14 January 2020 18:31
If a demanding job on a tiny island with no electricity, wifi 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, off Ireland's Atlantic coast, has drawn queries from Alaska to South Africa. The posts, which run from 1 April to 1 October 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 advert, told RTE on Tuesday. "It's back to basics – fires, candles, stoves, wildlife and nature." The ideal candidates had to get on well so the job would suit two friends or a couple, and they had to be fit, personable and chatty, she said.
"No day is ever the same." The caretakers will have to run three cottages, accommodating up to 21 people, and serve 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 Island (@gbisland) ** Job Vacancy ** A unique position required - looking for long term management of Island Accommodation and Coffee Shop. Couple or two friends. 1st April 2020 - October 2020 accommodation and food provided. Email Alice on [email protected] for more information pic.twitter.com/RJFfrr4QDH Great Blasket is part of the Blasket islands, the five other main islands being Beginish, Inishabro, Inishvickillane, Inishtooskert and Tearaght, off the coast of Kerry. Close-knit communities of Irish speakers eked a living here for centuries, farming, fishing and weaving. Emigration shrivelled the population and in 1953 the government evacuated the last fulltime 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, people who were saying they knew more about the Great Blasket than us, who were accusing us of commercialising it, saying we were going to attract more tourists to the island and ruin it, criticising us for not speaking Irish," Kehoe told the Irish Times. The comments had affected her, she said. "Being on the island was a perfect experience, and any kind of negativity was taking away from it."