My World at Home: Daragh McDonagh’s Co Kerry Home

See inside Daragh McDonogh’s classic and elegant BARROW HOUSE

Daragh McDonogh

Name: Daragh McDonogh Address: Barrow House, Co Kerry Home: A Georgian property and boutique hotel set on three acres with eight bedrooms The vibe: Comfortable

I bought Barrow House at an auction before seeing it so it was like a surprisingly successful arranged marriage or blind date. Having sold my property in London, I moved back to Kerry to begin the renovations in 2017. Loosely based on Soho House my aim is to create an immersive and intimate guest experience. I have no formal interiors training, though I have strong opinions on what I like. My grandmother, mother and sister all have great taste and being in their homes was formative. My career in photography and video production also helped, as I am very visual. Every part of my décor has been funded by a very ordinary salary and the embers of my savings, spent on ebay, Donedeal and in small antiques shops in Tralee. I spend ridiculous amounts of time on The, sourcing rare finds I’ve brought from Europe and beyond. Much of my art collection was given to me by friends like Louise Nolan, whose emotive pieces take pride of place alongside an extraordinary oil by emerging artist Amanda Watson. Currently I’m in the process of renovating The Coach House – a small one-bedroom property on the grounds which I want to use as a hideaway and study. I’ve inherited a clunky spiral staircase, a tricky bathroom and a functional but boring kitchen. I can’t yet afford to throw any of this out, so I’ll have to be creative. My London life is far from over. One of my great friends, former war correspondent and documentary filmmaker, Sue Turton, owns a two-storey Dutch houseboat moored in Kew and she very kindly keeps a berth for me. I can’t think of a more interesting place to call a home-from-home. Running Barrow House as a boutique hotel and niche wedding venue in season [March – December] I’m always intrigued by guests’ stories. If there is a lull in the conversation over our shared breakfast table, I always ask how guests met their partners. It draws out even the most taciturn. I’ve learned love really does conquer all.

Above the fireplace, Ogham ceramics by local artist Brian Fitzgerald.


The Blue Library, provides a quiet place to check emails. Artwork by Tim Flach.


Doris – one of two rescue dogs named after former owners of the property.

The “Egret” guest room has mountain and sea views from bay windows.


Family antiques, Colefax and Fowler fabrics, an imported marble fireplace and auction finds all come together to create a sense of tranquility in the Ladies Lounge.


Birdwatchers flock to see the annual migrations and regular seabird visitors. Herons and egrets return annually to Barrow Bay.


Barrow House overlooks two acres of protected beachfront; the steps to the kayak pontoon have views of the Slieve Mish mountains and the Dingle peninsula.

Penny McCormick

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