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No hot water or electricity - but 23,000 apply for job on Great Blasket Island

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Sands of time: Great Blasket Island’s sandy beaches are often deserted and, without wifi, peace and quiet is easy to find. Photo: Andrea Pistolesi

Sands of time: Great Blasket Island’s sandy beaches are often deserted and, without wifi, peace and quiet is easy to find. Photo: Andrea Pistolesi

Sands of time: Great Blasket Island’s sandy beaches are often deserted and, without wifi, peace and quiet is easy to find. Photo: Andrea Pistolesi

More than 23,000 people - some from as far afield as Australia and the US - have applied for two jobs on the Great Blasket Island.

And the prospect of living with no electricity or hot water for six months was not enough to deter the thousands of adventurous applicants.

The jobs run from April 1 to October and the successful candidates will be in charge of three guest cottages and the coffee shop on the island which lies 2km off the Kerry coast.

The island - which was home to writer Peig Sayers, of whom thousands of Leaving Cert students growing up in the 1980s and '90s know only too well - is 6km long.

No one lives there permanently, but some visitors to the island need somewhere to stay and eat during the tourist season.

The job is for a couple or two friends who are happy to move together.

Manager Billy O'Connor, grandson of the late Peter Callery, a Dingle solicitor whose company once owned most of the Blasket, said the level of interest had taken him by surprise.

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Mr O'Connor, who ferries tours to the island on his boat, The Peig Sayers, has renovated three houses to accommodate tourists, including Peig's old home.

A post on his and his partner Alice Hayes' 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.

"We had planned to email everyone back when our inbox was at 200 and were genuinely amazed it even reached 20.

"Again, a huge, huge thank you to everyone who took time to apply and share or like the post, we can't explain how much your interest means to us.

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View of Trá Bán from inside a cottage on the Blasket Islands

View of Trá Bán from inside a cottage on the Blasket Islands

View of Trá Bán from inside a cottage on the Blasket Islands

"So sorry if we haven't got back to you yet, our inbox is chock-a-block.

"Hopefully, we will meet you all some time over the next 30 years," he added.

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 just a few dozen when the island was finally abandoned 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.

Last year Mr O'Connor also advertised for the two positions to be filled and they were surprised at the level of interest.

This year has been "beyond expectations" with people applying from all around the world including Australia, the US, Greece, the Middle East and Asia.

The job vacancies have 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," Mr O'Connor said, "including Irish people from as far away as Australia."

Irish Independent