by Siofra O'Donovan
Yours Til Hell Freezes is a gripping, intimate portrait of the young rebel martyr Kevin Barry, written by one of his closest descendants. This book brings a national hero to life through a combination of memoir and biography. Siofra’s life was littered with Kevin Barry’s belongings – his shillelagh, his letters in brown ink, his Belvedere cap, his memorial cards, his copy books, secret British correspondence and letters to and from eminent figures about him. Kevin Barry was the first person to be hanged by the British after the 1916 Rising, the youngest ever IRB member and yet there were many IRA Volunteers who were similarly executed during the War of Independence.
Siofra’s father Donal O’Donovan’s 1989 biography of Kevin Barry (1989, Glendale Press) and her grandfather Jim O’Donovan’s (Director of Chemicals, War of Independence) 1950s interviews with Kevin’s comrades, friends and relatives, along with a secret civilian file on Kevin Barry (MS 8043 NLI which he stole from Dublin Castle in 1921), gives unique insight into Kevin Barry’s short life and predicament.