The Rush to the Bar, 1840-1841

From the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 21 November 1840:

“The French war, and the other more prominent national mischiefs having been disposed of, and set, we hope, for the term of our natural life, to rest, we naturally turn our eyes upon the minor calamities which threaten our domestic system.  Among the latter, we regard as unequivocally the most formidable, ‘the rising Bar of Ireland.’  This excrescence from society is becoming so alarmingly developed, that if prompt measures read more

Half a Century After Renouncing Monastic Vows, Septuagenarian Barrister Magistrate Marries his Nurse, 1908

From the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 28 April 1908:


At St Patrick’s Church, Monkstown, at half-past nine o’clock yesterday morning, Mr Thomas J Wall, K.C., 26 Longford Terrace, Monkstown, was married to Miss Gertrude Garland, of Dublin. The ceremony was performed by the Rev Father Eaton, P.P., of Monkstown. The son of the bridegroom is stated to have been present, presumably in the capacity of best man. Mr Wall, Junior, is about 26 years of age, and a very read more

A Barrister’s Privilege Against Physical Retribution for Hurt Feelings, 1821

From Saunders’s News-Letter, 27 November 1821:


On Saturday a conditional order was obtained by Counsellor Blackburne, the plaintiff, against Mr Hines, an attorney, for sending a Gentleman to him in the Hall of the Four Courts, to demand an explanation of account of some misunderstanding between them, and for telling him that he must abide the consequences of a refusal.

Mr Sergeant Vandeleur, on behalf of the defendant, contended that the rule ought not to be made absolute, read more

Leonard McNally, Barrister Lyricist, 1787

Irish barristers often have many unexpected talents – and Leonard McNally BL was no exception.

Not only did ‘McNally the Incorruptible’ purport to act as defence counsel for Irish barrister revolutionaries Robert Emmet (above) and the Sheares Brothers while simultaneously informing on them to the authorities, but he was also a songwriter on the side.

McNally (above, at Emmet trial) was in fact the unlikely protagonist of one of the Bar of Ireland’s legendary read more

The Mythical Miss Staveley and the Bamboozled Bar Benevolent Fund, 1927

From the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 17 March 1927:

A remarkable story of the perpetration of frauds on many prominent people both in this country and in Ireland was told at Highgate yesterday, when John LM Reddington, alias Edward McLaughlin (59), of 451 Archway Road, Highgate, was charged with obtaining £1 by false pretences from Mr Andrew Charles O’Connor, formerly Master of the Rolls In Ireland and further with obtaining £25 by false pretences from the Benevolent Society read more

Marry a Former Chief Justice of Tobago in Haste, Repent at Leisure, 1840-55

There were many Irish barristers who took on the task of administering justice on foreign and often inclement shores in such a way as to do credit to their country of origin. Barristers such as John Jefcott, first Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, Henry Barnes Gresson, Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court and Michael Hogan, Chief Justice of Hong Kong, to name only a few.

And then there was Robert Nicholas Fynn, whom Queen Victoria was pleased to appoint Chief Justice of the Island read more

The Bar Cricket Club in Season, 1889-1890

From the Clonmel Chronicle, 10 July 1880:

The members of the Bar of Ireland sometimes unbend the legal mind in the soft excitement of lawn tennis; but when they do, the learned gentlemen have their little frolic in ‘chamber’ as it were, and not in court.  They had what is called a ‘Lawn Tennis Tournament’ recently on the Earlsfort Terrace Rink, and a member of the Press went up to tell the public how it went on and off, but the notetaking chiel wasn’t admitted.  He says read more

Boys’ Night In Ends in Three Months’ Hard Labour for Elderly Barrister, 1892

From the Derry Journal, 8 June 1892:

At the Petty Sessions, Nenagh, Mr Sadleir Stoney, Barrister at Law and Justice of the Peace for Dublin, who resides at Ballycapple, between Nenagh and Cloughjordan, surrendered to heavy recognisances and was charged with having assaulted Mrs Alice Bunbury, wife of Captain Bunbury, in her own house at Woodville, about a mile and a half from the defendant’s residence.

Mr Stoney conducted his own defence.

Mrs Bunbury was examined.  She said she read more

A Barrister’s Right to Walk Unobstructed, 1893

From the Cork Constitution, 17 April 1893:



Mr William C Hennessy, barrister-at-law, Tralee, was charged by Constable John Foster with obstructing the footpath on the Grand Parade, at four o’clock on Friday evening.  Mr Hennessy had been arrested and remained in custody during Friday night.  He was not, however, asked to appear in the dock. 

Mr Hennessy applied for an adjournment, as read more

Mr Dunn BL Back in Town, 1839-40

Professed beloved of Mr Dunn, Angela Burdett-Coutts, dressed for the theatre, which she loved.

From the Leeds Intelligencer, 29 December 1838:


At Bow-Street, on Monday, Miss Angelina Burdett-Coutts, accompanied by her father, Sir F Burdett, and attended by Mr Parkinson and Mr Humphries, solicitors, appeared before Sir F Roe to proffer a charge of annoying and insulting conduct against Mr Richard Dunn, an Irish barrister, whose ridiculous attempt to appear in the character of the lady’s suitor produced, on former occasions, no small share of annoyance read more