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.
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