Ireland (10) 23
Tries: Ronan, Buckley Cons: O'Gara (2) Pens: O'Gara (2)
Barbarians (21) 29
Tries: Rush, G Smith, Heymans Con: James Pens: James (3), Elissalde
Paul Warwick of the Barbarians battles with Ireland's Rob Kearney
An understrength Ireland side fell to defeat by the Barbarians at Thomond Park on the eve of their tour to Australia and New Zealand.
Tries by Xavier Rush and George Smith had the Barbarians in command at 21-3 but Niall Ronan crossed for the Irish in first half stoppage-time.
Cedric Heymans got a third try for the visitors but Tony Buckley replied for Ireland after a short penalty move.
Ireland tried to snatch victory late on but the Barbarians kept them at bay.
The game saw former Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly make his farewell appearance.
The Leinster man turned out for the Barbarians along with Munster's Alan Quinlan and Paul Warwick.
For Ireland coach Declan Kidney, there was much to ponder from this performance as his side depart for Tests against New Zealand and Australia.
Already without Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris and a number of other front-line players, a stomach bug forced Shane Horgan out of the starting line-up.
David Wallace and Jonathan Sexton, who sustained a knock in the warm-up, were also late withdrawals from the replacements bench.
The Barbarians had the territorial dominance early on and Brock James landed two penalties before skipper Ronan O'Gara landed a penalty for the Irish.
James then converted another penalty before the invitational side scored the opening try.
After a scrum in the 22 the lively Pierre Mignoni combined with Rush to send the big New Zealander over.
James missed the conversion and although Barbarians prop David Barnes was then sin-binned for an off-the-ball offence, the tourists increased their lead two minutes before the break.
Rob Kearney did brilliantly to halt a surging run by All Black Casey Laulala , but the second wave allowed Smith to crash over despite Gavin Duffy's best efforts.
James converted, only for Ireland to hit back with a wonderful team try.
Andrew Trimble made the initial incision and Chris Henry and Duffy continued the move before Ronan used a great angle to take O'Gara's inside ball and run in behind the posts for a timely seven-pointer.
A series of substitutions did little for the flow of the second half but Ireland were definitely on the up and O'Gara fired over the second of two penalty attempts.
Just a minute later, though, the Barbarians for their third try as James' looping pass created a two-on-one overlap which saw David Smith pass for Heymans to score in the left corner.
The Baa Baas, content to soak up the Irish pressure, scored another penalty through the retiring Jean-Baptiste Elissalde to make it 29-13.
Ireland prop Buckley fended off three defenders as he bulldozed his way to the try-line after a 60th-minute tap penalty.
O'Gara thumped the touchline conversion over and added a third penalty to get his side in contention.
Ireland: Kearney, J. Murphy, Duffy, McFadden, Trimble, O'Gara, Stringer, Horan, Cronin, Buckley, O'Donoghue, Tuohy, Muldoon, Ronan, Henry.
Replacements: Bowe for Kearney (54), D Wallace for McFadden (40), O'Leary for Stringer (62), Court for Horan (65), Flannery for Cronin (55), M O'Driscoll for O'Donoghue (55), O'Callaghan for Tuohy (55).
Barbarians: Warwick, Heymans, Laulala, Rabeni, D. Smith, James, Mignoni, Barnes, Brits, Johnston, Thion, O'Kelly, Quinlan, G. Smith, Rush.
Replacements: Estebanez for Rabeni (64), Elissalde for B. James (50), Kelleher for Mignoni (50), White for Barnes (46), August for Brits (52), So'oialo for O'Kelly (52), Williams for Rush (62).
Referee: Romain Poite (France)