Barry was born in Dublin where he met his future wife, Helen, and the pair moved to Manchester together along with Barry's second cousin Johnny Connor for a fresh start. In Manchester, Barry and Helen had three children together - Paul, Liam and Michelle - while Johnny had two children, Aidan and Kate Connor with his wife Louisa Connor.
Unbeknown to everyone else Johnny had secretly fathered another child, Carla, after an affair with a married woman, Sharon. On 18th December 1993, Louisa discovered the truth about Johnny's affair with Carla's mother, Sharon, and was accidentally struck and killed by a car after stepping out into the road without looking as she tried to abandon Johnny. Terrified that Aidan and Kate would learn the truth and blame him for their mother's death Johnny attempted to convince Barry that he should return to Ireland, where he was born and raised, in the hope that he would take his three children and Carla with him, as Carla had begun a serious relationship with Paul Connor and the pair couldn't be separated. As a result of this Barry and Helen decided to return to Ireland but none of their children followed suit. Johnny later moved to another part of Manchester with his children.
In June 2007, Barry and Helen lost their firstborn son Paul in a car accident and decided to have him buried in Ireland near them. In February 2008, Barry and Helen turned up in Weatherfield for the first time to attend the wedding of their second son Liam and his fiancée Maria Sutherland. Later in the same year, Liam was killed in a hit-and-run incident (orchestrated by Tony Gordon after discovering Liam’s affair with his wife Carla). Barry and Helen returned for the funeral, before returning once again to celebrate their wedding anniversary in November.
Barry and Helen continued to make occasional visits to Weatherfield, for the birth of their grandson Liam, but Helen wasn't happy with Maria's relationship with Tony. They came for the anniversary of Liam's death and the christening of Liam junior, where Helen and Barry found out Tony and Maria had got engaged. Tony was later revealed to be behind Liam's murder when he confessed to the police. Barry and Helen returned once more, and Maria decided to move back to Ireland with them for a new life. Tony was sent to prison and ordered to serve a life sentence for the murder of Liam. Maria moved back to Weatherfield in July 2010.
Barry returned to Weatherfield in October 2013 and turned up on daughter Michelle's doorstep, however he wouldn't properly disclose his reason for returning and leaving Helen behind. Shortly after his temporary move to the Rovers with Michelle and Steve McDonald, Barry reluctantly admitted to sleeping with Helen's friend Aoife, and having caught the pair together, Helen had promptly requested a divorce. Michelle took Barry back to Dublin so he could sort things out with her mother, shortly after he had made a pass at Liz McDonald.
In May 2015 Barry returned with Helen for Michelle's wedding to Steve.