Hundreds apply to work on remote Irish island
January 15 2020 12:51 AM
Irish island
Visitors walk by the remains of a village on Great Blasket. Caretaker jobs on the island include free accommodation and food and spectacular views of Ireland’s most westerly point.

By Rory Carroll/Guardian News & Media

If a demanding job on a tiny island with no electricity, Wi-Fi or hot showers but lots of wind sounds tempting, join the queue.
An advert for two caretakers to manage accommodation and a cafe on Great Blasket island, a speck off Ireland’s Atlantic coast, has drawn queries from Alaska to South Africa.
The jobs, which run from April 1 to October 1 this year, include free accommodation and food, and spectacular views off Ireland’s most westerly point.
“It’s intense and tough but it’s a very unique position,” Alice Hayes, who placed the ad, told RTE yesterday. “It’s back to basics – fires, candles, stoves, wildlife and nature.”
The ideal candidates must get on well – the job would suit two friends or a couple – and be fit, personable and chatty, she said. “No day is ever the same.”
The caretakers are tasked with running three cottages that accommodate up to 21 people and serving tea, coffee and snacks to visitors.
Water is boiled in whistling kettles on gas hobs.
A small wind turbine generates enough electricity to charge a phone.
“So you are not completely cut off,” said Hayes.
She did not disclose the wages.
Great Blasket is part of the Blasket islands, the others being Beginish,
Inishabro, Inishvickillane, Inishtooskert, and Tearaght, off the coast of Kerry.
Close-knit communities of Irish speakers eked a living for centuries through farming, fishing and weaving.
Emigration shrivelled the population and in 1953 the government evacuated the last full-time residents.
Last year’s caretakers were Lesley Kehoe and Gordon Bond, a couple who quit jobs and demanding commutes in Dublin for what they considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Towards the end of their stint they stopped posting pictures and messages on social media, citing unkind responses they attributed to jealousy or meanness.
“People are very protective of the island life,” Kehoe told the Irish Times. “People who were saying they knew more about the Great Blasket than us.”
“Who were accusing us of commercialising it, saying that we were going to attract more tourists to the island and ruin it. Criticising us for not speaking Irish,” she added.
The comments impacted her, she said. “Being on the island was a perfect experience, and any kind of negativity was taking away from it.”

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