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Kevin Barry, the incident at Monk's Bakery and the making of an Irish Republican legend

Ainsworth, John S. (2002) Kevin Barry, the incident at Monk's Bakery and the making of an Irish Republican legend. History, 87(287), pp. 372-387.

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Abstract

Kevin Barry remains a popular figure in Irish republican folklore, as a victim of British injustice and a martyr for Ireland. As a member of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army, he had taken an active part in a surprise attack on a British army ration party at Patrick Monk’s Bakery on 20 September 1920, which resulted in the deaths of three young British soldiers and Barry’s capture. After being tried by court– artial, convicted and then executed for the murder of one of the three young soldiers, he became the subject of a propaganda campaign directed by Sinn Fein in the world press to characterize the British as brutal, merciless and uncivilized in comparison with IRA fighters like Barry, who were portrayed typically as young, courageous and gallantly devoted to their cause. Yet Barry had been captured in the civilian disguise of a guerrilla fighter rather than as a uniformed soldier, with flat–nosed ammunition in his pistol, and in circumstances where both ballistic evidence and eye–witness testimony proved his culpability beyond any doubt. While these were factors that could and should have been used to challenge Sinn Fein’s propaganda initiatives, the British failed to mount any semblance of a counter–propaganda campaign. The reasons for and the consequences of this mute response on the British side are issues explored in considering how Kevin Barry became and still remains a figure of legend among Irish nationalists.

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ID Code: 247
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Author contact details: j.ainsworth@optusnet.com.au
Keywords: Kevin Barry, Monk's Bakery, IRA, Dublin Brigade, British Government, Lloyd George, eye–witness testimony, propaganda, Sinn Fein
DOI: 10.1111/1468-229X.00231
ISSN: 0018-2648
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > European History (excl. British Classical Greek and Roman) (210307)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > British History (210305)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Deposited On: 29 Jul 2004
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:21

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