Speaker
- John F Larkin QC was educated at St Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School and at Queen’s University Belfast.
- He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in Michaelmas Term 1986 and later to the Bar of Ireland.
- Between 1989 and 1991 he was Reid Professor of Criminal Law in Trinity College Dublin.
- He took silk in Michaelmas term 2001. In the last ten years his practice has been mainly in Constitutional and Administrative Law and Human Rights.
Following the transfer of policing and criminal justice powers to Northern Ireland he was appointed Attorney General for Northern Ireland on 24 May 2010. He is the first person to hold the office separately since its functions were assumed by the Attorney General for England and Wales in 1972.
The Irish Legal History Society marked the 800th anniversary of the transmission of Magna Carta to Ireland with a two-day conference in Christ Church Cathedral in November 2016. The conference explored 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) delivered a keynote address on the impact of Magna Carta on the development of English law in medieval Ireland.
Speakers included: Claire Breay, Sean Duffy, Ian Campbell, Coleman Dennehy, Sparky Booker, Colum Kenny, Adrian Empey, James Kelly, Patrick Geoghegan, John Larkin, Bláthna Ruane.
The conference was recorded for podcasting by Real Smart Media, and is available here:
On 27 November outgoing President of the Society, Mr Robert Marshall, delivered his presidential discourse. His paper, entitled ‘Lisnafanna: A Townland in Turmoil on the Cavan Headford Estate 1870-1900’, was based on a close study of the Headford estate papers. The paper provided some fascinating insights into the existence and operation of subversive or subaltern law on a Cavan estate in the late nineteenth century. It looked specifically at the National League’s boycotting campaign and how this operated at a local and personal level. Interestingly, even on an estate where the Plan was in place, roughly two thirds of rent was still paid.
Mr Marshall went on to consider the legal procedures and processes which followed the fatal shooting of one of the boycotters. The coroner’s inquest saw the apportionment of some blame to the constabulary. Although a verdict of murder was returned by the coroner’s jury, the grand jury, by contrast, found ‘no true bill’, and the case did not proceed to trial.
All of this illustrates the role of the community in policing and sanctioning certain behaviours, and it the paper also explored the complex relationship between the ‘official’ law and the subaltern code.
A full text of the paper will be published in one of the Society’s upcoming collections of essays.
The Society was delighted to host Professor Ian MacBride from King’s College London for the 2015 Spring Discourse. Professor MacBride’s paper, ‘Why the history of the penal laws has still to be written’ was a thought-provoking analysis of the reasons surrounding the relative dearth of scholarship surrounding the penal laws. The discourse took place at the UCD Sutherland School of Law and was well-attended by members of the Society and others.
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’.
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
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)
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.
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 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.
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).