In the spring of 1920, a remarkable phenomenon was taking place in Ireland which became the subject of excited comment abroad: the people were taking over the administration of law and order in their communities. Small tribunals adjudicated in local disputes about land, with the local Volunteer company abducting and punishing thieves, vandals, and rowdies, and directed public order at race meetings and fair days. Retreat from Revolution is the first in-depth account of the courts system established by a Dáil decree in June 1920. Presided over by locally elected justices and attached to virtually every parish in the country for ready accessibility, these Dáil courts soon displaced the largely abandoned British court system, on which people turned their backs. This is the true story of the Dáil Courts as told by the people involved–the litigants, the officials, and the judges. Mary Kotsonouris vividly portrays the self-confidence of these men and women, their ability to create structure that answered their needs, and their keen appreciation of their place in the emerging democracy.