The Louth-based GP on self-acceptance, fearing dementia, and his bad car-parking skills
Dublin-born Dr Harry Barry is a respected author and medic. He worked in Tanzania and Donegal before taking over an urban practice in Drogheda, where he lives with his wife. For the past 10 years, he has worked in a private capacity as a GP with a special interest in mental health.
What’s your earliest memory?
A very hazy recollection of my paternal grandfather and grandmother getting out of car. They both died shortly after.
When and where were you happiest?
Walking with the person I love, on the headlands of the White Strand near Miltown Malbay, with the sun shining on the foaming white waves. I wanted time to stand still.
What is your biggest fear?
Losing those people in life that I love the most.
What’s your least, and your most, attractive trait?
My least attractive trait is sometimes being impatient in relation to small, everyday matters. My most attractive trait is a genuine warm empathy with others who cross my path in life.
What trait do you deplore most in others?
Meanness toward or taking advantage of those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?
Create a long-term 15-year plan for housing which would be totally independent of local councillors and politicians.
What’s your biggest insecurity?
The risk of dementia or some other chronic degenerative disease.
Who would you most like to go for a pint with?
Pádraig Harrington. He is a very admirable and interesting person. I love his mind and the way he thinks about things. The biggest thing for me was that he never stopped trying, never allowed failure to get in his way, and the fact that, to this day, he is still striving to be as good as he can be.
Which fictional character do you most identify with?
What is your most treasured possession?
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
A glass of chilled Prosecco.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Be yourself and accept yourself unconditionally at all times and in all circumstances.
When did you last cry, and why?
Recalling the memory of a beautiful Medical Missionaries of Mary sister who was deeply embedded in my heart and in my family and someone I loved dearly.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Do you believe in a god and is there life after death?
I do believe in a god and that something awaits us beyond, but I will have quite a few questions for him.
What’s your favourite phrase?
What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
What’s been your closest brush with the law?
Attending the High Court to give evidence in a criminal case — a daunting event.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
To work harder on unconditional self-acceptance and to accept failure as a normal part of life.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The capacity to change human beings to live together in peace and to banish conflict and war.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Spilling liquid over my trousers, just before I was due to go on air with a public broadcaster.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
Working in a bottle-making factory in London during my time as a student.
What book do you wish you had written?
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari.
The book you couldn’t finish?
War and Peace.
Tell us a secret...
I am known for my hopeless car-parking skills.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen.
‘The Power of Connection’ by Dr Harry Barry is published by Orion Spring