"Bothar Bui, my favourite place in the world.
12 years back, staying near Glengarriff with friends, visiting Sarah’s lovely gallery in Castletownbere one day, I had the great fortune to spot a small A4 piece of paper, advertising the amazing fact that Bothar Bui – Sarah’s childhood summer home, built by her distinguished architect father- was now available to rent.
Within a few weeks of my return to Dublin, I got in touch, made arrangements and booked some friends in for the following August. Thus began one of the most rewarding relationships of my life, with any place.
I’ve been to Bothar Bui seven times since in total. Its unique charms are not the type that fade. The traditional whitewashed cottage that serves as the kitchen, with its timber table and open fire; the old iron kettles as flowerpots on slate steps outside, paintings, fine art prints and old books, wild flowers everywhere, the enormous studio, with vast, battered sofas you can get lost on, and that huge table, with windows looking out over the oak woods below, down to the inlet, across to the Iveragh peninsula and out again, to the Atlantic beyond. Even sunken baths, with the same views, and snug comfortable beds.
Too many memories to relate also, barbecuing monkfish on a griddle out on the little terrace beyond the kitchen, epic dinners in the giant studio above, meals with family and friends, walks over Hungry Hill, swimming off Garnish pier, boat trips past fat, sunbathing seals out to the Italian gardens on Garnish island, the hair-raising trip by cable car to Dursey island, whiskeys around a turf fire.
Beara peninsula is the last, great, undiscovered paradise in Ireland, perhaps in Europe, a place of magic and myth and history in the landscape. And Bothar Bui is the most perfect house on it."