A pub owner hailing from the charming streets of Limerick, Ireland, found himself entangled in a legal tussle that shed light on a peculiar and age-old practice. Patrick Fennessy, the proprietor in question, was recently summoned to the Limerick Liberties Petty Sessions by Inspector Kennedy of Weights and Measures. The reason behind this summons? Selling two peculiar non-imperial-sized bottles of draught porter, an act that raised eyebrows among the authorities.
The issue at the heart of this intriguing case was the term “bottles of draught porter.” Inspector Kennedy, in his pursuit of justice, sought clarification on this matter, suspecting it to be a crafty method employed by certain publicans to circumvent previous fines levied upon them. These fines had been imposed for the use of “medium” sized glasses, which, as it turned out, did not comply with the stringent legal measures governing such matters.
In his defence, the defendant, Mr Fennessy, openly admitted that he had employed these unique measures out of sheer ignorance of the law. He argued that his intention had been straightforward: to provide customers with the same generous quantity of draught porter they would traditionally receive from a bottle. This revelation cast a curious light on the age-old custom of enjoying draught porter in Limerick.
Presiding over the case, Mr Hickson, the magistrate, was tasked with the onerous responsibility of rendering a verdict that would satisfy both the law and the traditions of Limerick’s pubs. Mr Hickson ultimately decided that Mr Fennessy was in the wrong and should no longer employ these non-imperial measures to serve draught porter. In a definitive ruling, he ordered the pub owner to forfeit the vessels that had been used in these questionable sales, ensuring that they would no longer play a part in this longstanding practice.
In addition to the forfeiture of these peculiar vessels, Mr Fennessy was slapped with the obligation to cover the costs incurred during this legal wrangle. This verdict sent a clear message that the authorities would not tolerate deviations from established legal standards, even if those deviations were rooted in a deep-seated, time-honoured pub culture.
As the echoes of this legal saga reverberate through the cobbled streets of Limerick, it serves as a reminder that the past continues to influence the present, even in the most unexpected of ways. The curious case of Mr Fennessy and his draught porter measures unveils the intricate interplay between tradition and legality, shedding light on how seemingly innocuous customs can clash with modern legalities.
Northants Evening Telegraph – Friday 28 March 1902