News Stories

Members: 20 December 2020

Class of 1969: Planting of some Sweet Chestnut Trees in the King’s Inns Park

Class of 1969: Planting of some Sweet Chestnut Trees in the King’s Inns Park

Picture above l to r: Mr Fergal Foley with Judge John D O’Hagan.

In November 2019, the class of 1969 came together for a special reunion dinner in the King’s Inns Dining Hall to celebrate all Barrister–at–Law members who graduated in a year ending 9. 

Spearheaded by Mr Fergal Foley, a Bencher of King’s Inns and one of the 1969 graduates, some sweet chestnut trees were organised to be planted in the King’s Inns park to further mark their 50–years in graduating from The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. The planting took place in December 2020 after a detailed ecological assessment was done to find a suitable spot for the trees to mature and add to the current biodiversity of the park.

At the planting of the trees, Mr Foley said: 

I thought that the class of 1969 might create in memory of our deceased and surviving members, something that would embellish the Inns and its surroundings. Something that might be of ecological benefit, not in any way interfere with the enjoyment of the building and grounds by members of the Society and by the general public, and also contribute to the camaraderie of members keeping Commons.

Further speaking to Fergal in organising this planting, he noted that the final year class of 1969 first came together in King’s Inns in 1966. It was described as the “New Course”, and replaced the previous course known as the “Junior Victoria Year” and the “Senior Victoria Year”. Back then, the Barrister–at–Law degree was a three–year course with four dining terms per year. For the first and second of those years, students attended lecturers in either University College Dublin or Trinity College Dublin, held in conjunction with students for a law degree in either of those Institutions.

By comparison to present day, the class of ‘69 were a small number and very tightly knit, then and since. Twenty members of their class were called to the Bar in Trinity Term and a further 15 in Michaelmas term 1969. At least two of our class members were called in subsequent years. Five members of the class are still in practice in the Law Library at The Bar of Ireland, and all are Benchers of King’s Inns: Fergal Foley, Padraig McCarten, Patrick Keane, Henry Bourke and Aongus O’Brolochain. 

Five others also became Benchers, one of whom, the Late Mr Justice Vivienne Lavan, is now deceased, and the other four, David Byrne (former Attorney General), Mr Justice Philip O’Sullivan, James Nugent (former Chair of The Bar of Ireland) and Carol O’Kennedy are now retired. Other class members include John D. O’Hagan (retired Circuit Court judge), Ian Candy (retired Hong Kong Magistrate), Colonel William Lott (former Head of Defence Forces Legal Service), and Brendan Toal (former TD and land commissioner).