The place name Barry Island is believed to be derived from Baruc’s Island, and refers to St Baruc’s tragic story.
Saint Baruc was a 6th century Celtic saint and disciple of Saint Cadoc who founded a monastery at Llancarfan, about 7 miles away. The remains of a chapel dedicated to him on Barry Island is estimated to have been built at the beginning of the 8th century. It is thought that the building survived, with alterations, until the 17th century when it was buried by sand. Then in 1894 and 1895 excavation work on the Island not only uncovered the remains of the church, but also a holy well and mass grave. Why would several thousand bodies have been buried here when the island never contained more than two inhabited houses? St Baruc’s church was a place of pilgrimage and as a holy island, bodies were brought here for internment.
Once a year, on St Baruc’s Feast Day 27th September, a service is held here in the ruins of the ancient chapel.
Barry has a busy programme of annual events ranging from open-air cinema, triathlons, Gwyl Fach y Fro and artist-led events.