Category: Exciting Events

A Rare Bird at the Four Courts, 1888

From the Irish Times, 24 May 1888:


Yesterday, for nearly three hours, the inhabitants, and those who could spare the time, were entertained by a most interesting and exciting chase after a large bird of varied plumage, which was observed in the River Liffey opposite the Four Courts.  It transpired that the bird had some days since wandered from its habitation in the Zoological Gardens, Phoenix Park, and a reward was offered for its recovery.  read more

Ormond Quay Prison Break, 1784

From the Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty, 16 July 1784:

“Yesterday in the afternoon, a number of the prisoners, confined in the New Gaol, found means to break into the sewer that communicates from the prison to the Bradogue River, or water course that falls into the Liffey at Ormond Quay; several of them have been re-taken and conducted back to their old lodging, but better secured.  About sixteen it is thought are escaped; a guard is positioned at the mouths of the Bradogue, read more

A Princess Arrested in the Four Courts, 1864

Madame Laetitia Bonaparte Wyse, possibly wearing one of Mr Russell’s confections.

From the Waterford Mail, 17 February 1864:


Wyse v Lewis

This was an action brought by Madame Letitia Bonaparte Wyse, widow of the late Thomas Wyse, formerly British ambassador at Greece, against Mr William Lewis, of Messrs Lewis and Howe, solicitors, of Nassau-street, in this city to recover damages for an alleged neglect by the defendant of the plaintiff’s business.  

The plaintiff is the cousin-german of the present Emperor of France, and daughter of Prince read more

No Catholic Testament in the Four Courts, 1919

From the Weekly Freeman’s Journal, 6 December 1919:

“In the King’s Bench Division – Probate, before Mr Justice Kenny, in the matter of the goods of Denis Dwyer, Deceased, the Rev James O’Sullivan, PP, attended, under an order of the Court, in order to give evidence as to his knowledge of the existence of the will of the deceased.

Mr Justice Kenny asked Mr Fitzgerald, cross-examining Father O’Sullivan, whether he wished a shorthand note to be taken of the evidence.

Mr Fitzgerald replied read more

The Fighting Herb Doctors of Church Street and Parnell Street, 1852

From the Freeman’s Journal, 4 May 1852:

“John McDonnell, of Church-Street, ‘herb doctor’ and ‘professor,’ appeared to sustain a complaint against Michael Gafney, ‘herb doctor and universal practitioner,’ for an alleged violent assault.

The complainant professing in this instance to have been assaulted was a low-sized dark visaged young man, rather decently attired, but his mode of stating his complaint at once evinced his contempt of the generally received system of education.

Both read more

Sligo Jury Turns Water into Whisky, 1860

From the Belfast News-Letter, 17 March 1860:


While the jury empanelled to try the case of Michael Lynot, charged with committing an aggravated assault on Pat Sexton, were locked up considering their verdict, Judge Hayes came into court on Monday night, at ten o’clock, to ascertain whether they had agreed.  The jury having been sent for, the Foreman informed his lordship that there was not the slightest chance of their agreeing, when the judge expressed his regret read more

State Trial Implodes as Attorney General Challenges Opposing Counsel to Duel, 1844

The State Trial of Daniel O’Connell and John Gray, in the Court of Queen’s Bench, Four Courts, February 1844,

From the Sun (London), 1 February 1844:

The Irish State trials were resumed on Tuesday, when Mr Fitzgibbon QC, appearing for Mr Gray, said that the doctrine of conspiracy, as laid down by the Attorney-General, was that it was a combination of two or more persons to do an illegal act, or do a lawful act through unlawful means. He had looked in Coke, and all the old authorities on the subject, without being able to discover any such doctrine.    The people met in large read more

Mad Cow Escapade in Chancery Street, 1856

From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 July 1856:

“Mad Cow – Serious Accident

A young lad named Dominick Roynane was brought up in custody of Police Constable John Cartin 101D, charged with incautiously driving through the streets, without proper control, a wild and furious cow, to the great danger of the public. It appears from the statement of the constable that he saw the cow, being driven from Smithfield, turn from Pill-Lane into Mountrath-Street, where she ran at a woman named read more

Swallowing the Evidence, 1839

From the Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent, September 1839:


A young gentleman, called Rathbane, charged Anne Lynch with having stolen his watch.

Complainant said he was passing through Marlborough Street when he was followed by the prisoner, who snatched the watch out of his waistcoat pocket.  He seized her on the spot, and had her given up to a policeman who was passing.  She was brought to the station-house, and although read more

Let off for Lunch: Pioneering Women Jurors, 1921

In 1921, Irish women became eligible for jury service on civil and criminal trials. This article by Anna Joyce from the Freeman’s Journal of 9 February 1921 brings us back in time to the very first High Court trial involving women jurors:

Some people suffer from boredom to an excessive degree, and some do not suffer from it at all.

None of the lady jurors at the Four Courts yesterday appeared to be its victims, and when I tentatively suggested to one of them that being on a jury was a tiresome read more