Bairéad, Tomás (1893–1973), short-story writer and journalist, was born 7 July 1893 in Baile Dóite, Moycullen, Co. Galway, one of two sons and two daughters of Michael Barrett, farmer, and Mary (Mary Frank) Barrett (née McDonough), both of Moycullen, and received his only formal schooling at national school in Moycullen. Involved in the republican movement throughout his life, he joined the Irish Volunteers (1913) and was a member of the IRB, initiating several people in his locality into the organisation. In the course of his republican activities he developed an Irish-language shorthand that enabled him (1918) to get a job as a reporter on the Sinn Féin-owned Galway Express newspaper which had its office in Eyre Square, Galway. In 1922 he moved to the Irish Independent in Dublin, where he worked for twenty-six years. He travelled the country as a reporter for twenty-three years and was the first reporter to receive a press statement from Éamon de Valera (qv) on the founding of Fianna Fáil (May 1926). He worked as the Independent's Irish editor for three years before resigning in 1948.
In 1936 he published Cumhact na cinniúna, his first collection of short stories, and went on to publish several more collections including An geall a briseadh (1938), Cruitneacht agus ceannabhán (1940), Ór na h-aitinne (1949), and Dán (1973), becoming one of the most important, if underrated, short–story writers in Irish. A noted Irish scholar and folklorist, he moved back from Dublin to Moycullen in 1948 and continued to write in a typically pointed style. In 1972 he published Gan baisteadh, containing autobiographical recollections, and in 1973 As an ngeibheann, a collection of letters written to him by Máirtín Ó Cadhain (qv) during the latter's imprisonment in the Curragh in 1939–44, which he prefaced with an essay on their friendship. He died in Galway 26 October 1973.
He married (1931) Ellen (‘Nellie’) Mara in London; they had two daughters.