Last letter written by Republican Kevin Barry and sketch by JFK up for sale

Both items are up for auction in Whyte’s Eclectic Collector online auction along with a wide range of historical documents and artefacts
Last letter written by Republican Kevin Barry and sketch by JFK up for sale

An extremely rare fully provenanced flag of the 1916 Rising, of immense historical importance also forms part of the auction and is selling at between €25,000 and €35,000.

A final letter written by Irish Republican Kevin Barry just hours before he was hanged a century ago and a sketch by former US president JFK are going under the auctioneer’s hammer.

Barry was sentenced to death for his part in an attack upon a British Army supply lorry which resulted in the deaths of three British soldiers and the letter was written to 'a very good friend' just hours before his death.

The pencil drawing on United States Senate notepaper, titled "Ireland" and signed with initials "JK" from former Irish American president John F Kennedy is guiding at up to €3,500.

Lot 173 at the Whyte’s Eclectic Collector auction online details how Barry’s letter to Kathleen Carney thanks her for her letter.

In the 101-year-old letter he says he had quite a busy day (on Sunday, October 31) though he mistakenly dates the letter Sun 30-10-20.

The ast letter written by Irish Republic Kevin Barry just hours before he was hanged a century ago.
The ast letter written by Irish Republic Kevin Barry just hours before he was hanged a century ago.

Barry wrote: “I had a visit from a most effusive young lady whom I didn't know from Adam. She knew all about me however. She wept but she meant well." 

He mentions visits from two Sisters of Charity, the chaplain Father Albert, two Bon Secours sisters, and finished up with the chaplain again.

"The boys from the college were up outside the gate and they said the Rosary. They also sang the Soldier's Song which did me more good than you can imagine.” 

He goes on to encourage Kathleen to keep in touch with "Jerry and the boys".

I believe the usual thing done in my case is to make a speech ... but I couldn't be serious long enough to do it. 

"Besides anyone who ever knew me would never believe that I wrote it”.

He finishes: "Say a little prayer when I cash in, your pal, Kevin.” 

A Whyte’s spokesperson added: “Less than 12 hours after he wrote this letter he was hanged in accordance with the sentence of the Court Martial. He was 18 years of age.

"Kathleen Carney is described as 'a very great friend of ours'. Kathleen Margaret Carney was born in 1900 in Johnstown Bridge, Co Kildare, so would have been about 20-years-old when this letter was written. 

"In 1925 she married Vincent Joseph Gogarty born in Drogheda, Co Louth. She died in 1957. 

“The letter comprised of four pages on one sheet folded, written in indelible pencil. It is folded and in very good condition. 

"It’s provenance is from Kathleen Margaret Gogarty, née Carney (1900-1957) and was gifted to the family of Kevin Barry and by descent to the present owner.” 

The letter, lot 231, is guiding at between €60,000 and €80,000. 

There are also several other Barry items in the auction which include a letter to his mother from Dublin, notice of his sentence to death, a note of trial date and a letter to friend John B “Bapty” Maher.

The pencil drawing on United States Senate notepaper, titled "Ireland" and signed with initials "JK" from former Irish American president John F Kennedy.
The pencil drawing on United States Senate notepaper, titled "Ireland" and signed with initials "JK" from former Irish American president John F Kennedy.

Other items are sure to grab intention such as a pencil drawing on United States Senate notepaper, titled "Ireland" and signed with initials "JK" from former Irish American President John F Kennedy guiding at up to €3,500.

It is classed as a highly desirable graphite sketch accomplished by the then-senator on his United States Senate letterhead, of a Medieval castle in the Irish countryside.

The Whyte’s spokesperson added: “Accomplished circa 1955, JFK's drawing depicts a castle complete with two great towers, slotted walls for arrow defence, rooftop turrets, decorative windows, a wooden portcullis at the main gate, and a flag of Ireland proudly waving atop the structure.

“Clouds adorn the sky overhead and what appears to be a hilltop landscape of grass descends below. Kennedy has written and framed the name Ireland to the right of the flag and adds his initials "JK" beneath it.

“This picture was possibly inspired by his visit to Ireland in 1955 with his wife Jackie who wrote about her 'fairy tale visit to Ireland'.

“Kennedy was the only US president whose parents' ancestors both hailed from Ireland, JFK was extremely proud of his Irish roots." 

John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s first stay in Ireland began on July 24, 1945.

"The sketch is in excellent condition with no apparent faults. It was gifted by Senator Kennedy to US Representative Michael J Kirwan of Ohio (1886-1970) and is from the collection of John Jovich.

An extremely rare fully provenanced flag of the 1916 Rising, of immense historical importance also forms part of the auction and is selling at between €25,000 and €35,000.

The auction which is online now and ends on May 15 also includes a final copy of the Good Friday Agreement, a wide range of historical documents and artefacts, including 1798 Rebellion pikes, 1916 Rising medals, James Connolly signed book, medals and weapons of the War of Independence, banknotes including rare 'Ploughman' Ten Pounds, entertainment and sporting memorabilia.

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