Ballyeamon Barn – the story so far…
As a storyteller who travels all over the world for work, I always wanted to own a place where people could come to me for workshops and sessions. One cold December day back in 1999, I was driving to work at a school in Cushendall and saw a “for sale” sign outside a cluster of buildings on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
I immediately felt drawn to it and asked about the place when I was in the school. I was told that the small farm had been for sale for ages and people wondered who would want to live in such an isolated location.
I made an appointment to see it the next day and when I stepped into the cottage which is now my home I immediately decided that this was ‘my’ place. I put my house up for sale a couple of days later and it sold within a week. I remember thinking “what have I done?” when I really looked at the derelict farm buildings. But I had a dream.
The immediate problem was telling my then 17 year old daughter. She was not impressed when I told her we were moving from a small village with shops within walking distance to a place in the country. Imagine my surprise though, when we drove into the yard for the first time, and she said “This is where Emma’s granny used to live”! I then remembered back about 8 years when she had moved to a new integrated primary school which served children from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds. Emma became her best friend there. Way back then Clare had told me that when she was bigger she and Emma planned to keep dogs at Emma’s granny’s place. The house had changed hands since Emma’s granny’s time there so I had no idea.
So, in March 2000 my daughter Clare and I and a German Shepherd Dog called Nanci moved into what was to become Ballyeamon Barn. I believe fate had a hand in it.
Later in 2000 I heard about a Camping Barns scheme under which grants were available to convert vernacular buildings for tourism purposes. I applied to the join scheme and in 2001 we opened the hostel part of the barn. In 2008 we added the studio where we hold workshops and sessions and the loft which provides private accommodation for couples or families. Ballyeamon Barn had turned a dream into reality.