Barry is a popular surname in Ireland and while it has origins in the country it also has separate origins in Scotland and France.
There are a number of variations including Berry, Barrie, Barrymore and Barryroes. It has also become a popular first name for boys and can be a shortened form of the names Barrington and Bartholomew.
The Barrys in Ireland are derived from a family known as Ó’Beargha. The ‘O’ prefix means ‘grandson of’ or ‘descendent of’ while Beargha was an Irish word for robber. So this line of Barrys were descended from a robber.
Another Irish family that came to be known as Barry are derived from the O’Baire. This meant descendent of Fionnbharr. Fionnbharr meant ‘fair head’. It isn’t known who the fair haired person was but it is likely to have been a warrior who was the leader of the clan.
The name Barry may have had origins in Ireland but a significant number of Irish Barrys today would have descended from a different source – Anglo Norman invaders. In France the de Barrys could have taken their name from the word ‘bari’ which is French for ‘rampart’ or ‘castle’.
Following the Norman conquest of England, Odo de Barry was granted estates in in the southern Welsh counties Pembrokeshire and Glamorgan, which included Barry Island, as a reward for his military success. Odo built Manorbier Castle in Pembrokeshire in the 12th century. The castle still stands today and is open to the public.
De Barry became a popular surname in Wales and Robert de Barry was one of the Norman knights who invaded Bannow, Co Wexford in 1169. Over the next couple of decades several more Barrys left Wales and headed for Ireland, mostly to Co Cork.
Eventually there were so many Barrys in Co Cork that the name began to develop and separate as a way of telling different families apart. Names such as Barry Mor (the senior), Barry Roe (the red), Barry Og (the young) and Barry Maol (the bald) emerged.
The town of Buttevant in Co Cork is named after the Barry battle cry ‘boutez en avant’ which is French for ‘strike forward’.
In Scotland the name originated from people who lived in the village of Barry. The word Barry meant a rough, grassy hill. The village was in the County of Angus that is now known as Forfarshire.
John Barry was born in Tacumshane, Co Wexford in 1745. After his family was driven out of their ancestral home by the British he emigrated to America. He became an Officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. He would later become an Officer in the US Navy and is regarded as the ‘Father of the American Navy’.
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Drew comes from a long line of actors. Her father John Drew Barrymore was a Hollywood actor as was her grandfather John Barrymore, great-uncle Lionel Barrymore and great-aunt Ethel Barrymore. Lionel won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in A Free Soul in 1931.
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