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Job Applications For Great Blasket Island To Open This Week

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Job Applications For Great Blasket Island To Open This Week

Great Blasket Island has gotten a bad rep among Irish people. Most of us don't see the beauty, the splendid isolation or the man-against-nature struggle that defined us for thousands of years. We just see two words: Peig bloody Sayers.

We're scarred by having to read some of the bleakest literature in our culture's proud tradition in Irish class, relentless tale after relentless tale of hardship and poverty and never-ending rain.

Well, you can forget about that - well, don't forget your Irish - because Great Blasket Island is cool now. I was going to say "cool again", but I'm not entirely sure that it was ever the coolest place going.

Credit: Great Blasket Island
Credit: Great Blasket Island

In the last two years, the job of keeping the islands, which were depopulated in the early 1950s, has been advertised online and attracted thousands upon thousands of applicants.

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Now, after the 2020 caretakers have done their turn, the job is back on the market for 2021. Seen as we've all got more than used to isolation, they're likely to be swamped: we're all used to isolation now, so living on a rainy rock with nothing but the Atlantic Ocean for company seems like a great idea.

"We are going to post the jobs up again on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this week with a link to the application form and a frequently asked questions section," said Billy O'Connor, owns three hostels and a coffee shop on the island with his partner Alice Hayes.

"We've decided to add some job criteria as last year when we started to receive applications it took us a month just to get through them."

"It's absolutely fantastic that so many people want to come here but many didn't realise what the living conditions are like."

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He's not wrong: there's no electricity, no running water and, of course, no other people.

"We would like a duo of friends or a couple from abroad to get the jobs eventually as they would have a different perspective to bring, but with concerns around Covid-19 that will limit foreign applications I would think."

"We have had two Irish couples working as caretakers so far. It does get very busy on the island with visitors in the height of the summer so the people who get the job have to be able for that. But so far we've learned from the two couples who have worked as caretakers on what aspects work and do not work and how to make the visitor experience better.

Topics: Ireland

Mike Wood
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