When the current caretakers of Great Blasket Island started looking for someone to take over their duties, they worried that no one might apply. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
There are plenty of tropes about January. The dark mornings, the cold weather, not being able to eat cheese literally all day – it’s a hard life. And coming back to work after the Christmas period can be the hardest part of all.
But we didn’t quite realise just how many people have been feeling the January blues, until a recent job advert to escape the rat race went off-the-charts viral.
Great Blasket Island sits on the most western point of Europe, off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean – and it’s looking for someone to run its coffee shop.
It’s remote – very remote. As in, no wifi, limited electricity, questionable bathing facilities. But what it does have is unparalleled peace and quiet, the freshest of air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and absolutely no angry morning commute.
Only four miles long and half a mile wide, it’s an off-the-grid oasis of wildlife and fauna, with unspoiled mountainous terrain and beautiful views. Essentially, it’s the exact opposite of the view you’ve had every morning this month, of skyscrapers and smog.
Earlier this month on the 10 January, the island announced that it would be looking for two people to come and run both the café and three cottages that act as holiday accommodation for visitors, for the summer season.
Despite being what we would imagine is quite a niche job – you know, considering you’ll be leaving all your family, friends and current line of work to live in seclusion with one other person for six months – the response they’ve had has been overwhelming.
Tweeting this week, the island’s Twitter account said: “We are beyond overwhelmed at the response for the job post. Posting the advert last year, we were concerned we would not find ANYONE. We have received over 23,000 applications.
“If only we could get everyone who applied to stay for one night, we’d be fully booked for..”
Speaking to RTÉ, Alice Hayes and her partner, Billy O’Connor, who worked on the island last summer said that they’ve received applications from all over the world, including Argentina, Finland and Mexico.
“It’s been unbelievable. We were worried we wouldn’t get anyone. We had a lot of interest last week but in the last few days it’s been mad,” they said.
Great Blasket Island is most popular for its boat tours, which provide visitors with a trip across the choppy waters and a walk around the island, where they can sit back at the only café and enjoy the views with a cup of tea and snacks.
As the island’s summer season starts in April, two new people are needed to live on the island from then until October, to run the café and manage the accommodation for guests staying over. The Great Blasket Island twitter account advertised the position, writing: “A unique position required – looking for long term management of Island Accommodation and Coffee Shop. Couple or two friends. 1st April 2020 to October 2020 accommodation and food provided.”
For those who love nature or are craving a more peaceful existence, this sounds like a dream. Sure, it will involve giving up modern comforts and some back-to-basics conditions, but if you need more convincing you could check out the tweets from former temporary resident of the Great Blasket Island, Lesley, at @island_lesley.
“Thank you for all the lovely messages this week. Deciding not to return to the island was one of the toughest ‘grown-up’ decisions we have ever made, but we look forward to visiting the island loads this summer! So delighted with the incredible interest in the role,” she writes, as well as sharing a beautiful written by her partner to describe their time on the island.
The only stipulations for the position seem to be enthusiasm and a decent level of fitness, and we imagine, no aversion to the outdoors. It isn’t clear if applications are still open, but if you want to try and still apply, email Alice at email@example.com.
Images: Great Blasket Island