Civilian Michael Barry


Civilian Michael Barry (aged about 47) of Carrigtwohill (near Carrigtwohill)

Date of incident: 6 April 1923

Sources: Death Certificate (Midleton District, Union of Midleton), 7 April 1923; Evening Herald, 7 April 1923; CE, 9, 12 April 1923; FJ, 9 April 1923; SS, 14 April 1923; Belfast Newsletter, 14 April 1923; Inquest Book No. 2, Midleton District (National Archives); Report of 42nd Infantry Battalion for Week Ending 14 April 1922, CW/OPS/04/05 (Military Archives); Keane (2017), 356-57, 422.


Note: Postman Michael Barry was badly wounded by armed men while delivering the mails near Carrigtwohill on the morning of 6 April 1923. The incident occurred about 1½ miles outside Carrigtwohill on the raod to Midleton. Barry was unconscious but still alive when a medical doctor arrived at the scene. He had been shot three times, once in the right side of the head. His brown canvas postbag ‘was not tampered with’, nor were any letters seized. A square sheet of white cardboard was pinned to his postbag with the inscription, ‘Convicted spy. Spies and informers beware—I.R.A.’ The Cork Examiner’s correspondent stated the obvious: ‘The facts that his postbag was not tampered with or letters abstracted, and that a notice was left attached to it . . . seem to indicate that the shooting was not consequent on a mere raid for mails; and the additional circumstance that several wounds were inflicted on the unfortunate postal official is corroborative of this.’ See CE, 9 April 1923. The National Army report indicated that a party of armed men had stopped Michael Barry at about 9:20 a.m. on 6 April 1922. He was later found with two bullet wounds in the head and one wound in the arm and was removed to Midleton Hospital. See CW OPS/04/02, Daily Report of 7 April 1922 (Military Archives). 

Significant details about Michael Barry and the manner of his death emerged at the subsequent coroner’s inquest. Aged about 47 and unmarried, Barry had died at Midleton Hospital at about 2 p.m. on 7 April without regaining consciousness. The medical testimony indicated that although Barry had received three wounds, he had died of ‘laceration of the brain [and] from shock and hemorrhage caused by bullet wounds’. One of those bullet wounds was to the temple, and the bullet had penetrated the brain. Barry had reportedly lived alone. Attached to the Carrigtwohill Post Office, he had regularly delivered the mails between Carrigtwohill and Ballintubber. He had served in the British army during the Great War and was in receipt of a military pension of 12s. a week in addition to his weekly postman’s wage of £1 2s. See CE, 12 April 1923. Barry had been ‘an ardent supporter of the Volunteer movement up to the Truce’. See CE, 9 April 1923.

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