Margaret Barry

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Margaret Brady
Birth name Margaret Barry
Born 1917
Cork, Ireland
Origin County Cork, Ireland
Died 1989 (aged 71–72)
Lawrencetown, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK
Genres Traditional Irish, Sean Nós
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Banjo
Associated acts Michael Gorman

Margaret Barry (1917–1989) was an Irish Traveller traditional singer and banjo player.

Born in Cork into a family of Travellers and street singers, she taught herself how to play the zither banjo and the fiddle at a young age. At the age of sixteen, after a family disagreement, Margaret left home and started performing as a street musician.

In the early 1950s she moved to London. With her flamboyant delivery and idiosyncratic banjo-playing, Barry became well known in the pubs and clubs of Irish London in the 1950s and '60s, frequently accompanied by the fiddler Michael Gorman. The duo was an important part of London's Irish community. Barry's singing and banjo playing became a main influence on the younger generation of ballad singers in Ireland and the UK, including Luke Kelly. One song for which she was particularly noted was "She Moved Through the Fair". Asked by interviewer Karl Dallas how she had learned it—through her family or from other Travellers, she replied cheerfully, "Oh, no. I got it off a gramophone record by Count John McCormack".[citation needed]


  • 1957 Street Songs and Fiddle Tunes of Ireland (with Michael Gorman) Topic 10T06
  • 1959 Songs of an Irish Tinker Lad Riverside RLP 602
  • 1965 Her Mantle So Green (with Michael Gorman) Topic 12T123
  • Queen of the Tinkers Top Rank 25020
  • The Hills of Donegal Washington WV 731
  • Irish Songs and Tunes (with Michael Gorman) Folkways 8729
  • She Moves Through the Fair Folktracks 60-070 (cassette)
  • 1967 The Blarney Stone (with Michael Gorman) Transatlantic XTRA 5037
  • 1976 Ireland's Own Outlet SOLP 1029
  • 1994 Her Mantle So Green (with Michael Gorman) Topic TSCD474
  • Come Back Paddy Reilly Emerald GEM 1003
  • Travellin' People from Ireland (with Pecker Dunne)

See also[edit]



  • Pohle, Horst (1987) The Folk Record Source Book; 2nd ed. p. 22 (for discography)

External links[edit]