The Barretts then migrated to Ireland with the Norman warlord Strongbow (Richard Le Clare, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke) as hired mercenaries at the end of the twelfth century in the Norman Invasion of Ireland.
There are two Barrett clans in Ireland, the first branch of the clan are the Munster Barretts of County Cork, and the other branch is the Barrett clan of Connacht, most numerous in the Mayo-Galway mountainous areas. The two clans were believed to be unrelated before recent research proved otherwise. The English pipe rolls of the 13th century clearly indicate that the overlords of both the Cork and the Mayo Barretts were the same people, and the records further indicate that both families came from Wales. To this day, the Barretts and the Barrys of Connacht are known as "the Welshmen of Tirawley".
The similarity of the names of the two Barrett clans was thought purely coincidental. The view prevailed that the Barretts of Cork derived their name from the Norman-French "Barratt," while the Barretts of Connacht derived their name from the gaelic name "Bairéad" which means quarrelsome or warlike. Both branches of the Barrett clans were fully assimilated into Irish culture and married into many old Irish families, they are said to have become "more Irish than the Irish themselves".
The Barretts, along with the Lynotts, are the subject of the old Irish ballad, "The Welshmen of Tirawley".
Coat of arms
Their Coat of Arms Barry of ten per pale argent and gules counterchanged. The Crest: A demi-lion rampant sable ducally crowned per pale argent and gules. This in laymen’s terms was the crowned lion atop a shield striped with red and white.
Their motto was: “Frangas non Flectes: virtus probitas” meaning ‘Unbowed, Unbroken, Honor and Courage.’
Notable clan members: