Mr Justice Robert Day (1746-1841): the Diaries and the Addresses to Grand Juries (1793-1829), by Gerald O’Carroll, 2004, ISBN 978-0-9547902-1-9 , 45 euros.
Justice Robert Day (1746-1841) was the outstanding politico-judicial figure of Kerry at the turn of the nineteenth century. Born at Lohercannon, outside Tralee, he was the outstanding Dublin Kerryman of his day in the generation before Daniel O’Connell, whom he knew and with whom he was often in conflict. Day was a member of the pre-Union Irish Parliament and at the same time the popular judge of the Dublin county court at Kilmainham. From there he was raised to the King’s Bench (Ireland) in early 1798 where he served to early 1819. He lived at Loughlinstown House. He was the father of Elizabeth Lady Denny and principal trustee of the Denny estate which included the town of Tralee and its parliamentary borough, and he set about reorganising that estate when his daughter’s family prepared their move to England to become absentees. Judge Day is the ancestor of the principal Dennys of our generation.
Day’s contemporary fame rested on a series of anti-revolutionary Charges which were published in the press and appeared later in volume form. They confirm his reputation for great erudition and humanity on the Irish country assize circuits and in the Dublin courts. This new volume of Judge Day’s writings carries all the charges which Day himself collected for posterity. Also published in this volume are his private diaries, often quoted by historians, which contain his circuit journals and his visits to Britain. In them, Day expresses trenchant opinions on high politics, the war with Napoleon, penal reform, town development, farming, and more. They are an unrivalled, indeed unique, source for his native Kerry.