Thursday 23 March 2017

Hardiman: a good talker and listener, who loved banter

Hard-working Justice Adrian Hardiman didn't much mind the media glare, or a glass of fine wine, writes Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

RACONTEUR: Justice Adrian Hardiman, who died suddenly on Monday, as a young barrister debating in the Shelbourne Hotel. Photo: RollingNews.ie
RACONTEUR: Justice Adrian Hardiman, who died suddenly on Monday, as a young barrister debating in the Shelbourne Hotel. Photo: RollingNews.ie

There is a photograph of a youthful-looking Adrian Hardiman standing in front of what was then the "new" bar in the Shelbourne Hotel, extolling the merits of this drinking establishment, as opposed to the traditional Horseshoe Bar on the other side of the lobby, where he was a well-known habitué.

It was something that "seemed like a good idea at the time", but some wigs down in the Law Library were seriously discommoded at what they considered a louche public display by one of its brightest young stars. It was all right to drink fine wines, old port and a postprandial brandy in the sanctity of one of the many dinners hosted by the Honourable Society of King Inns, but such trivial japes in the glare of the media in a hotel bar was frowned upon in some lofty circles. At the time, Adrian Hardiman didn't much mind either the glare of the media, or indeed a glass of fine wine. He neither shunned nor feared such encounters.

On one occasion, it being Christmas and pleasantly filled with the joys of life, myself and a drinking companion ended up in the ivy-clad offices of Ivor Fitzpatrick across from the Shelbourne. Spying Hardiman temporarily without company, we sprang at the opportunity to engage the best known senior counsel of his generation in a bit of banter.

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