• Barry surname history

    Barry surname history

    The first bearer of the surname Barry to arrive in Ireland was Robert de Barri, one of the original band of Norman knights who landed at Bannow in Co. Wexford in May 1169, and a brother of Giraldus Cambrensis, the notoriously anti-Irish historian of the invasion. The name comes from the earlier association of the family with the island of Barry, seven miles south-west of Cardiff in Wales. From the start the family were prominent in the settlement of east Cork, and were soon absorbed into the native culture, forming subsepts on Gaelic lines, the most important being Barry Mor, Barry Og and Barry Roe. The names of two of these are perpetuated in the names of the Cork

    baronies of Barrymore and Barryroe, and many other Cork placenames are linked to the family: Kilbarry, Rathbarry and Buttevant (from the family motto Boutez en avant, to mention only three. The surname is now very numerous in Ireland, but still inextricably associated with Co. Cork.

    In 1890 217 births of the surname were recorded throughout Ireland, almost 80% of them in Munster, principally in County Cork and the adjoining counties of Limerick and Waterford, making it the 72nd most common surname in Ireland. By 1996, based on Irish telephone directory entries it was ranked 74th, showing a remarkable consistency.

    As well as the Norman origin, two relatively uncommon Gaelic surnames O Beargha and O Baire have also been anglicised as Barry.

    .Peter Barry (b. 1928) was deputy leader of the Fine Gael party from 1979 to 1987 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1982 to 1987 His family firm, Barry?s of Cork, is the largest and oldest tea company in Ireland.

    James Barry (1741-1806), originally from Cork city, became very famous for his elaborate allegorical paintings, as well as his portraits. He was a protege of Edmund Burke and became Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy in 1782.

    Sir Redmond Barry (1813-1880) emigrated to Australia, where he became a judge and the first Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, as well as founding the National Gallery of Victoria.

    . Kevin Barry (1902-20) was a medical student in Dublin when the War of Independence began and he joined the IRA. His capture and execution at the age of 18 made him a hero; he is the subject of a famous ballad..

    Commodore John Barry (1745-1803), originally from Wexford, is known as the "Father of the American Navy" for his efforts in modernising the fleet during and after the War of Independence.