independent

Monday 12 November 2018

Does Tom Barry's wedding photo reveal veiled tensions?

Copy of a photograph of the wedding party at the marriage of Tom Barry Leslie Price, taken at the rear of Vaughan's Hotel, Parnell Square; left to right : Seated on ground – Dick Cotter, Bob Price, Eoin Price. Phyllis Ryan (Mrs Sean T Kelly), Gearoid...
Copy of a photograph of the wedding party at the marriage of Tom Barry Leslie Price, taken at the rear of Vaughan's Hotel, Parnell Square; left to right : Seated on ground – Dick Cotter, Bob Price, Eoin Price. Phyllis Ryan (Mrs Sean T Kelly), Gearoid...

'Who's Who' of political life at the time. It included Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins, Harry Boland, Eoin O'Duffy, Mary Mc Swiney, Jim Hurley, Ted O'Sullivan, Countess Markieviez, Emmet Dalton and many many more.

Leslie Price, who was to become Tom's loving wife, was in her own way just as brave as her new husband, being among the last women to vacate the GPO on the Friday of Easter week.

Barry was born in Killorglin, County Kerry, the son of a former RIC officer who had become a shopkeeper. He was educated for a period at Mungret College, County Limerick from 25 August 1911 to 12 September 1912.

In 1915, during World War I, he enlisted in the British Army and fought in Mesopotamia (then part of the Ottoman Empire, present day Iraq). He rose to the rank of sergeant. It was there Barry first heard of the Easter Rising.

On his return to Cork he was involved with ex-servicemen's organisations. In 1920, Barry joined the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which was then engaged in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21).

On 28 November 1920, Barry's unit ambushed and killed almost a whole platoon of British Auxiliaries at Kilmichael.

In March

1921

at Crossbarry, Barry and 104 men, divided into seven sections, broke out of an encirclement of 1,200 strong British force from the Essex Regiment.

In total, the British army stationed over 12,500 troops in County Cork during the conflict, while Barry's men numbered no more than 100. Eventually, Barry's tactics made West Cork ungovernable for the British authorities.

He died in a Cork hospital in 1980 and was survived by his wife, Leslie de Barra (née Price), whom he married in 1921 and who was the director of organisation for Cumann na mBan and later president of the Irish Red Cross. She died in 1984.

The talk in Gougane Barra Hotel on 'The Wedding of the Century' by Donal Ó Loinsigh, well known Muskerry historian, is not to be missed at 8.30pm on Saturday evening.

He asks are there clues in the wedding photograph that might indicate that all was not well on that august day?

Daonscoil an Fhómhair (na Mumhan) takes place at Gougane Barra Hotel from October 1-4.

This year's school is on the theme of 'Bailitheoirí Ceoil and Bainis Stairiúil' and includes the usual workshops, lectures, trips, lunch, dinner and general caint agus craic all 'as Gaeilge'.

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