Céad míle fáilte!
Welcome to Paddy Barry’s Irish Restaurant and Pub. We’ve named it after my grandfather, “Pop,” in honor of his long, extraordinary life of service to his fellow men and women.
Pop was born on February 25, 1900, in Kilrossanty, County Waterford, the only boy among three sisters. When he was 5, his father left for the United States and was never heard from again. To make ends meet, his mother worked as a servant in a local mansion and sent Pop to Waterford to be raised by his grandparents. They owned a fishing weir on the River Suir, where they trapped salmon. Working on small fishing boats as a child gave Pop his first taste of the sea.
At 12, he became a telegram boy with the Postal Service. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Pop and some of the other boys, enthused with a spirit of adventure and a desire to see the world, lied about their ages and signed up to fight “the war to end all wars.” Pop joined the British Navy. He first served in the North Sea and fought in the battle of Jutland on the battleship HMS Illustrious. Other ships followed, taking him to far-off places like Zanzibar, China, and Vladivostok, where it was rumored they were to rescue some of the Czar’s family; sadly for them, that mission failed.
After the war, Pop became an inspector of postmen in Waterford. In 1922, he married my grandmother, Molly O’Meara. She was from a staunch Irish Republican family who believed all of Ireland should be free; Pop favored continued union with Great Britain. They raised four children and had a long, happy marriage despite their political differences.
Pop wasn’t done with the sea yet, though. During the 1920s and 1930s, he helped train recruits of the fledgling Irish Navy. Neither was he finished with service. Pop’s strong social conscience was touched by the grinding poverty he saw afflicting the lives of many servicemen and their families. He wanted to help, so Pop joined the British Legion in Ireland. (The British Legion, like its American cousin, offers support and community to servicemen and their families.) Pop worked tirelessly to encourage the British Government to help Irish servicemen and their families.
He continued this effort during the Second World War, running the British Legion Club in Waterford. After work at the Post Office, Pop donated his free time to the Legion and to helping families affected by both World Wars. When Pop was awarded the Gold Badge for 50 years of service to the families, it was said “very few men would have carried out such voluntary service and travelled so many miles at their own expense as Mr. Barry did.” In 1981, Pop was named a “Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his selfless work on behalf of Irish families.
One of his proudest days came on September 10, 1988, when Pop led the rededication of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin, which commemorates those who gave their lives in the First World War. While the bugle notes of the “Last Post,” the traditional final salute to the fallen, were sounding, Pop recited Lord Byron’s Ode to Remembrance:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”.
Pop died at the age of 92 on April 23, 1992. He will live on in the hearts of the many members of the Barry family far and wide, inspiring us to do what we can for our fellow men and women.
We’re glad to have you with us and hope you come back soon.