The population of the small Donegal island of Inishfree will take a large hit this year when the island’s only permanent resident returns to England.
Barry Edgar Pilcher, age 70, who moved with his wife and daughter to the small island off the Burtonport coast in 1993, believes it’s time for him to leave.
“You have to be tough to live out here,” he said. “I’ll be glad when I can move on in life.”
His island cottage has served as the island’s polling booth as well, though other islanders who voted there maintained their principal residence on the mainland.
Mr. Pilcher writes poetry, plays his saxophone and stays in touch via the internet with his wife, Eve, their daughter, Alice, and others. Eve and Alice returned to London for Alice to pursue her education. He travels by boat to Burtonport once a week or so for supplies.
He said he was returning to the UK because his wife has not been well and he wanted to get together with a brother he had not seen for a while.
Mr. Pilcher told the Irish Independent that he will miss certain aspects of island life.
“It is very magical out here,” he said. “There is no street lighting so you can see the stars at night and things like that.”