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Barrow HousE

An old black & white photo of historic B

Barrow House is a unique

Georgian Manor House,

steeped in history, now held safe as a protected structure,

an Irish Historic Monument proudly elegant 

against the backdrop of the Wild Atlantic, 

on the West coast of Ireland.

The house, built in 1715, has a rich history of ownership from knights

and noblemen and smugglers.

Now fully restored to her

former glory,

Barrow House accommodates guests in a luxurious and elegant style,

with pristine service set in a breath taking location.

For centuries Barrow House has proudly featured as an integral part

of the landscape across Barrow Bay and looking towards the

Slieve Mish Mountains,

while it is worlds apart from the mainstream, it’s only a 5 minute walk to Tralee Golf Course,

a 15 minute drive to Tralee town centre and 30 minutes

to Kerry Airport.

An elder female member of the McCowen family sits outside the front of Barrow House.

An old photo of an elder female member o
Protected property

Barrow House is a protected Irish monument

and is listed in

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

A Landmark property on an Atlantic tidal bay, surrounded by beaches and turquoise sea.

The current version of the house built in 1715 and extended in the late 19th century

and now restored to Georgian elegance.

Various printed ephemera and old photogr

Various printed ephemera and photography from the Barrow House archive.

Barrow House - The Georgian Era

Close by

is the remains of an ancient church

referred to in Papal documents 1302-07 as “Ecclesia of Barun” or the Church of Barun (Barrow).

The lands of Barrow were part of the 6,000 acres granted by Elizabeth 1 in 1587 to Sir Edward Denny

for his loyalty following the Desmond Rebellion.

The heyday of Barrow House was built during the Georgian Era (1714-1830),

however there is evidence that there was a house in this location during or after

the Cromwellian period (1649-57).


Smuggling of wines and tobacco was a feature of  life in Kerry during  the 17th and 18th centuries

in particular and Barrow Harbour was a natural ‘rendezvous' for the smugglers with

it's caves and narrow inlets.

Various printed ephemera and old photos

Various printed ephemera and old photos from the Barrow House archive.

The famous Georgian front elevation of Barrow House can be seen from far across the bay,

and was added as part of the structural rebuild and the enlarging of Barrow House

somewhere between 1715 - 1760, with a second sympathetic addition to the rear in the late 1800’s.


The house remains much the same to this day, with 4 feet thick internal walls still visible,

two gable end chimney stacks, historic interior design features, hand made ceiling mouldings and sash windows

with antique glass all act as signals to noble dwelling with typically restrained and rational elegance

Documents show that the house and the estate were passed on through marriage or by sale to owners

such as  the notorious “Smuggler” John Collis, the Caledonian merchant families of McCowen

and onwards into the 1900's to the last Irish Royal family - The Fitzgerald’s - The Knights of Kerry,

who affectionately referred to Barrow House as their “Summerhouse”.

An image showing photos from the McCowen

A page from one of the McCowen family photo albums at Barrow House.

The property was eventually sold to Nell Griffith, a relative

of the Ferris family,

a long standing Kerry name,  many of whom continue to live in the region to this day.

In more recent years, a flamboyant American woman

Maureen Erde, nostalgic for her childhood holidays in Ireland, kept Barrow House as

a golfers guesthouse

and before retiring in 1999 published her popular account of restoring and running the house entitled

“Help me, I’m an Irish Inn Keeper”

A vintage ariel photograph of Barrow Hou

A vintage aerial photograph of Barrow House

Barrow House has featured in movies and novels,

she is the subject

of whispered ghost stories and has appeared in the

headlines of the Irish newspapers for several generations.

It was within these walls

that infamous smuggling

and shipwrecking

and tunnelling plans were hatched, and so it continues…

even in the recent history Barrow House was the centre of

a smuggling scandal

that put the house back in the news once again.

An image showing old newspaper headlines

Various vintage newspaper headlines and photos from the McCowen family archive.

She has been squatted in, repossessed by the banks and slowly allowed to fade

but after a sad period of neglect, Barrow's ghosts have been placated, the original features restored.

And now, this Grande Dame, this jewel in Kerry’s crown has resumed her rightful place dazzling guests.

Once more providing

seclusion for travellers

and welcoming the

pursuers of seclusion,

relaxation and luxurious comforts.

There are fascinating stories told about Barrow House and her infamous owners

throughout the centuries, ranging from the Cromwell era Denny family

through to tobacco smugglers and the Knights of Kerry

and a few opportunists in between.


Ireland’s history is often told by word of mouth

and the locals in the area will always have a story to tell,

perhaps when you visit, you'll hear the one about how a young local girl whilst working as a maid

at Barrow House “borrowed” a resident Lady’s dress and jewels to go to a local Ceili,

much to the delight of the crowd as she arrived by

bicycle waving regally.

An image showing various printed ephemer

Various printed ephemera and photos from the McCowen family archive.

Our guests today still sense the connection of history

and glamour of the house,

forever rooted to this land and this special place.

You can learn more about the important role Barrow House played

in the most fascinating era of Irish history, deep within

in the Kingdom of Kerry

– come stay awhile

and see what you uncover.

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