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UCD video series commemorates centenary of execution of Kevin Barry

Posted 30 October, 2020

A new series of UCD videos explores the life, death, and historical legacy of Kevin Barry, the first Irish republican to be executed during the War of Independence.

It marks the Centenary of the execution of Kevin Barry on 1 November 1920 and is part of the UCD programme of events to commemorate the (opens in a new window)Decade of Centenaries.
Kevin Barry, a UCD Medical Student and member of H Company, 1st Battalion of the IRA’s Dublin Brigade, was captured on 20 September 1920 during a failed arms raid on British soldiers at Monk’s Bakery on Upper Church Street, near the corner of North King Street in Dublin city centre.

Three British soldiers, Henry Washington, Matthew Whitehead, and Thomas Humphries, died as a result of the IRA ambush in which Kevin Barry was captured.

Barry was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging at Mountjoy Prison.
His death sentence provoked a massive reaction, nationally, globally, and among his fellow students at University College Dublin.

His eventual execution, coming a week after the death on hunger strike of Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, galvanised opposition to the British campaign of counterterror in Ireland which was at its height in the winter of 1920.

In 1934, UCD graduates commemorated Kevin Barry with a stained glass memorial which is now located in the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology on the Belfield Campus.

  • Mary Daly, Emeritus Professor of History, University College Dublin
  • Síofra O’Donovan, Kevin Barry relative and author of Yours ‘Til Hell Freezes: A Memoir of Kevin Barry (Currach Books, 2020)
  • Eunan O’Halpin, Emeritus Professor of History, Trinity College Dublin, Kevin Barry relative and author of Kevin Barry: An Irish Rebel in Life and Death (Merrion Press, 2020)