Moore, Theodore Conyngham Kingsmill (1893–1979), lawyer and judge, was born 16 March 1893, the fourth child and only son of Canon Henry Kingsmill Moore, head of the Church of Ireland training college, and his wife, Constance Turpin. He had three older siblings, two of whom died in childhood. His other sister, Eva, died in 1940. He grew up in Cedar Mount, Mount Anville, Dundrum. He was educated at Marlborough College, in England, and then at TCD (where he was first classical scholar and first senior moderator, in legal and political science); he graduated in 1916. Following a period in the Royal Flying Corps, in 1917–18, he was auditor of the College Historical Society from 1918 to 1920, and is generally credited with having kept the society going during that difficult period. He was subsequently a correspondent for the Irish Times during the civil war, and later published many book reviews for the same newspaper
He was called to the bar in 1918 and later took silk (12 April 1935); he became a bencher of King's Inns in 1941. He was first elected as an independent member of the seanad for Dublin University in September 1943 and was reelected the following year. On that occasion he made his point by ensuring that his nomination papers were signed entirely by women graduates. His parliamentary contributions were thoughtful and insightful, and reflected his humane and civilised views. A good example is his speech in the seanad on 12 June 1946 on the issue of prison reform, in the wake of the death on hunger strike of IRA prisoners.
Appointed a judge of the high court on 10 June 1947, he was later promoted to the supreme court (on 2 October 1951). Appointed visitor to TCD in 1948, he was appointed by the government as a commissioner of charitable bequests in the same year. He retired as a judge in 1965 on reaching the (then) mandatory retirement age of seventy-two. As a judge, Kingsmill Moore has an outstanding reputation and his judgments display a distinctively elegant writing style, together with much learning and erudition. He made distinctive contributions in many areas of the law, including criminal procedure, constitutional law, private international law and the law of evidence. This could be illustrated by any number of his decisions, but the following may be taken as representative.
In Buckley v. Attorney General (No. 2) (1950) 84 (Irish Law Times Reports 9) he was required to consider the claim brought by the then president of Sinn Féin, Mrs Margaret Buckley (qv), that her party was entitled to claim the moneys that had been lodged in court by the trustees of Sinn Féin in the aftermath of the civil war. Following a hearing that took several weeks, and during which many major political figures from that period gave evidence, Kingsmill Moore rejected the claim. His judgment demonstrated conclusively that the original Sinn Féin died during the course of the civil war, and that it was subsequently reinvented by anti-treaty supporters some time in 1923. His remarkable judgment – which was not unsympathetic to the moral claims of the plaintiffs – dealt with great sensitivity on this difficult topic. No excerpt could do full justice to it, but the following lapidary remarks have been much quoted: ‘Even now Irish politics are largely dominated by the bitterness between the hunters and the hunted of 1922.’
Another judgment of outstanding quality is Re Employers Mutual Insurance Association Ltd  (Irish Reports 176). Here, following an exhaustive analysis of the structure of the 1937 constitution and pre-1937 constitutional history, Kingsmill Moore held that the common law prerogative of priority of payment of crown debts had not survived the enactment of the constitution. This judgment prefigured the subsequent judgment of the supreme court in Byrne v. Ireland  (Irish Reports 241) which held that the common law prerogative, whereby the crown enjoyed an immunity from suit, was equally unconstitutional.
Two other judgments pay ample testament to Kingsmill Moore's singular standing in some difficult areas of the law. His judgment in Buchanan Ltd v. McVey  (Irish Reports 8) – reaffirming the principle that the courts will not enforce the revenue claims of a foreign state – is widely regarded as a classic and is one of the few Irish judgments from this period that is widely cited throughout the common law world. There are few more difficult areas in the law than that of hearsay, but Kingsmill Moore's judgment on this topic in Cullen v. Clarke  (Irish Reports 368) is especially illuminating.
Kingsmill Moore must therefore rank as one of the greatest judges that the state has produced. It was perhaps unfortunate that he retired just before the great renaissance of Irish law, which produced the Irish constitutional revolution of the mid sixties, got into full flight. Many of the topics covered in his judgments – such as landlord and tenant issues or issues arising from the land acts – have either been superseded by statute or are of less practical importance in a different Ireland fifty years later. But even though the practical significance of some of these topics has receded with the years, the quality of Kingsmill Moore's legal writing and analysis remains undimmed. His skill in judgment writing has been matched by only a select few of great judges such as Hugh Kennedy (qv), Brian Walsh (qv), Seamus Henchy and, more recently, by Ronan Keane and Adrian Hardiman.
But while Kingsmill Moore's main claim to fame is as a lawyer and a judge of great distinction, he was a man of many talents. He published a book of poetry entitled Misconceptions under the pen name Saracen in 1921 and, with T. U. Odell, The Landlord and Tenant Act, 1931, fully annotated (1932). He was a keen angler and his book A man may fish (1960, and later editions) is regarded as a classic; it is an invaluable vade mecum and guide to the people, mountains, lakes, and rivers of Connemara.
In 1926 he married Beatrice Doreen (‘Alexander’) McNie; they had two children, John Miles Kingsmill Moore (b. 1929) and Shirley Alison (b. 1934). Between 1929 and 1953 they lived at 30 Burlington Road, Dublin, then at Orchardton, Ballyboden Road, Rathfarnham, and latterly at 7 Hillside Drive, Rathfarnham. Kingsmill Moore died 22 January 1979.