A Visit to the 1890 Law Library

In 1890, Irish Society (Dublin) decided, with the help of one ‘A M’Lud,’ to give its readers a day out in the Four Courts. The first part of the ensuing visit, featured here, took us to the Round Hall. Today, we accompany ‘M’Lud,’ a practising barrister, to the original Law Library located just behind. M’Lud’s piece gives us an intimate picture of the final read more

Law Library Staff Member Leaves Bride at Altar, 1842

From the Dublin Monitor, 8 August 1842, an interesting account of an action for breach of promise brought by Maria Ormsby, of North Strand, against William Supple, a member of staff in the Law Library:

“Mr P Casserly, for the Plaintiff, said that he need not tell the jury, that a person holding office in the Law Library must, to a certain extent be respectable and no matter how humble in life was the situation of his client, the injuries to her peace of mind and youthful prospects were not read more

The Sentinel with the Sonorous Voice: Bramley of the Law Library, 1869-1904

From the Belfast Newsletter, 15 January 1904:

“A celebrity of the Four Courts has joined the majority, and the frequenters of the Law Library will miss the stalwart form and the stentorian voice of Bramley.  Every solicitor in Ireland knew Bramley.  He sat as trusty sentinel at his rostrum within the portals of the Library.  Nobody unless under escort of a barrister dared pass within the precincts sacred to the gentlemen of the long robe, and Bramley, like Justice, was no respecter read more

Dry Rot, Destitute Juniors and the Law of Cause and Effect: Improving the Second Law Library, 1897-1909

The formal opening of the second Law Library in the Eastern Wing of the Four Courts on 15 April 1897 prompted a gush of admiration in the press, with the next day’s Irish Times describing the new premises as

a splendid building, in which there have been provided tables, desks and chairs affording seating accommodation for 263 members of the Bar… It may be said that never before in the history of Ireland was the Bar of Ireland so magnificently provided for as this fine new library, read more

Law Library ‘Boy’ Sues for Damaged Bicycle, 1910

From the Irish Independent, 28 July 1910:

“In the action brought by Patrick Geraghty to recover £10 damages from John S Russell for injuries to his bicycle caused, as alleged, by the defendant’s motor car, the Recorder, at the City Sessions yesterday, said that the evidence was so conflicting that he would direct the case to be tried by a jury in October next.

Mr Louis Kelly BL who appeared for the plaintiff, said the defendant was a well-known sportsman, while the plaintiff had supplied read more

Old Barristers Swoop In to Claim Seats in New Law Library, 1897

From the Freeman’s Journal, 23 February 1897, this story dealing with initial seating allocation in the ‘new’ Law Library, located in the Eastern Wing and replacing an older Law Library behind the Round Hall:


Yesterday was a day of some excitement amongst the barristers at the Four Courts owing to the fact that the allotment of seats in the new Law Library was begun by the Librarian, Mr Robbins.  Owing to the extraordinary omission to provide any read more

The New Law Library, 1895

From the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 10 August 1895:

[T]he new Bar library at the Four Courts is rapidly approaching completion.  Only those who have had occasion to visit it can have any idea of the wretched character of the apartment in which the members of the Bar have hitherto had to make up their cases…  built in 1830, in recent years the complaints against it had become so persisting and so loud that the members of the Bar proceeded to promote a bill in Parliament for read more

First Law Library Ended by Typhoid and Solicitors, 1894

The Christmas of 1893 was a very sad one for the Law Library. It started in early December when no less than nine members of the Bar went down with typhoid. This was quickly followed by the news that one of the afflicted, Martin Burke QC, had lost his battle with the disease and passed on at his residence in Baggot Street.

The tragic death of this very young and popular silk of exceptional musical talent resulted in a belated realisation that the then Law Library premises – a read more

The Wandering Law Library Ventilator, 1879

From the Northern Whig, 4 July 1879:

“Today, about one o’clock, the glass dome, with heavy leaden ventilator in the centre of the Consultation Room, adjoining the Library in the Four Courts, fell in with a great smash, strewing the floor beneath with broken glass and smashed sashes. The ventilator, three feet high and more than one hundredweight,lay with the side battered in. the room is small, and fortunately at the moment of the accident there was no one under the glass roof, read more

The Law Librarian’s Office Burgled, 1857

From the Belfast News-Letter, Monday 23 February 1857:

“The morning of Saturday the 21st has proved an eventful one in the life of Mr Delany, the respected librarian of the Four Courts. Sacrilegious thieves had, on the previous night, entered ni et armis into his sanctum sanctorum, and endeavoured to appropriate, to their own uses, the property with which he had been entrusted. This worthy official was nearly paralysed with astonishment at beholding what had happened. A bold attempt read more