by John Gavin Nolan
According to official military records, many of his assertions conformed with his dates of service and might conceivably have been true, but the coloration was lurid — listed officially as killed, rode with General Allenby, and so on — and the medical history does not stand up to scrutiny. Whether gas-poisoned and severely shell-shocked or not — and here one questions how such a patient could be released after a brief hospitalization — he did not return to France after his medical evacuation in August 1918, but returned to duty 4 November 1918 at a military hospital in Norwith, England. Moreover, he was transferred to Aldershot 20 November 1918, so his hovering between life and death on 11 November, when the world was celebrating the Armistice, was at least on full active duty.
Monsignor Barry-Doyle was baptized Richard Doyle in Eardowns, Ladys Island parish, County Wexford, about 1871. Since no biography exists, what is known of his life thereafter is based on a patchwork of news clippings51 published during his lecture tours in the United States between 1923 and 1925 and from personal research in Ireland and England in the summer of 1976.
When Monsignor Barry-Doyle first met Bishop Calavassy, he was no stranger to America. As a teenager, he had lived for several years with his mother and two sisters in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he worked as a clerk in a dry goods store. The family returned to Ireland because of his poor health, he said, and he studied for the priesthood, first at St. Peters College, Wexford, then at St. Johns College, Waterford.52 He was ordained for the Diocese of Ferns, in Waterford, as Richard Doyle in June 1894. The 1901 Irish Catholic Directory and Almanac first mentioned Richard Doyle as a curate in Newtonberry, a village near Wexford.53 The 1904 Directory had him transferred to Adamstown, also as Richard Doyle, where he was stationed until 1908.54 After that year, his name disappeared from the Irish Directory altogether; we now know that in 1908 he left Ireland and went to England. To resign a curacy in Ireland was most extraordinary.55 Father Barry-Doyle did so, he said, because he had a small personal income and preferred to labor outside his native diocese.56 A lame excuse, he later said; the truth was that it would have killed him if he had to go back to Ireland to work.