The first bearer of the surname to arrive in
Ireland was Robert de Barri one of the original band of Norman
Knights who landed at Bannow in Co. Wexford in May 1169 and the
brother of Giraldus Combrensis historian of the invasion. The name
comes from the earlier association of the family with the island
of Barry seven miles southwest of Cardiff in Wales. From the start
the family were prominent in the settlement of east Cork and were
soon absorbed into the native culture forming sub septs on Gaelic
lines the most important being Barry Mor, Barry Og and Barry Roe.
The names of two of these are perpetuated in the names of the Cork
baronies of Barrymore and Barryroe and many other Cork place names
are linked to the family: Kilbarry, Rathbarry and Buttevant (from
the family motto Boutez en avant) to mention only three.
The surname is now numerous in Ireland but still inextricably
associated with Co.Cork.