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Meet Donegal Relocator Tom Barker

As remote and hybrid work become more of a permanent reality, replacing once traditional commutes and hours spent in dreary offices, many who endured the Covid lockdowns confined to work in their urban apartments have since begun desiring something… more. A bit more space, perhaps, to create a healthy separation between ‘work home’ and ‘life home’. Or maybe a more inspiring view from the desk: a distant mountain or a rolling green field. Or perhaps even the chance to swap those stressful lunch hour queues of old for an hour’s stroll along the beach, to breathe the fresh air, stop by a coffee truck, and return for the afternoon feeling truly reset.  

LinkedIn Senior Account Executive Tom Barker is one of those. At just 36, he’s traded the stressful, expensive London life for remote working amongst the Donegal mountains, beaches, people, and way of life. The big move has seen his work productivity soar – as well as his social life – establishing deep friendships and cementing himself as one of the key players for Donegal Town RFC. 

With a partner from Inver, he says it was practically a no-brainer to relocate after spending six months in a farmhouse here in 2020. An avid surfer, hiker and rugby player, having the Wild Atlantic Way on his doorstep makes for the perfect balance to the demands of his remote job. 

Tom, what are your favourite places in Donegal? 

This is a tough one but my top three would be:

Rossnowlagh Beach - In the summer last year I went for a 6am surf in the morning and watched the sun rise over the beach. I then headed back out after work and watched the sun set over Slieve League. It’s one of my favourite memories of living here.

The Holmes - It was voted as the most picturesque rugby pitch in all of Ireland. I spend a huge amount of time here, have made some friends for life, and I’ve had some incredible moments after playing matches.

Inver Village - We spend a lot of time here as a family, whether having a roast on a Sunday with my in-laws, hanging about with the kids, collecting turf from the bog, or just helping out Seamus and Sean on the farm. It’s a great place to be and full of the best type of people.

Favourite local businesses?

Kitty Joe's Mountcharles. 

The Forge Donegal Town.

The Craft Village Donegal Town

What’s something you can find in Donegal that you can’t find anywhere else? 

It has to be people, they’re a rare breed that will always try and help you out or at the least put a smile on your face.

Best thing about being a Donegal local?

It has to be the land. The most beautiful mountains and beaches are so easily accessible.

What would you say are the top 5 most important things in deciding where to live?

1. Distance to a decent sized town.

2. Decent schools in the area you want to live.

3. There is stuff to do that you like.

4. Spend some time visiting there first.

5. Find others that have done it and get some advice

What advice would you give to someone curious about moving to Donegal? 

Do it! Book a couple of stays around the county, meet people, go out and do the things you would do if you were to live here permanently. The world of life and work has changed for the better, you don’t have to be in the city anymore. Wide open spaces with loads of green and blue are readily available and, out here, the people are class! 

You can find Tom on LinkedIn @TomBarker.

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