Founder of the U.S. Navy to be honored with Inaugural Festival in Hometown of Wexford


Pirates took to the beaches and streets of Wexford to announce that the memory of Commodore John Barry founder of the US Navy will be honoured in his hometown of Wexford on June 23 and 24 as the first John Barry Maritime Festival.

Irish immigrant John Barry spent his life devoted to faithfully serving his adopted country. At the beginning of the American Revolution, Captain John Barry offered his services to George Washington and Congress in the cause of American liberty and independence. In December of 1775, Captain Barry was given command of the Lexington, a small brig with 14 guns. On April 7, 1776, the Lexington fell in with HMS Edward, a small 6-gun tender of HMS Liverpool. After a one hour naval battle, the captain of the HMS Edward struck his colors after taking heavy losses and severe damage to his ship.

Captain John Barry triumphantly brought his prize up the Delaware River. This marked the first defeat inflicted on an enemy by the United States Navy. The boost in morale and prestige to the leaders of the American Revolution facing the world’s most powerful military and naval force was nothing short of spectacular.

Wexford town will honor his memory with an action packed maritime festival on June 23 and 24. The two-day John Barry Maritime Festival all is aid of the RNLI offers everything maritime with a ‘Try it Dock’ where rowing, sailing and kayaking can be tried out. The brand new S92 Irish Coast Guard Helicopter will do a fly by and the RNLI will host lifeboat demonstrations, Thundercat Powerboats will put on a display for the adrenaline junkies along with some World championship wake-boarding skills on display.

The festival is for maritime lovers and for all the family.



An action packed programme for families is on offer, children can get their pirate costumes on and join the Pirate Treasure hunt as well as art and crafts, and outdoor adventure activities. 



An exhibition of over 100 model boats, a John Barry exhibition, and a Titanic exhibition will be showcased on the quayside. The RNLI, Coastguard, Irish Navy, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Met Eireann will also be on the quay providing information. 

Local artists and photographers will also be displaying their maritime work. The harbour itself will be a visual array of boats from traditional sailing boats to ocean racing yachts.



Entertainment will be on offer throughout the weekend from traditional Irish music to dance groups,



The festival ends with an annual John Barry Memorial Ceremony at the Statue of Commodore Barry. President Dwight Eisenhower caused a statue of Commodore Barry to be presented on behalf of the people of the United States to the people of Ireland. The statue of Commodore Barry, located proudly on Wexford’s Crescent Quay in 1956.

The Irish Government arranged for a pair of commemorative postage stamps to be issued to coincide with the unveiling of this monument. And in 2003, another Irish commemorative stamp was issued to mark the 200th anniversary of Commodore Barry’s death.

Two American Presidents, Eisenhower and Kennedy, have laid wreaths at the statue in WexfordTown. President Kennedy, a World War II Navy veteran, was instrumental in the establishment of the U.S. Navy SEALS in 1962. President Kennedy gave special recognition to Commodore John Barry by displaying his sword in the White House Oval Office.

For details on the John Barry Maritime festival see http://www.visitwexford.ie and johnbarrymaritimefestival.com

About visitwexford

Tourist information for county Wexford in the Sunny Southeast of Ireland - for further details see www.visitwexford.ie
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