Prominent doctor’s equine escape

The home of retired physician Prof Austin Darragh on the Hill of Tara comes with a heated swimming pool in the garden, a stable yard, a sand arena and 12 acres of land

Lord Powerscourt built Tara Beg, on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath in the 1960s, to be nearer to his daughter who had married Sir Hercules Langrishe.

"It was built with high ceilings, because he had to hang all his portraits," says Anna Darragh, who now owns Tara Beg with her husband, Prof Austin Darragh.

Darragh helped to found the Irish Cancer Society, and was, for years, the radio doctor on the Gay Byrne show. His son was the late Irish show jumper, Paul Darragh.

“It also has lovely Georgian-type windows, and it’s the ideal spot for horses. I’m a country person, and I keep horses and sell them, so when Austin said ‘where would you like to live?’, this was the place. There’s something very peaceful about it.”


The four-bedroom house, which sits on just over 12 acres, and has its own outdoor heated swimming pool, stable yard with eight loose boxes, horse walker and sand arena, is for sale at €975,000 with REA TE Potterton.

“Austin extended it,” says Anna. “It was a small enough place then, though there was a very big diningroom.” One of his additions was a large drawing room, and “the parties there have been wonderful. He has a lot of musical friends, and he can recite anything from memory, and sing.”

Three of the four bedrooms are en-suite, and the house is a very nice mix of formal, and more relaxed rooms. Darragh had the library timbered in mahogany, and there’s a big open fire, so it has been the perfect study and concentration spot.

“He has so many books, and his papers spread about the place. I’m not a very formal person,” Anna adds, “and I love to cook. Although I’m not musical, Austin always says that I ‘play’ the Aga.

“So the kitchen is my favourite room, or maybe the garden.” The gardens are laid out in patios, lawns and beds, with the pool area being completely secluded.

The Darraghs are downsizing, but staying in the area. “You’re close to everything and yet feel far away. There’s a good butcher, fish shop, supermarket. There’s a good blacksmith.”

As a further 14.5 acres with stabling could also be made available by separate negotiation, across the road, this last is important.

Co Meath is some of Ireland’s most perfect horse country, which the Darraghs have made the most of during their years at Tara Beg.