Kevin Barry

Kevin Gerard Barry
Born: 20 January 1902 8 Fleet Street, Dublin
Died: 1 November 1920 (aged 18) at Mountjoy Jail, Dublin
Nationality: Irish
Other names: Caoimhín de Barra (Irish)
Occupation: Medical Student
Known for: Executed IRA volunteer – One of The Forgotten Ten

Kevin Gerard Barry (Irish: Caoimhín de Barra ) (20 January 1902 – 1 November 1920) was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since the leaders of the Easter Rising. Barry was sentenced to death for his part in an IRA operation which resulted in the deaths of three British soldiers.

Barry’s death is considered a watershed moment in the Irish conflict. His execution outraged public opinion in Ireland and throughout the world, because of his youth. The timing of his death was also crucial, in that his hanging came only days after the death on hunger strike of Terence MacSwiney – the republican Lord Mayor of Cork – and brought public opinion to fever-pitch. His treatment and death attracted great international attention and attempts were made by U.S., British, and Vatican officials to secure a reprieve. His execution and MacSwiney’s death precipitated a dramatic escalation in violence as the Irish War of Independence entered its most bloody phase.

Because of his refusal to inform on his comrades while under torture, Kevin Barry was to become one of the most celebrated of republican martyrs. A ballad bearing his name, relating the story of his execution, is popular to this day.

 

Early life

Kevin Barry was born on 20 January 1902, at 8 Fleet Street Dublin. The son of Thomas and Mary (née Dowling) Barry, he was the fourth of seven children, two boys and five sisters. He was baptised in St. Andrews Church, Westland Row. Thomas Barry Snr. worked on the family farm at Tombeagh, Hacketstown, County Carlow, and ran a dairy business from Fleet Street. Thomas died in 1908 at the age of 56.

His mother came from Drumguin, also in County Carlow, and on the death of her husband, moved the family to Tombeagh. As a child Kevin liked country life, and went to the national school in Rathvilly. On returning to Dublin, he attended St. Mary’s College, Rathmines, until the school closed in the summer of 1916.

When he was thirteen, he attended a commemoration for the Manchester Martyrs. The three men, members of the Fenian Brotherhood, were hanged in England in 1867, and whose cry of “God Save Ireland”, had a strong effect on him. Afterwards he wished to join Constance Markievicz’s Fianna na hEireann, but was dissuaded by his family.

 

Belvedere College

From St. Mary’s College he then transferred to Belvedere College, where he was a member of the championship Junior Rugby Cup team, and earned a place on the senior team. In 1918 he became secretary of the school hurling club which had just been formed, and was one of their most enthusiastic players.

Father Thomas Counihan, S.J., his science and mathematics teacher, said of him: “He was a dour kind of lad. But once he got down to something he went straight ahead… There was no waving of flags with him, but he was sincere and intense.”

Notwithstanding his many activities, he did not neglect his studies. He won a merit-based scholarship given annually by Dublin Corporation, which allowed him to become a student of medicine at UCD.

 

Medical student

He entered University College Dublin in 1919. A fellow student described him then as “open-handed, open-hearted and generous to a fault and first in every manly exercise.” Much like other students, he liked to go dancing and to the theatre, and was popular, making friends easily. His closest friend at college was Gerry MacAleer, from Dungannon, whom he had first met in Belvedere. Other friends included Frank Flood, Tom Kissane and Mick Robinson, who, unknown to many in the college, were, along with Barry, IRA volunteers.

 

Volunteer activities

In October 1917, during his second year at Belvedere College, aged 15, he joined the IRA. Assigned originally to ‘C’ Company 1st Battalion, based on the north side of Dublin, he later transferred to the newly formed ‘H’ Company, under the command of Capt. Seamus Kavanagh.

His first job as a member of the IRA was delivering mobilisation orders around the city. Along with other volunteers he trained in a number of locations in Dublin, including the building at 44 Parnell Square, the present day headquarters of Sinn Féin, now named Kevin Barry Hall. The IRA held Field exercises during this period which were conducted in north county Dublin and in areas such as Finglas.

The following year, at the age of 16, he was introduced by Seán O’Neill and Bob O’Flanagan to the Clarke Luby Club of the IRB, which had been reorganised.

He took part in a number of IRA operations in the years leading up to his capture. He was part of the unit which raided the Shamrock Works for weapons destined to be handed over to the R.I.C. He also took part in the raid on Mark’s of Capel Street, looking for ammunition and explosives. On 1 June 1920, under Vice-Commandant Peadar Clancy, he played a notable part in the seizing of the King’s Inn, capturing the garrison’s arms. The haul included 25 rifles, two light machine guns and large quantities of ammunition. The 25 British soldiers captured during the attack were released as the volunteers withdrew. In recognition of his dedication to duty he was promoted to Section Commander.

 

Ambush

On the morning of 20 September 1920, Kevin Barry went to Mass, and received Holy Communion; he then joined a party of IRA volunteers on Bolton Street in Dublin. Their orders were to ambush a British army truck as it picked up a delivery of bread from the bakery, and capture their weapons. The ambush was scheduled for 11:00 A.M., which gave him enough time to take part in the operation and return to class in time for an examination he had at 2:00 P.M. The truck arrived late, and was under the command of Sergeant Banks.

Armed with a .38 Mauser Parabellum, Barry and members of C Company were to surround the truck, disarm the soldiers, take the weapons, and escape. He covered the back of the truck, and when challenged, the five soldiers complied with the order to lay down their weapons. A shot was then fired; Terry Golway, author of For the Cause of Liberty, suggests it was possibly a warning shot from an uncovered soldier in the front. Barry and the rest of the ambush party then opened fire. His gun jammed twice, and he dived for cover under the truck. His comrades fled, and he was left behind. He was then spotted, and arrested by the soldiers.

One of the soldiers, Private Harold Washington, had been shot dead. Two others, Private Marshall Whitehead and Thomas Humphries were both badly wounded. Both later died of their wounds.

The British Army released the following statement on Monday afternoon:

This morning a party of one N.C.O. and six men of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment were fired on by a body of civilians outside a bakery in Church Street, Dublin. One soldier was killed and four were wounded. A piquet of the Lancashire Fusiliers in the vicinity, hearing the shots, hurried to their comrades’ assistance, and succeeded in arresting one of the aggressors. No arms or equipment were lost by the soldiers.

Much was made of Barry’s age by the Irish newspapers, but the British military were to point out that the three soldiers who had been killed were “much the same age as Barry.” On 20 October, Major Reginald Ingram Marians OBE, Head of the Press Section of the General Staff, informed Basil Clarke, Head of Publicity, that Washington was “only 19 and that the other soldiers were of similar ages.” General Macready, was well aware of the “propaganda value of the soldier’s ages.” General Macready informed General Sir Henry Wilson on the day that sentence was pronounced “of the three men who were killed by him (Barry) and his friends two were 19 and one 20 — official age so probably they were younger… so if you want propaganda there you are.” It was later reported that one of the infantrymen was as young as 15 years old.

On this period M.A. Doherty was to write:

“from the British point of view, therefore, the Anglo-Irish propaganda war was probably unwinable. Nationalist Ireland had decided that men like Kevin Barry fought to free their country, while British soldiers—young or not—sought to withhold that freedom. In these circumstances, to label Barry a murderer was merely to add insult to injury. The contrasting failure of British propaganda is graphically demonstrated by the simple fact that even in British newspapers Private’s Whitehead, Washington and Humphries remained faceless names and numbers, for whom no songs were written.”

 

Capture and torture

Kevin Barry was placed in the back of the lorry with the body of Private Harold Washington, and was subjected to some abuse by Private Washington’s comrades. He was transported then to the North Dublin Union.

On arrival at the barracks he was taken under military police escort to the defaulters’ room where he was searched and handcuffed. A short while later, three sergeants of the Lancashire Fusiliers and two officers began the interrogation. He gave his name and an address of 58 South Circular Road, Dublin (in reality his uncle’s address), and his occupation as a medical student, but refused to answer any other questions. The officers continued to demand the names of all involved in the ambush.

At this time a publicity campaign was mounted by Sinn Féin. Barry received orders on 28 October from his brigade commander, Richard McKee, “to make a sworn affidavit concerning his torture in the North Dublin Union.” Arrangements were made to deliver this through Barry’s sister, Kathy, to Desmond Fitzgerald, director of publicity for Sinn Féin, “with the object of having it published in the World press, and particularly in the English papers, on Saturday 30th October.”

The affidavit, drawn up in Mountjoy Prison days before his execution, describes his treatment when the question of names was repeated:

He tried to persuade me to give the names, and I persisted in refusing. He then sent the sergeant out of the room for a bayonet. When it was brought in the sergeant was ordered by the same officer to point the bayonet at my stomach. . . The sergeant then said that he would run the bayonet into me if I did not tell. . . The same officer then said to me that if I persisted in my attitude he would turn me out to the men in the barrack square, and he supposed I knew what that meant with the men in their present temper. I said nothing. He ordered the sergeants to put me face down on the floor and twist my arm. . . When I lay on the floor, one of the sergeants knelt on my back, the other two placed one foot each on my back and left shoulder, and the man who knelt on me twisted my right arm, holding it by the wrist with one hand, while he held my hair with the other to pull back my head. The arm was twisted from the elbow joint. This continued, to the best of my judgment, for five minutes. It was very painful. . . I still persisted in refusing to answer these questions. . . A civilian came in and repeated the questions, with the same result. He informed me that if I gave all the information I knew I could get off.

On 28 October, the Irish Bulletin, a news-sheet produced by Dáil Éireann’s Department of Publicity, published Barry’s statement alleging torture, which had been organised by Dick McKee, the IRA Commandant of the Dublin Brigade. The headline of the paper read: “English Military Government Torture a Prisoner of War and are about to Hang him”. The Irish Bulletin claimed that Barry was a prisoner of war, suggesting a conflict of principles was at the heart of the conflict. The English did not recognise a war existed and treated all killings by the IRA as murder; the Irish republicans claimed that they were at war and it was being fought between two opposing nations and therefore demanded prisoner of war status. John Ainsworth has pointed out though that Barry had been captured by the British not as a uniformed soldier but disguised as a civilian and in possession of flat-nosed ammunition in his pistol, in breach of the Hague Convention. Erskine Childers addressed this question of political status in a letter to the press on 29 October, which was published the day after Barry’s execution.

“This lad Barry was doing precisely what Englishmen would be doing under the same circumstances and with the same bitter and intolerable provocation — the suppression by military force of their country’s liberty. To hang him for murder is an insulting outrage, and it is more: it is an abuse of power: an unworthy act of vengeance. contrasting ill with the forbearance and humanity invariably shown by the Irish Volunteers towards the prisoners captured by them when they have been successful in encounters similar to this one. These guerrilla combats with soldiers and constables—both classes do the same work with the same weapons; the work of military repression — are typical episodes in Ireland. Murder of individual constables, miscalled ‘police,’ have been comparatively rare. The Government figure is 38, and it will not, to my knowledge, bear examination. I charge against the British Government 80 murders by soldiers and constables: murders of unarmed people, and for the most part wholly innocent people, including old men, women and boys. To hang Barry is to push to its logical extreme the hypocritical pretense that the national movement in Ireland unflinchingly supported by the great mass of the Irish people, is the squalid conspiracy of a ‘murder gang.’ That is false; it is a natural uprising: a collision between two Governments, one resting on consent, the other on force. The Irish are struggling against overwhelming odds to defend their own elected institutions against extinction.”

In a letter addressed to ‘the civilised nations of the world,’ by Arthur Griffith — then acting President of the Republic wrote:

Under similar circumstances a body of Irish Volunteers captured on June 1 of the present year a party of 25 English military who were on duty at the King’s Inns, Dublin. Having disarmed the party the Volunteers immediately released their prisoners. This was in strict accordance with the conduct of the Volunteers in all such encounters. Hundreds of members of the armed forces have been from time to time captured by the Volunteers and in no case was any prisoner maltreated even though Volunteers had been killed and wounded in the fighting, as in the case of Cloyne, Co. Cork, when, after a conflict in which one Volunteer was killed and two wounded, the whole of the opposing forces were captured, disarmed, and set at liberty.

John Ainsworth alleges that

“Griffith was deliberately using examples relating to IRA engagements with British military forces rather than the police, for he knew that engagements involving the police in particular were usually of an uncivilized nature, characterized by violence and brutality, albeit on both sides by this stage.”

 

Trial

The War Office ordered that Kevin Barry be tried by court-martial under the ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act,’ which had received Royal Assent on 9 August 1920. General Sir Nevil Macready, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Ireland then nominated a court of nine officers under a Brigadier-General Onslow.

On 20 October, at 10 o’clock, the nine officers of the court — ranging in rank from Brigadier to Lieutenant — took their places at an elevated table. At 10.25, Kevin Barry was brought into the room by a military escort. Then Seán Ó hUadhaigh sought a short adjournment to consult his client. The court granted this request. After the short adjournment Barry announced “As a soldier of the Irish Republic, I refuse to recognise the court.” Brigadier Onslow explained the prisoner’s “perilous situation” and that he was being tried on a capital charge. He did not reply. Seán Ó hUadhaigh then rose to tell the court that since his client did not recognise the authority of the court he himself could take no further part in the proceedings.

He was charged on three counts of the murder of Private Marshall Whitehead. One of the bullets taken from Whitehead’s body was of .45 calibre, while all witnesses stated that Barry was armed with a .38 Mauser Parabellum. The Judge Advocate General informed the court that the Crown had only to prove that the accused was one of the party that killed three British soldiers, and every member of the party was technically guilty of murder.

In accordance with military procedure the verdict was not announced in court. He was returned to Mountjoy, and at about 8 o’clock that night, the district court-martial officer entered his cell and read out the sentence: death by hanging. The public learned on 28 October that the date of execution had been fixed for 1 November.

 

Execution

Kevin Barry spent the last day of his life preparing for death. His ordeal focused world attention on Ireland. According to Sean Cronin, author of Kevin Barry, he hoped for a firing squad rather than the gallows, due to the fact that he had been condemned by a military court. A friend who visited him in Mountjoy prison after he received confirmation of the death sentence, said:

He is meeting death as he met life with courage but with nothing of the braggart. He does not believe that he is doing anything wonderfully heroic. Again and again he has begged that no fuss be made about him.

He reported Barry as saying “It is nothing, to give one’s life for Ireland. I’m not the first and maybe I won’t be the last. What’s my life compared with the cause?”

He joked about his death with his sister Kathy. “Well, they are not going to let me like a soldier fall… But I must say they are going to hang me like a gentleman.” This was, according to Cronin, a reference to George Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple, the last play Kevin and his sister had seen together.

On 31 October, he was allowed three visits of three people each, the last of which was taken by his mother, brother and sisters. In addition to the two Auxiliaries with him, there were five or six warders in the boardroom. As his family were leaving, they met Canon John Waters, on the way in, who said, “This boy does not seem to realise he is going to die in the morning.” Mrs Barry asked him what he meant. He said: “He is so gay and light-hearted all the time. If he fully realised it, he would be overwhelmed.” Mrs Barry replied, “Canon Waters, I know you are not a Republican. But is it impossible for you to understand that my son is actually proud to die for the Republic?” Canon Waters became somewhat flustered as they parted. The Barry family recorded that they were upset by this encounter because they considered the chief chaplain “the nearest thing to a friend that Kevin would see before his death, and he seemed so alien.”

Kevin Barry was hanged on 1 November, after hearing two Masses in his cell. Father Waters, who walked with him to the scaffold, wrote to Barry’s mother later,

“You are the mother, my dear Mrs. Barry, of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known. His death was one of the most holy, and your dear boy is waiting for you now, beyond the reach of sorrow or trial.”

Dublin Corporation met on the Monday, and passed a vote of sympathy with the Barry family, and adjourned the meeting as a mark of respect. The Chief Secretary’s office in Dublin Castle, on the Monday night, released the following communiqué:

The sentence of death by hanging passed by court-martial upon Kevin Barry, or Berry, medical student, aged 18½ years, for the murder of Private Whitehead in Dublin on September 20, was duly executed this morning at Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. At a military court of inquiry, held subsequently in lieu of an inquest, medical evidence was given to the effect that death was instantaneous. The court found that the sentence had been carried out in accordance with law.

The body of Kevin Barry was buried at 1.30 p.m, in a plot near the women’s prison. His comrade and fellow-student Frank Flood was buried alongside him four months later. A plain cross marked their graves and those of Patrick Moran, Thomas Whelan, Thomas Traynor, Patrick Doyle, Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Edmond Foley and Patrick Maher who were also hanged in the same prison for their part in the War of Independence before the Treaty of July 1921. They became known in republican circles as The Forgotten Ten.

On 14 October 2001, the remains of Kevin Barry and these nine other volunteers were given a state funeral and moved from Mountjoy Prison to be re-interred at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

On 14 October 2001 the remains of Kevin Barry and nine other volunteers from the War of Independence were given a state funeral and moved from Mountjoy Prison to be re-interred at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Barry’s grave is the first on the left.

The only full-length biography of Kevin Barry was written by his nephew, the journalist Donal O’Donovan, and published in 1989 as Kevin Barry and his Time.

Kevin Barry is remembered in a well-known song about his imprisonment and execution, written shortly after his death and still sung today. The tune to “Kevin Barry” was taken from the sea-shanty “Rolling Home.”

World famous artists such as Leonard Cohen and Paul Robeson have covered the song.
Barry’s execution also inspired Thomas MacGreevy’s surrealist poem “Homage to Hieronymus Bosch”. MacGreevy had unsuccessfully petitioned the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, John Henry Bernard, to make representations on Barry’s behalf.

A commemorative stamp was issued by An Post to mark the 50th anniversary of Barry’s death in 1970.

The University College Dublin branch of Fianna Fáil is named the Kevin Barry Cumann in his honour. Also a GAA club was named after him in county Tyrone called Derrylaughan Kevin Barry’s in the parish of Clonoe.

In 1934 a large stained glass window commemorating Barry was unveiled in Earlsfort Terrace, then the principal campus of University College Dublin. It was designed by Richard King of the Harry Clarke Studio. In 2007 UCD completed its relocation to the Belfield campus some four miles away and a fund was collected by graduates to defray the cost (estimated at close to €250,000) of restoring and moving the window to this new location.

A grandnephew is the Irish historian Eunan O’Halpin.

By James Langton:

Kevin Barry in Volunteer uniform

Kevin Barry

By James Langton:

young Kevin Barry

By James Langton:

Another rare one of Kevin Barry

By | 2017-09-13T15:09:33+00:00 June 8th, 2012|Irish War of Independence Figures|6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Seán Ó Maoilearca March 17, 2013 at 2:05 am

    In response to the typical British Conservative philosophical rhetoric that Sir Ormonde winter has displayed in which he states that Privates Whitehead, Washington and Humphries gave their lives to save the Irish nation from Irish Republicanism, in reality the reverse is true in that Privates Whitehead, Washington and Humphries died enforcing British Royal-ism on the Irish nation.

    Here we have someone who is using a dead mans email address so obviously quite obsessed and most likely male (I would bet money on it), also very proudly British, possibly ex-military (even an officer), pro-Colonial, anti Nationalist Irish, anti IRA, anti Republican, shows dictating tendencies (the British way is the right way) and has a fascination with the devious Brigadier-General Sir Ormonde de l’Épée Winter KBE CB CMG DSO (1875-1962) who was head of British Military intelligence in Ireland during the War of Independence and who after retiring from the British army joined a British political fascist party.

    Lastly, just like a Republican would have nothing positive to offer at a Royal Coronation he has nothing to offer here, he knows this website is dedicated to commemorating Irish Volunteers who fought for the independence of their country from the likes of him and I see nothing here that remotely commemorates Privates Whitehead, Washington and Humphries and if that where the case I wouldn’t be here.

    • admin March 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Well said Sean, we are dedicated to the commemoration of the Irish Volunteers,but we encourage free speech,the truth will out ,and we feel that the more debate we have the more the Volunteers position in our history will be appreciated.

  2. Sir Winston June 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    A response to comment by’Sir Ormond Winter’
    By Sir Winston:

    I wasn’t actually going to respond to her/his post, especially when I seen her/him quote discredited historian Peter Hart as a source, but thats another story. To start at the top, to call Kevin Barry a murderer is very unfair. The mistake that the poster is making is that she/he is taking people and historical events out of their context. Those men were part of an independence movement which laid the foundations of this State. They fought and died for what they believed in. They were convicted of attacking or killing military not civilian targets. Then she/he proceeds to say that the three British soldiers are forgotten and not commemorated, may I ask by whom? He hardly expects us to commemorate them. If so may I ask do the British commemorate any of our dead who they killed in 1916 or the War of Independence here? I think not. His statement is just about as ridiculous as asking the British to commemorate the fallen Argentinian soldiers that fell in the Falklands War.
    Lets take a look at what he calls murder. Rather than go through the whole campaign, I’ll use the year 1920 here as an example :
    It was estimated that over two hundred unarmed civilians, including women and children, were killed by Crown forces in that year. The centre of Cork city was burned to the ground, as well as creameries, bacon factories and mills all over the country; leading Nationalists were identified and murdered; on March 20th, Tomas MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, was shot to death at his home; towns were sacked, civilians indiscriminately shot and scores of houses and business buildings burned. Eighteen-year-old student, Kevin Barry, became the first rebel to be officially executed since 1916 when he was hanged on All Souls’ Day, November 1st, a day after the funeral of Terence MacSwiney, MacCurtain’s successor as Lord Mayor of Cork; he had died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison on October 25th while fellow Volunteers, Michael Fitzgerald and Joseph Murphy, died on hunger strike in Cork Prison the same month.
    Between November 1920 and June 1921 nine other Volunteers were hanged and buried in Mountjoy Prison. They were; Thomas Bryan, Patrick Doyle, Frank Flood, Edmond Foley, Patrick Maher, Patrick Moran, Bernard Ryan, Thomas Traynor and Thomas Whelan. Father Michael Griffin, a young priest of Galway city, who was due to be interviewed on the crisis by The Nation, an American current affairs publication, was called out on a bogus sick-call at midnight on Sunday, November 14th and his body found a week later with a bullet in his temple. He was the first priest to be murdered in Ireland since the dark days of Oliver Cromwell.
    May I remind her/him, that the three soldiers he mentions that were killed in that Church Street ambush are indeed remembered. They are remembered like all other British war dead on Rememberance Day or ‘Poppy Day’. Although I have the highest of repect for the brave Irishmen who fought and died with the 16th Irish Division, I personally would not wear one. Why? Because it commemorates ‘all generations of the British armed forces’ which include those who ‘fought’ in Croke Park, Balbriggan, Derry, Trim, Cork, Galway, Antrim, Roscommon, Longford and so on. It is not a selective commemoration by any means but a commemoration of all people who ‘fought for the British State against native populations anywhere on this Earth. Apart from all the British Murders in Ireland throughtout the centuries, the British Poppy also commemorates all those British soldiers who were party to the murder of tens of thousands of men, women and children in the British concentration camps in South Africa at the start of the 20th century, and those who managed the ‘enclosed villages’ during the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya in the 1950s, which had one million people at their worst point. Want to talk about murder still? Gimme a break.
    May I add, I have nothing against anyone wearing a poppy. Many people here and in England, myself included, have ancestors who fought and died in WWI and should wear them if they choose to do so. I was glad to see a new poppy badge that has just come out with a shamrock on it which is designed for the fallen of the 16th Irish Division which I would consider wearing on behalf of my relatives who fought and died in its ranks. It must also be remembered that the poppy is not forced on anybody, but it stands for what it is.

    She/he would do well to remember also when talking about the ‘cult of death, martyrdom and brainwashing, the thousands of Irishmen that went and fought in WWI , brainwashed with the broken-promise of home rule on their return.

    My view of the post in which she/he has posted, is that it is written by an anti-nationalist historical revisionist who seem to be out in force these days, trying as they will to re-write Irish History in a way that fits their own brand of anti-Irishness and agenda.

  3. Brian O'Donoghue June 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    ‘Protecting the Irish people’ i don’t think was high on the agenda , if you consider firing into crowds of innocent civilians on main thoroughfares in Cork in 1920, supposedly in pursuit of republicans and even if so -how irresponsible to endanger citizens lives by so doing (let alone burning down the center of that city that same year), nor was randomly firing at windows of houses while the occupants slept , regularly throughout the summer of 1920 in the south inner city of Cork, nor indeed was beating up an old lady, ransacking her house, tossing all her belongings out her windows, throwing her down her stairs in and then leaving her for dead(she died ) – in Blarney , Co.Cork in March, 1921. Etc…
    An organised campaign of terrorism is quite correct, as a way to describe the British response to a war of independence (and Sinn Féin’s political mandate by a majority of the Irish people). It was indeed a war , and soldiers die in wars.
    Kevin Barry, and men like him were prepared to die in the interest of achieving that and so should be honoured , and to force a so called civilized country to recognize that mandate. It is ridiculous of Winter to suggest otherwise.

  4. Claire June 12, 2012 at 11:11 am

    To call Kevin Barry a murderer while assuming the sobriquet of Ormond Winter is rather ironic, don’t you think? Consider what your heroes were doing in India and the Iraqi Mandate in 1920 and you will see that the British conduct in Ireland was not a reasonable and understandable response to bullies and murderers but a consistent campaign of terrorism.

  5. admin June 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Author : Sir Ormonde Winter
    E-mail : winter1920@btinternet.com

    How dreadful that a murderer like Barry is celebrated and the men he killed just forgotten, as they did matter at all, it’s heartrending.
    The article itself isn’t bad. It addresses the central hypocrisy of Irish Republicanism (that it claims to be at war when it suits it yet hides behind the law even though it decries British justice and pretends it’s fighting for ‘freedom’. I remember Peter Hart once compared the IRA to the school bully, big and brave when it had all the advantages but quick to run squealing to the teacher when its’ victims had the temerity to fight back). But it then rather sidesteps the issue. To quote Erskine Childers on anything is pretty much like asking President Assad on Syrian human rights. Once it starts equating ‘British’ with ‘English’ it loses all credibility and the prejudice at it’s core becomes apparent. Although in fairness it does address Griffith’s hypocrisy.
    At the same time you feel sorry for Barry, the sickening cult of death and martyrdom that has brainwashed so many young Irishmen condemned him to death, the hangman just carried out the sentance.
    Also interesting that Barry made his allegations of torture at the insistence of his ‘commander’, aside from his claims I wonder is there any actual proof?

    So in memorium to Privates Whitehead, Washington and Humphries, who gave their lives to protect the Irish people and their freedom from the likes of Kevin Barry. You will never be forgotten.

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