Barnahown Opens Its Doors In Mitchelstown

By Robert McHugh
Barnahown Opens Its Doors In Mitchelstown

Barnahown, a new low-impact four-bedroom Irish guesthouse near Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, has opened its doors, offering Galtee Mountain views and a wellness experience.

The renovated nineteenth-century farmhouse provides a base from which to explore the Munster Vales region, which is home to the Galtees – Ireland’s highest inland mountain range and one the country’s most diverse hiking landscapes, with almost 30 kilometres of picturesque walking trails to explore.

‘Well-Trodden Path’

“I would like guests staying here to experience the best of a true B&B: meeting the owner on arrival and sharing the story of the place with them, putting together bespoke itineraries for each individual based on their interests and my love of the local area, and wrapping up each day with specially curated food and drinks from my favourite local suppliers,” said Ciara O’Brien, the owner of Barnahown.

“Exploring new and less-visited areas can sometimes be a challenge, without the ‘well-trodden path’ to follow, so my goal is to help guests have a truly one-off experience, and do it in a low-impact way, that benefits the natural environment and the local community.”

Local Community

O’Brien is a Mitchelstown native who, after 20 years of working at home and abroad for large multinationals, left her most recent role with Google in 2023, to begin the renovation of a nineteenth-century farmhouse in her hometown and launch her own business venture.


The corporate world provided O’Brien with many opportunities, but she wanted to feel more immersed in her own local community versus spending her days “stuck behind a desk on endless Zoom calls, talking to a network of virtual colleagues.”


O’Brien made a commitment to herself to adopt a change of career and lifestyle that enabled her to move every day, spending an hour outside in the fresh air and sunlight, and eating what she could grow herself.

This framework and the new-found freedom to design her own life is what inspired her to open her own guesthouse.

Energy Efficiency

Barnahown is powered by photovoltaic (PV) panels and insulated to an A-rated level of energy efficiency.

The establishment of wildlife-friendly hedging on site and the chemical-free growing of produce in its kitchen garden lessen its impact on the environment.


Mindful water usage, the avoidance of single-use packaging, on-site composting, and the minimisation of food waste are other key areas to which O’Brien pays close attention.

Luxury Adventures

Through Barnahown’s bespoke concierge service, O’Brien – an outdoor enthusiast who can count summiting Kilimanjaro among her many accomplishments – enables solo travellers and groups to book and enjoy a number of diverse daily excursions.

These include the likes of forest bathing, Ballyhoura mountain biking, tours of Mitchelstown Cave, River Blackwater fishing and River Suir kayaking.


Those wanting to fully immerse themselves in the local food culture can begin their stay in style, upon check-in, by enjoying the curated Cork Shore to Galtee Mór tasting platter, which includes either a glass of Irish bubbly, in the form of Killahora Orchards’ Fine Perry – a favourite of O’Brien’s – or a craft beer from Mitchelstown’s own Eight Degrees Brewing.

“I’m really proud of the work we have done to bring Barnahown back to life, and I’m looking forward to helping guests discover the unique features and workmanship of this special house,” said O’Brien.