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Advert for summer job on remote Irish island attracts 24,000 applications

Ben Turner
The Great Blasket Island off the coast of County Kerry has proved a major draw - Julian Simmonds

A couple have received more than 24,500 applications for two summer vacancies on the remote and uninhabited Great Blasket Island in Ireland. 

Alice Hayes and her partner, Billy O'Connor, posted the offer 10 days ago for two friends or a couple to manage the County Kerry island’s coffee shop and three holiday cottages between April 1 to October 2020. 

The successful applicants will live without electricity and hot water and will be the only inhabitants on the 2 and a half mile squared island, which lies 2km south-west of the mainland 

Ms Hayes and Mr O’Connor told RTÉ: "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.

"We’ve received applications from places like Iran, Argentina, Finland, Mexico, everywhere really. We’ve had applications in languages we can’t even recognise. Our email is in meltdown and our phones are just pinging constantly.

“I suppose people just want to disconnect from the rush of everyday life and get off the grid.” 

Last year’s successful applicants were 27-year-old Lesley Kehoe, and her partner Gordon Bond, 29. The Irish couple left behind their city jobs to take care of the site for the summer before leaving the island in October 2019.

They told the Irish Mirror last August: “I don’t think either of us are ready to leave the island, it’s become a huge part of our lives and it’s definitely changed us. I think living here has shown us what works for us and what doesn’t and this pace of life definitely suits us.”

Great Blasket Island, also known as An Blascaod Mor, was abandoned in 1954 due to population decline and fears that bad weather conditions would make the island inaccessible to emergency services.

The island’s three cottages can accommodate up to 31 guests, who can access the island by ferry from the Dingle Peninsula.