THE Crawley Irish Festival on Sunday August 25 hosted the British premiere of a documentary about the life of little-known Irish hero Tadhg Barry.
Using British Pathe film, historical photographs and interviews with the family, the documentary records the life and death of Barry, a Cork trade union leader still honoured by the trade union movement in Ireland which financed the documentary.
Tadhg Galvin, Chair of Brighton Irish Society and great grandnephew of the Tadhg Barry was on hand at the Festival to discuss his great uncle’s life and answer questions.
“It was great to have the British premiere at the Crawley Festival,’ he told the Irish World.”Most of those who came to see the documentary on the life of Tadhg Barry had never heard of him. They came because they were interested in Irish history and afterwards, they came up to me to say that the film gave them a whole new perspective on the struggle for independence.
He added: “I think the story of Tadhg Barry appeals to many people because he wasn’t just involved in the nationalist movement – although it was the cause for which he died. He was also a committed trade unionist and a Cork City alderman who cared passionately about the welfare of the underprivileged. In addition he was a great GAA man and wrote the first instruction book on hurling – as they said in the documentary he was a man for all seasons.”
Tadhg Barry was active in the revival of the Irish language, involved in the 1916 Rising and became an Alderman of the First Republican Council in Cork. When he was sent without trial to Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down, he started the first ever Trades Council in a prison.
He was killed just three weeks before a general amnesty of prisoners in 1921, when a soldier shot him through the heart as he waved goodbye to fellow prisoners. Michael Collins interrupted the Treaty talks to fly back for his funeral and hundreds of thousands lined the streets as the funeral procession made its way across the country back to his native Cork.
A new book about Ballykinlar Internment Camp that devotes a chapter to Tadhg Barry was also available to purchase at the Crawley Festival event.
The documentary can be watched at the following link: