A rare photograph of Irish rebel Kevin Barry playing rugby at Lansdowne Road at just 15-years-old is to be auctioned. The ballad about his death at 18 at the hands of the British became one of the most popular Irish songs of all time.
Three years after the 1917 photo was taken of Barry playing for Belvedere College he was hanged by British forces at Mountjoy.
Barry was sentenced to death for his role in the ambush of British soldiers in central Dublin during the War of Independence.
The Irish Times reports that the newly discovered photo of Barry shows him about to score a try for Belvedere College in a win against Blackrock College in the Leinster Schools Rugby Junior Cup final.
The report says the photograph has been in private ownership for nearly a century but will be auctioned at Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers. The company specializes in rare books and historical memorabilia.
The report adds that the seller is a descendant of Kevin Barry’s and the photograph will be sold at auction in Dublin this summer.
The paper adds that photos of Kevin Barry are exceedingly rare with the best-known is a head and shoulders shot used on an Irish postage stamp in 1970.
The stamp depicts him wearing a Belvedere College hurling team jersey.Barry, born to a family with a farm in Carlow and a dairy in Dublin secretly joined the IRA during his second year at Belvedere.
A medical student at UCD, Barry was sentenced to death in 1920 by a military court martial for his involvement in an ambush which caused the deaths of three British soldiers in Dublin.
The report says Barry’s execution, by hangman John Ellis, outraged Irish public opinion and is commemorated in a popular ballad which described him as “just a lad of 18 summers.”