Commodore Barry biographer earns salute
Members of the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn were on hand at a recent gala dinner at historic Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan as writer Tim McGrath was honored for his literary contributions to naval history.
McGrath, who wrote the “John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail,” was the guest of honor at the dinner co-sponsored by the Naval Historical Foundation and the National Maritime Museum.
McGrath is also the author of “Give Me a Fast Ship,” an account of the early years of the American Navy.
The dinner event marked the establishment of an annual Commodore Barry Book Award.
Fraunces Tavern is one of New York City’s most historic landmarks. It is the spot where George Washington bade farewell to his troops at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Barry is considered to be the father of the U.S. Navy, according to UShistory.org. He was born in Wessex, Ireland, and immigrated to North America as a young boy. The Continental Congress and George Washington appointed him the first commissioned officer in the American Navy. He fought many sea battles for his adopted country. After the war, he continued building the navy.
The awards dinner was just one item on a busy agenda for the Commodore Barry Club and its members, many of whom live in Bay Ridge. The club’s president is Mary Nolan, a longtime Irish-American community leader in Bay Ridge.
The club took part in the dedication of a Barry memorial at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in May and members will commemorate the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug. 24. The ceremony will take place at the main gate of the Green-Wood Cemetery on Fifth Avenue and 25th Street at noon.
The club will also commemorate Irish Heritage Trail and Irish Patriots Day at the Green-Wood Cemetery on Sept. 6. The day will begin with a mass in the cemetery’s chapel. Also on that day, the Brooklyn Irish-American Parade Committee, which sponsors the annual St. Patrick’s parade in Park Slope, will honor Ed Cush, organizer of the Kings County Memorial Day Parade.
Following the ceremony, Barry Club members will visit Irish-American memorials in the cemetery.
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