Like somebody thought up by Sean O'Casey for one of his plays. He is a man of extreme intelligence who is passionately interested in the world around him and the less fortunate ones inhabiting that world. A 'soft touch' and an easy mark for every thirsty Arab in the city of Dublin. Mr. Gravel they call him.
One of the few people capable of carrying a copy of "The Times" into an Irish pub with the title to the front - and he does. His chief interests are politics, literature, singing and the theatre, which last interest has become much more important to him of late.
Acknowledged by many to be the world's greatest banjo player. His bandore accomplishments are legendary and his caustic naivety is the talk of all that know him - who know him would be proper English but our Barney is known by every cat, dog and devil and even by people who don't know him at all.
The only one of the Dubliners who buys all night without drinking anything of what he purchases. Road managers say that he's the hardest one of all to deal with because he simply likes the company of drinking people for its own sake, which is more than drinking people do of themselves. John plays the fiddle and doesn't like people to call it a violin which instrument he has certificates for playing, but there are no tributes for his musical prowess.
'Kieron' the name is pronounced and no wonder many disc jockeys think of him as 'Siren'. The biggest man in the group and with the softest voice. His main handicap is a University education, which has given him something of an inferiority complex he has succeeded in living down very effectively. Tin whistle, guitar, harmonica he plays with equal expertise.