Up to 23,000 people have applied for a job on the Great Blasket Island, Co Kerry. The job runs from April 1 to October and those selected will be in charge of three guest cottages and the coffee shop on the island which is just off Co Kerry.
The island, which was home to the author Peig Sayers, is 6km long and technically no one lives there permanently but they do get some visitors who need somewhere to stay and eat.
The job is for a couple or two friends who are happy to move in together.
Manager Billy O’Connor, grandson of the late Peter Callery, a Dingle solicitor whose company once owned most of the Blasket, says the level of interest has taken him by surprise.
He said the response to the job advert has been “beyond expectations” with people applying from all around the world including Australia, the US, Greece, the Middle East, and Asia, Mr O’Connor said.
The job vacancies made news headlines in Australia, Massachusetts in the US, and Greece to name but a few.
“A lot of people told us they want to move back to Ireland including Irish people from as far away as Australia,” he said.
Mr O’Connor, who ferries tours to the island on his boat, The Peig Sayers, has renovated three houses, including Peig’s old home.
A post on the coffee shop’s Instagram and Facebook page said: “We are beyond overwhelmed at the response for the job post for the Great Blasket Island coffee shop and accommodation.
“Posting the advert last year, we were concerned we would not find anyone willing to leave their job, pack their bags and move to a windswept island with no electricity or hot water in the middle of the Atlantic, off the Dingle peninsula for six months of the year.
“To date 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 the next 30 years.”
Mr O’Connor said they had planned to email everyone back, when the inbox was at 200.
“So sorry if we haven’t got back to you yet, our inbox is chocca block,” he wrote. “Hopefully, we will meet you all sometime over the next 30 years.”
One social media user replied:
“I’m not surprised!! Me and my husband to be have wonderful jobs but when we saw your advertisement even we had a longing to apply. Anyone who has not done at least the tour with you should go. An absolutely amazing day out.”
Occupied from pre-history, the island overlooks the location where a number of the Spanish Armada ships were wrecked. The small farming and fishing community exceeded a population of 150 in the early 20th century, but had dwindled to a small number when the island was vacated in 1953.
The old village above the Trá Bán (White Strand) is situated on the north-eastern side of the island, facing the mainland and Slea Head.