Barry, Anthony (‘Tony’) (1901–83), merchant and politician, was born 7 June 1901 in Cork, eldest among eleven children of James J. Barry, tea and wine merchant of Ballyhooly, Co. Cork, and Annie Barry (née Ryan; d. February 1950). The family lived at ‘Lansdowne’, St Patrick's Hill, Cork city. Educated at the North Monastery School, Cork, he joined the family business before serving with the national army during the civil war, reaching the rank of captain. He became managing director (February 1932–1959) of Barry & Co., tea merchants, on the death of his father. Establishing a reputation as one of the foremost tea tasters in these islands, he was responsible for Barry & Co. winning the Empire Cup in London (1934). A pioneer of blended tea in Ireland, he was chairman of the Cork Grocery Trade Organisation for many years.
Barry was election agent (September 1927–1944) for W. T. Cosgrave (qv) in the Cork Borough constituency. After serving in the LDF during the 1939–45 emergency, he was director of elections for T. F. O'Higgins (qv) in the same constituency (1948, 1951), was himself elected a TD for Cork Borough (May 1954), and though defeated in 1957 was elected a senator (1957–61) before regaining his dáil seat (1961). He failed to secure reelection to the dáil in 1965. A member of Cork corporation and lord mayor of Cork (1961–2), he retired from local politics in 1967.
Regarding himself as the inheritor of the old Sinn Féin tradition, Barry supported Liam Cosgrave against James Dillon (qv) in the 1959 leadership contest and was surprised at the support for Dillon among the longest-serving Fine Gael deputies, including Seán Mac Eoin (qv). One of the chief architects of Fine Gael's revival, he described the party as ‘slightly left of centre’ in March 1963 (Maye, Fine Gael).
A member of the Cork City Library Committee for forty-seven years (chairman 1951–74), and the City of Cork VEC for twenty-five years, he was president of the Cork Coursing Club and the Cork Constitution RFC. A keen photographer (a selection of his photographs of Cork city was published in No lovelier city (1995)) and a patron of the Cork Orchestral Society, he was a member of the Cork Arts Society. William Beamish, of the long established Cork family, was one of his close friends. He died 23 October 1983 in Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, after a short illness.
Barry marrried (September 1925) Rita (d. 2 January 1970), daughter of James Costelloe, jeweller, of Cashel, Co. Tipperary. They had six children, including Peter Barry, (government minister 1973–77, 1981–2, 1982–7); James Barry, MRIAI; Tony Barry, chairman of Cement Roadstone Holdings; and Terry Kelly, chairperson of the Crafts Council and mayor of Limerick (1983). The family lived at 11 York Terrace and later 4 Cleeve Hill, Blackrock, Co. Cork.