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Authors: Meda Ryan

Tags: #General, #Europe, #Ireland, #History, #Biography & Autobiography, #Guerrillas, #Military, #Historical, #Nationalists

Tom Barry

BOOK: Tom Barry
6.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Praise for
Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter

‘Meda Ryan's fascinating biography Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter, demonstrates her considerable and detailed knowledge concerning the famous Cork republican … She refers to Barry's “greatness” and his “genius as a commander”, and in chronicling his intriguing life she produces many valuable details for the reader. She also takes issue on numerous occasions with Prof Peter Hart …'

Richard English,
Irish Times

‘Even the most hardened “revisionist” historian will find Ryan's book a source of interesting and valuable material. Ryan had access to Tom Barry's papers, and conducted extensive interviews with him and others from the early 1970s onwards. This work is important because it is the first substantial nationalist/republican account of that period which tries to directly challenge this “new revolutionary history”.'

Liam Ó Ruairc,
History Ireland

‘Meda Ryan crosses swords convincingly with Peter Hart on the authenticity of the “false surrender” at Kilmichael, which precipitated a fight to the finish with the Auxiliaries … If the War of Independence showed Tom Barry at his most effective, the biography is also interesting on his subsequent career … Meda Ryan has done an excellent job, and no doubt stirred further debate.'

Martin Mansergh,
Irish Independent

‘This book on General Tom Barry and his contribution to the struggle for Irish freedom is one that I would recommend for every household and educational institution in this country … Meda Ryan has given us a true and authentic account of historical events, and a leader of extraordinary talent, that will be of benefit not only to people of this generation but to future ones as well.'

Seán Ó Ceilleacháir,
Southern Star

‘The author's collection of testimony from old IRA veterans, richly varied archival sources, and interest in being as accurate as possible in her retelling of the many colourful incidents which dominated his life combine to give the reader a comprehensive picture of Tom Barry.'

Frank Bouchier-Hayes,
The Limerick Leader

‘At last a biography fit for a national hero … Meda Ryan has produced an excellent and well-documented biography of Barry ... [her] biography is an absolute must for anyone who is interested in the War of Independence as well as in Barry's role in it.'

Peter Beresford Ellis,
Irish Democrat

‘If there's one man who epitomises that zealous virtue of ‘fighting the good fight' in Ireland during the last century, it has to be Tom Barry … his prowess as a guerrilla leader made him the subject of song and story for subsequent generations …This biography of Barry is certainly a significant work, both in terms of its scholarly use of voluminous source material and its unique interpretation of such a colourful and contentious figure in Irish history.'

Michael Hall,
Irish Post

‘The book is thoroughly researched … Incident after incident is related with unstinting conviction as the author takes on the mindset of her hero in recounting the many daredevil exploits of the West Cork flying column. Barry's involvement on the fringes of the Treaty negotiation is dealt with as is the engagement with the ceasefire/dump arms deal of 1923 and his term as IRA chief of staff.'

Colette Olney,
Bandon Opinion

Tom Barry

IRA Freedom Fighter

Meda Ryan

‘In war, it is not the men who count, it is the man'



3B Oak House, Bessboro Rd

Blackrock, Cork, Ireland.

©Meda Ryan, 2003

ISBN: 978 1 85635 480 6

Epub ISBN: 978 1 85635 732 6

Mobi ISBN: 978 1 85635 769 2

This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

To the men and women of West Cork

who fought in their way, in their time,

to give us the Ireland we have today


I owe a debt of gratitude to David Willis who gave me Tom Barry's Papers, without which this book would be incomplete. I am also indebted to John Browne, Jean Crowley, Lieut Colonel Eamonn Moriarty and Dave O'Sullivan who gave me their unique personal recordings and videos of Tom Barry.

I am extremely grateful to Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh of the National University of Ireland, Galway, for reading the manuscript, for his helpful suggestions and for his advice and his encouragement.

As I look through my notebook of names and addresses, I notice with sadness that many of those who willingly gave information are no longer with us. But without their generosity of spirit I could not have completed this worthwhile study. A sincere word of gratitude is due to those who went out of their way to help me in my research, people like Brendan O'Neill and the late Dan Joe O'Mahony who drove me around and organised appointments; Dómhnall Mac Giolla Phoil helped to locate people, and with his wife Mary, was a constant source of encouragement, he also read the manuscript and offered helpful suggestions. Eily Hales McCarthy and her husband Gus were always at the other end of a telephone to listen to my problems.

Jack Lane and Michael MacEvilly have been a constant source of assistance and with Séamus Lantry, Eileen Murphy and Manus O'Riordan, kept me posted on source material and publications, so that my mailbox was never dull. Brian Murphy in his unique way provided me with the necessary stimulus to continue.

Criostóir de Baróid was always willing to offer help and advice as was Pádraig Ó Cuanacháin and Bernie Whyte. Dr T. Ryle Dwyer, Professor Eunan O'Halpin and Rena Dardis, Anvil Press, kindly supplied me with private documents, and Dr Brian Hanley gave me some source references. Sheila Barry Irlam and Gerald Barry were most helpful in putting family events into context. Seán Kelleher, Louis Whyte, Con O'Callaghan and Johnny Hayes of the Kilmichael Commemoration Committee willingly responded to my probing queries.

As well as thanking Dan Collins, Kate O'Callaghan, Donncha Ó Dulaing, and Nollaig Ó Gadhra of RTÉ for the use of documentary material, I am also grateful to Majella Breen and Ian Lee in RTÉ Sound Archives who were courteous and generous with their time as was Barbara Durack and Pat Butler of the RTÉ TV Programme Archive Department.

The directors and staff at all the libraries were most helpful. I sincerely wish to thank Kieran Wyse, Cork County Library who responded to my every query and was more than generous with his time, he, like Tim Cadogan and the late Pádraig Ó Maidín of the Cork County Library speedily replied to my requests. Della Murphy, National Library of Ireland was extremely helpful during my research and also Dr Noel Kissane and his diligent staff in the National Library Manuscript Department. Seamus Helferty and Kerry Holland, of UCD Archives Department and the efficient staff there, deserve special mention, as does the late Comdt Peter Young, and Capt. Victor Laing, Comdt Pat Brennan and the staff at the Military Archives, Dublin. Thanks also to the staff in the National Archives and Trinity College Archives staff. The kindness and assistance given by Patricia McCarthy, by Brian McGee and staff at the Cork Archives Institute and by Stella Cherry and staff at the Cork Public Museum and by Mick O'Connell, Clonakilty Museum is very much appreciated.

Thanks to the late Raymond Smith and the library staff of the Irish Independent who were generous with their time; the library staffs of the former offices of the Irish Press, the offices of the Irish Times, the (Cork) Irish Examiner and the Southern Star, especially the Southern Star's editor Liam O'Regan, who filled me in on incidents in relation to his father, Joe O'Regan; he also gave me his father's personal correspondence from Tom Barry. Thomas McCarthy and Eamonn Kirwin of the Cork City Library, Noel Crowley, Mary Moroney, Maureen Comber, Peter Beirne and all other staff of Clare County Library were always most helpful and courteous, as were the Library staff at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Mike McGuine, Limerick City Library, Iris Neeson of the Tralee County Library and Brian Looby and Eamonn Browne, Kerry County Library and Gerry White, Collins Barracks.

I am deeply grateful to the many who supplied me with personal documents and for being generous with their time: Gerald Ahern, Dan Cahalane, Michael Collins (Waterford), Liam Deasy, Jim Kearney, Liam Lynch family, Ned O'Sullivan, Bill Hales, Maura Murphy, Ann Hales, D. V. Horgan, Jim Hurley, John Pierce, John Young, Yvonee Purcell, Cormac O'Malley for permission to use his father's, Ernie O'Malley, papers and Leslie Bean de Barra. Paddy Connolly supplied me with photographs from his personal collection and for these I am most grateful. I am also indebted to the following family members who gave photographs: Nellie O'Donovan, Maura O'Donovan, John Young, Joan Dineen, Finbar Deasy, Brendan O'Neill, Charlotte Barrett, Bill Barrett, Gerard O'Brien, Eily Hales McCarthy, Seán Hales, Anna Hennigan, John Browne and Seán Kelleher.

There are so many who helped bring this work to fruition: Brendan Ashe, Paddy Casey, Nellie Casey, Eileen O'Brien, Christy Barrett, Joan Dineen, Margaret White, Pat Buttimer, John Whelton, Jim Kearney, Bill Powell, A. J. S. Brady, Nudge Callanan, M. J. Costello, Kathy Hayes, John L. O'Sullivan, Tom Kelleher, Paddy O'Sullivan, Jack O'Driscoll, James McCarthy, Tadgh Ó Cathasaigh, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ned Barrett (Kilbrittain), Dr Ned Barrett, Dan Canty, Charlie O'Keeffe, Annie O'Leary, Jack (Doheny) Lynch, Charlie O'Donoghue, Liam O'Donoghue, Minie Madden, Denis O'Mahony, Dan O'Callaghan, Brigid O'Mahony, Leo Meade, Kitty O'Leary, Cully Lawton, Denis O'Callaghan, Jerh Fehily, Mick McCarthy, Jerh Cronin, Den Carey, Liam French, Dan Collins, Jack O'Driscoll, Nancy Crowley, Mary Crowley, Michael Lyons, Eileen O'Mahony, Oliver O'Mahony, Lily O'Donovan Coughlan, Charlie Foley, Tom Foley, Liam O'Donoghue, Cormac MacCárthaigh, Riobárd Ó Longpuirt, Maggie Sheehan, Nora Foley Dineen, Josie Foley, Joe Walsh, Michael O'Sullivan, Mary Caverly, Nora O'Sullivan, Richard Coughlan, Liam Barrett, Bridie Crowley Manning, J. M. Feehan, Denis Lordan, Vivion de Valera, Mary Hough, Fr Donal O'Mahony, Fr John Chisholm, Kathleen Lane Lordan, Liz McEniry, Mary Leland, Cormac K. H. O'Mahony, John Fitzgerald, Dan Hourihane, May Twomey, Pat O'Donovan, Nelius Flynn, Denis Lordan, Paddy O'Brien (Girlough), Paddy O'Brien (Liscarrol), Seán Hyde, Tim O'Connell, Jim Doyle, Dan Collins, Brigid O'Mahony, Kathleen Lane, Ned Galvin, Jerh (Jerry) Cronin, Sonny O'Sullivan, Hannah O'Mahony, Billy Good, Snr, Billy Barry, Peg Barrett, John O'Donovan, Ned Young, Hannah Deasy, Molly O'Neill Walsh, Seán (John) O'Riordan, Dan Sandow O'Donovan, Miah Deasy, Bernie Whyte, Seamus O'Quigley, Seán MacBride, Frank Aiken, Ernest Blythe, Dave Neligan, Madge Hales Murphy, Denis O'Neill, James O'Mahony, Jack O'Sullivan, Brendan Vaughan, Donal McSweeney, Diarmuid Begley, Eileen Lynch O'Neill, Ruairí Ó Brádraigh, Fr T. J. (Tom) Hogan, Seán Spellissy, Maurice Healy, Colm Price, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ena O'Neill, Michael Bradley, Humphrey Lynch, Joe Cahill, and of course the late Tom Barry who was so helpful and courteous and therefore aided in the framing of this book.

Grateful thanks is also due to the staff at Brooklyn Central Library, and Mid Manhattan Library, New York, the Public Records Office, Surrey, the British Library Board Newspaper Library, also Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and the Imperial War Museum, Manuscript Department.

A sincere thank you to all at Mercier Press, who worked with me through the final draft of the manuscript. A special word of gratitude is due to members of my family and to my many relatives and friends for their patience throughout my years of research.

I want to thank in particular the people of Cork city and from there west to the shores of Bantry Bay who gave me cups of tea, full meals and even offered accommodation while I travelled throughout the area in the course of my research. Thanks is also due to the many who could not help directly but took the trouble to write or telephone explaining where information could be obtained.

If I have omitted anybody it has not been deliberate, as the contributions of all have been gratefully accepted.

BOOK: Tom Barry
6.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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