Irish angler uses Magna Carta on landowner

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The Duke of Devonshire's ownership of Ireland's most prolific salmon river is to be challenged by an angler in a landmark court case that evokes the historic tensions between the English aristocracy and the Irish.

Michael O'Shea will cite the 1215 Magna Carta signed by King John to argue that he has the right to fish the Blackwater as he attempts to overturn a poaching conviction.

His case will question the Devonshires' entitlement to the river, which is on the border of Co Cork and Co Waterford.

The dispute will come to a climax at the end of this month when the case is heard in the Waterford Circuit Court, 40 miles from the Duke of Devonshire's fairytale Irish residence, Lismore Castle, which has been in the family since 1753.

The castle serves as a retreat for the Devonshires when they are not at the 175-room Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

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