Barry’s family were originally from Wexford!
One of Barry’s most horrific battles, in May 1781, showed his courage and ability to inspire others – even while wounded.
The bloody action with two British ships in the Atlantic nearly ended in defeat. Without wind, Barry’s already damaged and undermanned frigate, the Alliance, was an easy target for the more mobile enemy vessels, HMS Atalanta and HMS Trepassey. They raked the stranded Alliance with continuous fire, at one point wounding Barry in the shoulder with a heavy piece of iron grapeshot.
He was taken below for emergency surgery as the situation worsened. But when asked if the colors should be struck and the ship surrendered, he “became a wounded lion,” McGrath wrote. ” ‘No!,’ he roared. ‘If the ship can’t be fought without me, I will be carried to the deck.’