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'People thought we were crazy' - meet the families who ditched city life for island living

Cut off from the mainland after the last ferry trip of the day, community support is at the heart of successful island living. Kathy Donaghy talks to people who've given up their city lives for the islands - and haven't looked back

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Living the life: Fiona Ní Ghlionn on Arranmore Island, off the coast of Donegal. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

Living the life: Fiona Ní Ghlionn on Arranmore Island, off the coast of Donegal. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

Lorcan Doherty

A view of the mainland from the island

A view of the mainland from the island

Lorcan Doherty

Island time: Deirdre Ní Luasiagh and her husband Adrian Legg live on Sherkin Island

Island time: Deirdre Ní Luasiagh and her husband Adrian Legg live on Sherkin Island

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Living the life: Fiona Ní Ghlionn on Arranmore Island, off the coast of Donegal. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

When a call went out for people to run a coffee shop and accommodation centre on the Great Blasket Island, 23,000 people applied. Applications arrived from all over the world, from as far away as Australia and the Middle East even though the island, best known to generations of Irish people for its most famous resident Peig Sayers, has no electricity, TV or WiFi.

The job advertisement struck a chord with people seeking out the unspoilt natural beauty of the island and its remoteness, which saw the last of the island's inhabitants leave for good in the 1950s.

Uniquely fashioned by their geographic location, the country's islands have long been a draw for artists and those seeking solace from the hectic pace of modern life. And while that's still the case, greater connectivity through modern technology means the islands are less cut off and people can run businesses and work there in a way that wasn't possible in the past.