BBC chat show king Graham Norton has sent the clearest signal yet that he views his long-term future as being in his beloved west Cork.
But the affable presenter has repeatedly warned that while his heart may dwell in idyllic Ahakista, his career remains firmly rooted in London, at least for the immediate future.
The 59-year-old chose Bantry and Ahakista for a private party last weekend to mark the blessing of his marriage to his partner.
More than 120 guests attended amid tight security as the star, who is renowned for zealously guarding his privacy, celebrated – with special marquees erected at his home, outside caterers hired in and entertainment provided by Lulu and a Riverdance troupe.
Bantry House was booked out for the special party.
The presenter – who is reputed to be worth €30m thanks to the success of his TV and radio shows as well as his hit novels – has made no secret of how important west Cork is to him.
He opted to broadcast his popular Virgin Radio show from C103FM’s west Cork studios earlier this month.
Norton is also an ardent supporter of local events, ranging from the West Cork Literary Festival to the Fastnet Film event.
The Bandon-born star is also a regular supporter of ceremonies at his old alma mater, the 380-year-old Bandon Grammar School.
He has a riverside walk named in his honour in Bandon and has even been a staunch backer of local charity campaigns, ranging from appeals in aid of Bantry General Hospital through to Cork intensive care units.
Tickets for his annual table quiz at Ahakista Summer Festival sell out in minutes.
Even his bestselling novel Holding, set in the fictional Irish village of Dunkeen, was filmed on location in Drimoleague and Castletownshend last year for ITV.
During his west Cork breaks, he is a customer of local cafes, restaurants and bars – including his beloved ‘local’, Arundel’s in Ahakista.
A keen oenophile, Mr Norton even uses west Cork parties and gatherings to trial his hugely successful range of branded wines from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Italy.
For many, the Bandon native now ranks as a true west Cork treasure.
Amongsthe star’s many fans is the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton.
Dr Colton has known the broadcaster for more than 40 years, dating to their university days.
He once joked that, in the space of just 48 hours, he shared a selfie with the Archbishop of Canterbury and then a stage with Graham Norton.
Dr Colton – who famously celebrated the marriage of David and Victoria Beckham in Ireland in 1999 – said the key to the BBC star’s success wasn’t just broadcast talent but genuine likeability and kindness.
“You certainly pull a crowd – not because you’re famous, but because people genuinely like you. That is true in a special way for us here in Cork,” he said.
Yet, despite his love of west Cork, Norton has admitted his successful career means London will be his base for the foreseeable future.
“I like my job as it is. I love the show and the way people have supported it. So I don’t think I will be coming back here (Ireland) to work permanently,” he said.
“I spent a lot of the summer here (west Cork) and, when I eventually retire, I will definitely spend a lot more time here.”
One C103FM source, who asked to remain unnamed, said it was clear the star loved being able to work from Cork.
“Graham is not only a great broadcaster but a really lovely person,” they said. “He is a total pro and an absolute gentleman to deal with. You also get the impression that he loves being in west Cork and is very relaxed working from here.”
Norton is not alone in recognising the benefit of a relaxed west Cork lifestyle. Other stars who have called west Cork home include actor Jeremy Irons acclaimed film producer David Puttnam and director Neil Jordan.
Bandon Grammar School principal Ian Coombes once said Norton, then called Graham Walker, was born to entertain – yet, despite all his success, he never forgot his Cork roots.