Kevin Gerard Barry

Kevin Gerard Barry was born in Dublin in 1902. His family divided their time between their farm in Hacketstown, Co. Carlow and their dairy enterprises in Fleet Street, Dublin and Pimlico. Initially, Kevin attended national school in Rathvilly, taught by Edward O’Toole who had long been a nationalist. When Kevin’s father Tom Barry died in 1908, he attended St. Mary’s College in Rathmines until 1915 when he entered Belvedere College in Dublin.

At 13, he, with his sister Kathleen, went to the commemoration of the Manchester Martyrs, hanged in 1867 in England This event had a huge impact on Kevin, spurring him on to join the IRA Volunteers, in secret, at 15 years old, while still attending Belvedere College.

By the time he entered UCD to study medicine in 1919, he was an experienced soldier in the H Company of the 1st Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. In 1920 Kevin was sentenced to death in a court martial at the Marlborough Barracks for his involvement in an ambush on Church Street on 20th September. Three British soldiers had died in the ambush, where they were collecting bread from the Monk’s bakery for delivery to Collinstown Barracks. Kevin Barry was sentenced to death by hanging.

On 1st November 1920, he was hanged by John Ellis at Mountjoy prison, the first man to be hanged since Roger Casement in 1916, and the first of ten men who would be executed by hanging at Mountjoy jail during the period of 1920-21. The hanging of Kevin Barry brought international attention. High profile figures in the Roman Catholic Church and even in the Crown administration lobbied for Kevin’s reprieve, but the British were unrelenting and in the end it was they that made a martyr of Kevin Barry.