Kevin Gerard Barry was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since the leaders of the Easter Rising. Barry was sentenced to death for his part in an Irish Volunteers operation which resulted in the deaths of three British soldiers.
Barry's execution outraged nationalist public opinion in Ireland and its diaspora, largely because of his age. The timing of the execution, only days after the death by hunger strike of Terence MacSwiney, the republican Lord Mayor of Cork, brought public opinion to fever-pitch. His treatment and death attracted great international attention and attempts were made by U.S. and Vatican officials to secure a reprieve. His execution and MacSwiney's death precipitated a dramatic escalation in violence as the Irish War of Independence entered its most bloody phase. Due to his refusal to inform, Barry became one of the most celebrated Irish republicans.
A ballad bearing Barry's name, relating the story of his execution, has been sung by artists as diverse as Paul Robeson, Leonard Cohen, Lonnie Donegan, and The Dubliners and The Flingels.
At the place where Kevin Barry was captured, there are two blocks of flats named after him.