|Birth name||Margaret Barry|
|Died||1989 (aged 71–72)
Laurencetown, Northern Ireland
|Genres||Traditional Irish, Sean Nós|
|Associated acts||Michael Gorman|
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, Margaret 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 exile music community, and 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".
- Street Songs and Fiddle Tunes of Ireland (with Michael Gorman) Topic 10T06
- 1958 Her Mantle So Green (with Michael Gorman) Topic 12T123
- 1959 Songs of an Irish Tinker Lad Riverside RLP 602
- 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
- Come Back Paddy Reilly Emerald GEM 1003
- Travellin' People from Ireland (with Pecker Dunne)
- Pohle, Horst (1987) The Folk Record Source Book; 2nd ed. p. 22 (for discography)