Ireland’s loneliest man, the sole resident of the island of Inishfree, leaves to join his family

Barry Pilcher heads home to England after living by himself on the island of Inishfree for 20 years

Barry Pilcher, the lone resident on the island of Inishfree since 1993, has finally decided to head back to his home of England to be nearer to his family.

The Irish Examiner reports on Inishfree’s sole resident leaving the island behind. On Tuesday evening, Pilcher boarded a ferry off the island to begin his journey home back to Dagenham, Essex in England.

Pilcher’s wife Eve, who had returned to England with the couple’s daughter just after a few years on Inishfree, reportedly persuaded the 70 year old man to finally return home. She had arrived at his Inishfree home last week, and returned to England with him in tow.

Pilcher had remained in contact with his wife and daughter using cellphones and his spotty Internet service.

Of his departure, Pilcher said, “There was no pressure. I could have stayed but I have missed my family and I want to be with them. But I am coming back to Inishfree in the summer.”

“There’s a bit of tidying up to do and anyway I know I’ll miss it. It’s a beautiful place, but it is no place for a family.” 

Pilcher didn’t leave Inishfree empty handed. The musician brought home with him “a trolley-load” of saxophones.

“I am bringing them all back with me,” said Pilcher. “I have a tenor sax, a soprano sax, and a sopranino sax. I am also taking my flute and clarinet with me. I am so looking forward to playing music with my wife once more. She is a wonderful cello player.” 

Having moved to Inishfree after being struck by its beauty, Pilcher filled his days by writing poetry, playing his saxophone, or remaining in contact with other European musicians when his Internet service permitted.

Though he’s the sole permanent resident of the island, there are some holiday homes in the picturesque locale. 

“There is no street lighting so you can see the stars at night and things like that,” Pilcher said fondly of Inishfree.