On All Saints’ Day 1920 Kevin Barry gave his life for Ireland.
Barry, aged 18, was a Volunteer in the Dublin Brigade, IRA
Barry was born in Dublin’s Fleet Street, spent much of his childhood in Rathvilly, Carlow, and was educated in Dublin’s Belvedere College. He received a Dublin Corporation scholarship, allowing him to begin his medical studies at UCD in 1920.
Barry joined the Dublin Brigade’s 1st Battalion in 1917, aged 15. By 1919, the recently established Irish Republic and the Irish people, who had democratically mandated the Republic’s establishment, came under systematic and planned attack by the British government and its forces, primarily the locally recruited RIC in the war’s early stages. By this stage, Barry carried IRA mobilisation orders throughout Dublin and took part in training.
On 20 September 1920, Barry took part in his first and last IRA ambush. Meeting his comrades after mass, Barry took part in an ambush on Church Street. With the ambush planned for 11am, Barry had planned to return afterwards to UCD to sit a 2pm exam. That would not happen. The ambush saw Crown Forces suffer three casualties. While the IRA had no casualties, Barry was captured.
Barry was tortured while held as a prisoner and faced military trial on 20th October. He was sentenced to death.
Ninety-nine years ago, Kevin Barry was hanged in Mountjoy Jail as crowds knelt outside the prison in prayer for the young patriot.
Writing just before Barry was killed, Irish republican Erskine Childers said:
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.
Fuair Caoimhín de Barra bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.