Irish Legal Heritage



Irish Legal Heritage: The Innocent Man, Henry 'Harry' Gleeson

Over 100 years after the tragedies that befell Rathcannon, another Holycross parishioner was the victim of one of Ireland’s most infamous miscarriages of justice.

Published 16 August 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Murder and Martyrdom in Rathcannon

On 30 June 1827, the nephew of a landlord was shot dead in Rathcannon, County Tipperary.

Published 2 August 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Terence MacSwiney

On 25 October 1920, Terence MacSwiney died in London’s Brixton Prison after 74 days on hunger strike.

Published 26 July 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Richard Pigott and the Forgeries Commission

Richard Pigott was a journalist who worked with several nationalist newspapers across the island of Ireland, including the Ulsterman and the Nation. For most of his life, Pigott appeared to support the Fenian movement and had been imprisoned for seditious libels on the government during his career.

Published 19 July 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Irish Women Patrols

The Garda Síochána Act 1958 provided for the admission of women to membership of An Garda Síochána, and this month marks the 60th anniversary of women joining An Garda Síochána. However, the 12 Ban Ghardaí appointed on 10 July 1959 were not the first female police officers in Ireland.

Published 12 July 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: A bigamist’s mixed-marriage declared null and void

On 15 August 1857, Maria Theresa Longworth and Major William Charles Yelverton got married in a Catholic Church near Rostrevor. They had previously married in Edinburgh on or about 13 April 1857 according to Scottish law; however, Theresa refused to cohabit with Major Yelverton until they were married according to her own Catholic religion.

Published 14 June 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: The couple facing execution

On 9 June 1976, Marie and Noel Murray were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.

Published 7 June 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: The swindling judge removed from office

In 1830, Sir Jonah Barrington became the only High Court judge to be dismissed from office by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Published 31 May 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: The hanging judge who ran out of rope

John Toler, the first Earl of Norbury, earned his reputation as “the hanging judge” during his time as a particularly callous judge in Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th century.

Published 24 May 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Scold’s Bridle

The Scold’s Bridle or Branks was a form of punishment usually reserved for women who resisted subordination and didn’t conform to being a quiet and virtuous wife.

Published 10 May 2019

Scottish Legal Heritage: A scandalous divorce recalled

Our sister publication, Scottish Legal News, recalls a scandalous divorce case from just across the water.

Published 3 May 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Norris v Ireland

On 22 April 1983, Senator David Norris lost an appeal to the Supreme Court. He sought a declaration that that sections 61 and 62 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, and section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, were inconsistent with the Constitution.

Published 26 April 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Alice Milligan – 'she loved no other place but Ireland'

Alice Milligan was born in a village just outside Omagh in September 1866, one of thirteen children. Her parents were Methodists of modest means, and whose success in the Irish linen trade brought the family to Belfast in 1879. In Belfast, Alice was educated at Methodist College along with her surviving brothers and sisters, where she “demonstrated an amazing and versatile range of abilities by winning scholarships in mathematics, science, scripture, natural philosophy and music”, and where she “first began to publish poetry in the school magazine” (Catherine Morris, Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival (Four Courts Press 2012), 25).

Published 12 April 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Major William Redmond

On 7 June 1917, William Hoey Kearney Redmond was killed in the attack on the Messines Ridge during the First World War, serving as a major in the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army.

Published 5 April 2019

Irish Legal Heritage: Ireland’s Alcatraz

After several decades as a military fort, and a much earlier history of being a monastic settlement, Spike Island was converted into a prison in 1847.

Published 29 March 2019