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first battalion

first battalion

Kevin Barry - Freedoms Sons

2y ago


Born in 1902 Kevin Barry spent his childhood in Dublin, where his father owned a dairy business, and Hacketstown in County Carlow, where his family operated a small farm. Already early in his life Kevin Barry turned out to be an excellent student and sportsman, but also a dedicated Nationalist. At the age of 15 he joined the youth organisation of the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF), Na Fianna Éirrean, or Warriors of Ireland, and soon he became an active member of the movement. Kevin Barry had no trouble at all in combining school with his training and tasks for the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF). Due to his early age his task was initially confined to the distribution of orders. In 1919, the same year in which the War of Independence began, he became a medical student at Dublin University. Gradually Kevin Barry got involved in more risky operations, like raids for weapons and ammunition. In admiration for his dedication he got promoted to Commander of the C Company of the First Battalion and became in charge of all the Dublin operations north of the River Liffey. When possible Kevin Barry avoided needless shedding of blood. When raiding a guardroom for machineguns and riffles he ordered his Company to seize the 25 soldiers present. All of them were later released. On 20 September 1920 however thing got out of control when Kevin Barry waited in ambush for a lorry of British soldiers. A shootout ensued in which two British soldiers lost their lives and Kevin Barry got wounded and captured. Although there was no evidence that he had fired the fatal shot Kevin Barry was charged and convicted for wounding and killing Private Matthew Whitehead. Despite international protests Kevin Barry died on the gallows of Montjoy's Prison in Dublin on 1 November 1920. He was 18 years old. Initially Kevin Barry was buried on the prison grounds, but in October 2001 his remains were exhumed and, together with nine other Volunteers who were executed during the War of Independence, transferred to Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. This re-burial was highly controversial in the Republic of Ireland and stressed the ongoing Peace Process in Northern Ireland. In the Republic the main Irish government party Fianna Fail was accused of using the funeral for political reasons, because it coincided with the annual conference of the party, while honouring a convicted murderer with a state funeral was unacceptable for the Northern Irish Unionists and the United Kingdom.