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'Loneliest' man's new life in suburbia 16.08.13

MUSICIAN Barry Edgar Pilcher – once dubbed Ireland’s loneliest man - has put the remote Co Donegal island house he called home for 20 years on the market.
The saxophonist who was the sole permanent resident of Inishfree island off the Burtonport coast, has put his ramshackle 'Raven Cottage' up for sale. The seventy-year old artist moved back to Essex, England, five months ago and has since been adapting to his new life in suburbia.
Saxophonist Barry Pilcher enjoying his new life in Dagenham, Essex, with wife Eve.
He is also writing a book about life on the island, off Burtonport, where he devoted most of his time to composing music and writing poetry since moving there in 1993.
"Life is really good at the moment. I've been so busy I haven't had time to miss the island. When you’ve been on your own for so long, you appreciate people even more than before," he said.
"It’s really nice being with my wife and daughter after being apart for such a long time. I also like the nearby shops, the hot running water and the steady internet connection.
"After the quietness, I am fascinated by the city noises too - like the Tube in London -I sort of hear the music in it."
While many his age are winding down, it seems life is just beginning for Barry whose story of splendid isolation was picked up worldwide. He has found himself in demand as a saxophonist across Europe and recently played a number of guest gigs in Belgium and Germany.
"I was essentially putting a body of work together all the years I lived alone on Inishfree and I am now trying to put it out there. I am also writing a book about the island - a collection of poems, stories and photographs,” he added.
Barry and wife Eve (70) are now planning a private sale of their property on Inishfree. The couple, who have one daughter Alice, are on the island this week to clear out the rest of Barry's belongings. Given the stagnant market and the cottage’s rareness however, they have yet to settle on an asking price. The property, the island’s former post office, has a number of unique features including a one-acre garden leading onto the beach and a living room with a sleeping platform. It has an adjoining barn, a conservatory and several other rooms including one formerly used by islanders to cast their ballots. They also plan to sell sites on a separate nine-acre seaside plot and two-acre inland plot they own on the island which is a square-mile in size and accessible only by boat. Meanwhile, Eve admits that their living arrangement for the past two decades - where they spent only three weeks of the year together - "was definitely unique". She said Barry’s return to their rented semi in Dagenham has been "challenging on every level". "I am finally realising what a relationship really is but so far so good. It's lovely having him back," she beamed. Potential buyers can contact Barry through his Facebook page.
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