Kevin Gerard Barry (Irish: Caoimhín de Barra; 20 January 1902 - 1 November 1920) was the first Republican to be executed by the British since the leaders of the Easter Rising. Barry was sentenced to death for his part in an IRA operation which resulted in the deaths of three British soldiers.
Barry's death is considered a watershed moment in the Irish conflict. His execution outraged public opinion in Ireland and throughout the world, particularly because of his young age. The timing of his death was also crucial. His hanging came only days after the death on hunger strike of Terence MacSwiney - the Republican Lord Mayor of Cork - and brought public opinion to fever-pitch. His treatment and death attracted great international attention and attempts were made by U.S., British, 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.
Because of his refusal to inform on his comrades while under torture, Kevin Barry was to become one of the most celebrated of Republican martyrs. A ballad bearing his name, relating the story of his execution, is popular to this day.