Irish Legal Heritage



Our Legal Heritage: 'Have you no sense of decency, sir?'

Graham Ogilvy enjoys a new presentation of the famous denouement of demagogue Joe McCarthy at the hands of Boston lawyer Joseph N Welch.

Published 24 June 2020

Our Legal Heritage: The lawyer who put Hitler in the dock

The latest series of the gritty and stylish TV drama Babylon Berlin, set in Weimar Germany, introduces Hans Litten as a civil rights lawyer battling to save the life of a woman sentenced to death after being tricked by the Nazis into assassinating Germany's Jewish chief prosecutor. Connor Beaton shares his inspiring and moving story.

Published 25 March 2020

Our Legal Heritage: The unsolved mystery of the $500 million art theft

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s largest unsolved art theft, in which 13 pieces worth around $500 million, including paintings by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Published 20 March 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: John Philpot Curran's defence of Oliver Bond

Curran spent many years defending United Irishmen who faced capital charges, the most famous of which were William Orr, Napper Tandy, and Wolfe Tone.

Published 28 February 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: John Philpot Curran and the trial of the Sheares brothers

Perhaps the most famous trials of John Philpot Curran’s career were those in which he appeared as defence counsel for leading figures of the Society of United Irishmen. 

Published 21 February 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: John Philpot Curran

John Philpot Curran was one of the most accomplished Irish lawyers of the late 18th and early 19th century. An excellent orator, Curran’s speeches in the courtroom were regularly met with great acclaim.

Published 14 February 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: The execution of Dorcas Kelly

On Wednesday 7 January 1761, Dorcas Kelly (also known as Darkey Kelly) was executed near St Stephens Green in Dublin.

Published 7 February 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: Religious equality in the Government of Ireland Act 1920

On the centenary of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, this piece of legislation will be recalled for effecting the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. What may be overlooked is that David Lloyd George’s Government of Ireland Act 1920 included a subsection which prohibited laws “interfering with religious equality”.

Published 31 January 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: The Murder of Tomás MacCurtain

The first Republican Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtáin, was born on 20 March 1884 in the townland of Ballyknockane, about fifteen miles north of Cork City.

Published 24 January 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: The Glenrowan Siege and the end of the Kelly Gang

Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. Part I, Part II and Part III of this series were published last year.

Published 17 January 2020

Irish Legal Heritage: A deathly premonition and the Felons Apprehension Act 1878

Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. Part I and Part II of this series were published last month.

Published 6 December 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Ned Kelly (Part II)

Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. Part I was published last Friday.

Published 29 November 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Ned Kelly (Part I)

Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880.

Published 22 November 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: A Glasgow kiss

In 1937, a story emerged in the newspapers about a girl from Glasgow called Julia Clarke who had been sentenced, in absentia, to one month's imprisonment for “kissing a boyfriend in public”.

Published 8 November 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: The Witch of Youghal

On 24 March 1661, Florence Newton was committed to prison in Youghal, Co Cork, having been accused of bewitching a young servant girl named Mary Langdon.

Published 1 November 2019