Great Blasket: the Irish island is looking for a partner to become summer caretakers


(CNN) – If your love turns to you tonight and whispers “will we try a small one?”, Do not dismiss them immediately.

It could be that they are talking about an Irish island.

Great Blasket, on the Atlantic periphery of Europe, is looking for a partner to become summer caretakers and sole full-time residents of this unoccupied island off the west coast of Ireland.

While you’re not a fan of electricity or hot water, you’ll embrace the majestic 1,100 acres (4 1/2 square kilometers) of Emerald Island as your domain.

In addition to the sublime views, the generous rain maintains the lush landscape and the strong Atlantic breezes feed the wind turbine that generates enough electricity to charge your phone.

The roles, suitable for a couple or two friends, involve the administration of the island’s cafeteria and three vacation homes from April to October of this year. Accommodation and food are provided and wages are discussed in the application.

Candidates must be aware that they will face stiff competition.

“We had about 7,000 applications,” Alice Hayes told CNN Travel on January 16, after posting the job vacancy online just six days before.

Hayes and his partner, Billy O’Connor, live on the nearby Dingle Peninsula and O’Connor takes regular boat trips to the island in summer.

Together, the couple renewed the island huts, one of which housed the legendary storyteller Peig Sayers, whose autobiography in the Irish language “Peig”, published in 1936, has been a standard text for generations of Irish students.

Sayers had “a very hard and difficult life on the island,” says Hayes, and his famous gloomy book documented “the difficulties he went through.”

The caretakers of the island in 2019 were Lesley Kehoe and Gordon Bond. Like Sayers, they shared their experiences of Great Blasket with the world, although their Instagram and Twitter accounts presented a more optimistic view of Atlantic life.

However, Kehoe tells CNN Travel, aspiring caregivers should take note: “What you see on social media is not what it is about.”

While she was posting “pictures of bonfires, fields and sunsets,” what you didn’t see is Kehoe “running around the cabins making beds” or “queues coming out of the cafeteria.”

“You can easily forget that it receives up to 400 visitors per day,” he adds. “You can be incredibly busy.”

As for the life outside the network, Kehoe says that while you can use your cabin teapot to boil water for showers, after a few days he armed himself with courage and got used to a cold shower.

Start your morning like that, he says, and “at least you know it’s the coldest you’ll be that day.”

Water is fed by an island spring and pure water and fresh air have their benefits. “My skin, my hair, my overall health was incredible,” says Kehoe.

There is no electricity or Wi-Fi on the island, but, surprisingly, mobile Internet reception is excellent, thanks to a mast a few kilometers away on the mainland.

Of those 7,000, and counting, the requests that Hayes and O’Connor are analyzing, there will undoubtedly be a lot of people with a romantic vision of what the job entails.

However, Kehoe says that those who know they are the person for the task will have the “instinct” that they are a Blasket Islander waiting.

She says she and Bond couldn’t return this year “for practical reasons,” but “if we could do it again, we would do it.”

The experience has not only been powerful for her and her partner, but they have also become friends for life with Hayes and O’Connor. She and Bond are now back in Kildare, near Dublin, but they plan many repeated visits.

While there are those who criticize the “commercialization” of Great Blasket and its neighboring Blasket Islands, Kehoe believes that the global attention the island is receiving is ultimately beneficial.

“I think that the work that Billy and Alice do to keep the island alive is much more important than leaving it out there fossilizing. If that were so [industry] it wasn’t there, it would just be ruins. ”

For more information on Great Blasket Boat Tours, island accommodation and trips to Blasket Island, visit



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