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* Adrienne and Niki MacCarthy outside MacCarthy's Bar with Robin Barnett, the British ambassador to Ireland, who is also pictured below.

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Visit by UK ambassador

UK Ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett, visited MacCarthy’s Bar to learn more about the remarkable wartime story of Dr Aidan MacCarthy.

    ‘It was an important visitor for us,’ said Adrienne MacCarthy. ‘Robin is retiring in September [2020] and he said that because he’s enjoyed Ireland so much, and because he’s a very keen walker, he’ll be back to walk the Beara Way – we said we’ll be able to help him then with routes and so on.’

    Mr Barnett’s visit came about on Saturday, August 22, 2020, as a result of a tour of Cork and Kerry with his businessman friend Paul Smithwick, a director of Smithwick’s Brewery, and founder of Sullivan’s Ale. Mr Barnett was on his first visit to Beara and, evidently, was impressed by the landscape and the people.

    Already having read Bob Jackson’s book, ‘A Doctor’s Sword’ – as well as Pete McCarthy’s 1998 best-seller ‘McCarthy’s Bar’ – Mr Barnett was interested to visit Dr MacCarthy’s birthplace, social distancing observed, of course, under prevailing Covid-19 restrictions.

    Adrienne and Niki MacCarthy presented Mr Barnett with a copy of their father’s own book, ‘A Doctor’s War’, and a copy of the DVD ‘A Doctor’s Sword’, produced by Bob Jackson. Fachtna O’Donovan, of the Beara Historical Society, presented Mr Barnett with a copy of the society’s book, ‘Beara’s Pictorial Past.’

    Before visiting MacCarthy’s Bar, Mr Barnett launched Marc O’Sullivan Vallig’s book, ‘People of the Sea: A Maritime History of Beara’, at the pier in Castletownbere. Mr Barnett was welcomed to the town by Jim O’Sullivan, of Beara Tourism, and Larry Murphy, owner and skipper of local fishing vessel, Menhaden.

    ‘It’s my first time here in Beara, and it’s fantastic,’ said Mr Barnett. ‘I’m learning about the British history in Berehaven, and the real importance of fishing in the area.’

    He became British ambassador to Ireland in August 2016. From 2011, he was British ambassador to Poland, his career previously having concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and multi-lateral diplomacy. He has been posted to Vienna, New York and Bucharest, where he was ambassador. He also served as director of UK Visas and managing director of the Business Group in UK Trade and Investment. He studied law at Birmingham University, and is a great admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson and a supporter of Manchester United.