Commodore Jack Barry


One eve as day was dying, and sinking in the night
With the British emblem flying, the Sibyl came in sight
The English captain hailed us as he down upon us bore
And proudly answered Barry, our brave old Commodore.

‘This is the ship, Alliance, from Philadelphia town
She proudly bids defiance to England’s King and crown
As captain of the deck I stand, to guard her banner true
Half-Yankee and half-Irishman, what tyrant’s slave are you’

Then with the voice of thunder, our guns began the fight
Though battling against number and the foeman’s fleet in sight
For the Hudson and the Shannon against the minions of the crown
We fought them till our cannon brought the British ensign down

Says the Commodore: ‘We’ll take her from before their very eyes
With another broadside rake her, and we’ll carry off the prize’
Then our round shot went careening through their rigging and their spars
And our crew began a cheering for the Yankee stripes and stars

And streaming on the breeze aloft, it waved in all its pride
Above the foeman’s captured craft now sailing by our side
Oh, how our gallant seamen cheered just as the sun went down
And our good vessel, homeward steered for Philadelphia town

Wexford 1

Songs of Wexford


Generally credited as ‘Father of the American Navy’, Commodore John Barry (March 25, 1745 – September 13, 1803) was an officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War and later in the United States Navy. After the war, he became America’s first commissioned naval officer at the rank of Commodore, receiving his commission from President George Washington in 1797. During his career, Barry commanded United States ships Delaware, Lexington, Raleigh, and Alliance, with which he won the final naval battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783.

From Tacumshane, County Wexford, the Barry family was forced by Penal Laws to emigrate to America. A deeply religious man, he bore throughout his life, a deep hatred of British tyranny.