Identity Statement for Kevin Barry Memorial Committee

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P0278
  • Title: Papers of the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee (1926-35)
  • Dates: 1926-35; 1973
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 1 box
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use
  • Allied Material

Administrative History

Kevin Barry (20 January 1902–1 November 1920) was a medical student at University College Dublin and a member of the 'H' Company of the Irish Volunteers.

He was arrested by the British Army during the war of independence for his part in an ambush on a British Army vehicle which resulted in the deaths of three British officers. He was subsequently charged with murder for his part in the ambush and was executed by hanging on 1 November 1920 at eighteen years of age. Shortly after his death, the Student’s Representative Council of University College Dublin agreed that a memorial should be erected in his honor, funded by students and graduates of the university.

A committee was formed to appeal to graduates of University College Dublin for funds to create the memorial. Through the collection of subscriptions and the sale of mortuary cards, the Kevin Barry Memorial Fund gathered the sum of £100 to pay for the project.

Following this initial period, there was a lull in activities and the money already collected rested with the trustees of the fund. Interest in erecting a memorial was renewed in 1929 when the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee, also referred to as the Kevin Barry Memorial Fund, was re-established, almost a decade following Barry's execution. The committee featured members such as John V. Bourke, secretary of the committee, Richard McA. O’Rahilly (who appears within the collections as The O’Rahilly or Ua Rathghaille), Desmond C. Bell, William P. Fay, Kevin Mangan, John Kent, G.P.S. (Sarsfield) Hogan, Tadhg Forbes (Mac Firbishigh/Mac Fir Bhishigh), Tadhg O'Neill, Patrick Donovan, (Pádraig O Donnobhán), R.J. McHugh and Patricia Browner.

Following delays by the Governing Body of University College Dublin in granting permission for the project and debates surrounding the most appropriate form the  memorial might take, it was decided to commission Harry Clarke Stained Glass Limited to create a stained glass window dedicated to Kevin Barry and the other students and graduates of University College Dublin who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish Independence. The window was designed and worked in double-glazed glass by Richard King, a contemporary of Harry Clarke.

The window was to feature eight scenes from Irish history and the struggle for independence. Among the scenes and events represented in the window are the death of Cuchalain; the mortal combat between Turlough, son of Brian Borumha, and the Dane; the capture of Red Hugh O'Donnell; the blowing up of William of Orange's siege train in 1690 by Patrick Sarsfield and Michael 'Galloping' Hogan; the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald; the Battle of New Ross in 1798; the 1916 Easter rebellion and a large scale figure of Kevin Barry.

Although the committee experienced lengthy delays and financial setbacks, the window was erected in Earlsfort Terrace and was unveiled on 1 November 1934, on the fourteenth anniversary of the execution of Kevin Barry.

In 2010, following the final complete evacuation of the Earlsfort Terrace site by UCD, it was removed from its original location, conserved, restored and placed in the Charles Institute at Belfield, the current campus of University College Dublin.

Archival History

This collection was transferred from the UCD Students’ Centre and deposited in UCD Archives in July 2014.

Scope and Content

Correspondence relating to the activities of the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee including the subscription campaign, the design of the stained glass window and the unveiling ceremony. The correspondence primarily involves John V. Bourke, secretary of the committee, March 1930–June 1935.

Minutes of meetings of the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee, containing details of membership, decisions, and discussions of the committee; with loose pages of notes relevant to the content of the minutes, November 1920–November 1934.

Reports and Related Material
Reports produced by the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee concerning application for approval for the memorial from the Governing Body of University College Dublin, the history of the committee and decisions regarding the stained glass window. Also contains the text of an interview with an unidentified member of the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee concerning its history and the disposal of funds, 1926–33.

Approval of the Governing Body, University College Dublin
Documents relating to application for permission to erect the memorial dedicated to Kevin Barry from the Governing Body of University College Dublin, February–March 1932.

Subscriber Lists
Typescript and manuscript lists of subscribers to the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee featuring the names of individuals, short addresses and subscription amounts, 1930–4.

Design of the Stained Glass Memorial Window
File of notes and illustrations pertaining to the development of the design of the stained glass window by Richard King of Harry Clarke Stained Glass Limited including the selection of scenes to be depicted in the piece, 1932–4.

Newspaper Cutting and Press Coverage
Newspaper cuttings concerning the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee and the erection of the stained glass window. Also present is an extract from a university magazine discussing the memorial, March 1931–December 1933.

Unveiling Ceremony of the Memorial
File relates to the unveiling ceremony of the Kevin Barry memorial window at Earlsfort Terrace, University College Dublin, 1934.

Printing and Postage Expenses
File of receipts, delivery dockets and manuscript accounts concerning printing and postage expenses incurred by the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee, October 1932–November 1934.

Letter from Thomas Murphy to John V. Bourke
File contains a singular letter which does not form part of the original correspondence of the Kevin Barry Memorial Committee but relates to the proposed transfer of the window from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield, 19 December 1973.

Papers of Kevin Barry IE UCDA 93

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Papers of Elgin O'Rahilly IE UCDA P200