Stop 17. Courthouse


old courthouse Blarney


  • The Library was in fact the old courthouse.
  • Justice was administered through petty sessions once a month.
  • Part time judges (magistrates), who would generally be the landowners and other local landlords would sentence people on a whim.
  • Petty crimes were the order of the day e.g. illegal pub opening hours, theft, and drunk and disorderly cases.
  • Some very interesting cases in World War 1 involving desertion and assisting desertion highlighted how war affected even here. These were all new offences punishable under the ‘Defence of the Realm Act’ and kept the court fairly busy.
  • For a while, during the IRA campaign, people totally boycotted the courts, setting up republican courts instead of which there was also one here in Blarney. These were more mediation than punishment courts. They were supported by the people and were very popular. But when the Irish Free State was established it was back to the district courts, with a newer model where you had professionally qualified judges and lawyers as opposed to the ad hoc courts made up of local landlords.
  • For a number of years the Blarney District court was held in the community centre in Whitechurch before being switched to Cork after 1990. There would be a large number of people around on a court day including gardai, the legal profession and the accused; and of course, they would be looking for lunch and refreshments, so it was quite a business for the local village!

Next stop: Who stole the station clock? And the bomb that went wrong.