Living in a Barn


“A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life’s true priorities are clear. When you take a step back, it’s not just about horses — its about love, life, and learning.”
~ Lauren Davis Barker, editor of “Flying Changes”

Most people who know me would say I do live in a barn, and it is true that many of my waking hours at home are spent in the barn — cleaning, feeding, storing away, mulling and just being.  But I have never actually lived in a barn, that is, until today.

Dan and I are spending much of the next week living in a old stone barn built around 1802 in County Down in Northern Ireland, on the old Jones farm where Dan’s great great grandmother Susan Jones Macrory, was born and lived.   Now owned by Jones’ descendants Keith and Elizabeth Smith, Moydalgan Barn has been converted into a cottage that is set in the middle of some of the most beautiful farmland.    I am now sitting in the loft, in a bedroom where hay once was piled high.  Dan is overwhelmed by the emotions of staying on the farm where his Scottish-Irish ancestors were born and lived and walked.

It is the beginning of two weeks of local countryside travels that will take us to landscapes I hope to remember here.

And to remember, anything that is important, anything that means anything, started in a barn.




8 thoughts on “Living in a Barn

  1. A very impressive barn — looks like an estate building — quite different from the original thatched-roof cottages in the South. Looks as if it will last forever. What a wonderful experience to be in the same place where one’s ancestors once lived. Wouldn’t it be cool to borrow a time machine and visit with them for a while?


  2. Such a wonderful blessing. So thankful you’ve been blessed with such a trip. Breathe in the old land, where the earth tells beautiful stories of life, loss, and hope… If you pay attention you might see or hear a bit of the eternal. Ireland is full of thin places… Blessings! Tina


  3. What a wonderful way to start your journey. And yes, it all did start in a barn, in a manager. So wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


  4. My great grandfather was Robert McKittrick Jones and was born at Moydalgan to William and Margaret Jones. We visited the house and Robert’s nephew Robert and Mary Jones in 1967. Mary and her sister put on a high tea for the “American relatives” that was memorable.


  5. Blow me down!! I just went on line to see if I could find out anything about my Northern Ireland Jones forbears’ home, Moydalgan, in County Down, and the meaning of that name, and found this!

    I grew up in St Louis, Missouri, where my grandparents owned a house surrounded by oak, persimmon, Osage orange and other memorable trees. the property had been named “Moydalgan”, after the family home of his father, Robert McKittrick Jones, in County Down, Northern Ireland. My father was Robert McKittrick Jones, II.

    I am currently building an off-grid cottage in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and had been considering referring to it as “Moydalgan”, in yet another iteration, but wanted more information on the name and history.

    It was wonderful to see the posted pictures of the original barn, and to hear from those now living in it!! I was lucky enough to meet the Smiths when they visited several years ago, but had not kept in touch.

    Maybe Keith and Elizabeth will contact me through this site, and maybe my cousin Tim, whose comment I just noticed, will do the same! I would love to hear from them all, so will also try to track them down!


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