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.
Mother of three, Fiona Ní Ghlionn, swapped her life in suburban Dublin for life on Arranmore Island off the coast of Donegal over two years ago, and hasn't looked back.
Living in Glasnevin with their two daughters Róise (7) and Síomha (4), Fiona says she and her husband Jesse were finding they had no time for anything. Working as a teacher at Belmayne Educate Together, Fiona was getting up early to go to work, leaving home at 7am and working Monday to Friday. She found the only family time and down time was on the weekends.
While she was raised in Co Carlow, Fiona had been a regular visitor to Arranmore Island all her life. Her mother Grainne grew up on the island and when she was expecting her third child, Fiona and the family began spending more time there, taking the ferry from Burtonport and making the short 15-minute ferry crossing to Arranmore. "I used my maternity leave as a trial. We said let's try it out and we were able to rent out our house in Dublin and see how it would go," she says.
After the arrival of their third child Fiadh (1), Fiona got a job as the island's language planning officer and the girls settled in one of the island's two schools. Jesse, who is originally from Baltimore in the US, was able to continue his work as a graphic designer and musician and the couple became involved in organising a traditional music festival on the island.
That was two years ago and the family is adjusting wonderfully to island life. "People thought we were crazy to leave our jobs and life and sell our house. But we want to really put the focus on our life now. The biggest change is that there's not as many people but in a way we have more contact with people than ever," says Fiona. "In the winter time the boat stops at 5.30pm, and you know you can't go to Tesco or the cinema and that takes getting used to. There are two shops on the island but most people would go to the mainland to shop at Aldi or Lidl. SuperValu delivers to the island on the ferry."
Fiona says there's always something happening on the island every day of the week. From gym classes to language classes and yoga, she's never stuck for activities for her or the girls. But the best part of their new lives is the people they meet. "For such a remote place, people are extremely open-minded."
There are other young families with children of similar age and the girls are able to go to school on the island which Fiona believes makes it easier for them to live there. "We're renting at the moment but we have bought a plot of land with a cottage. I don't think we could take the kids away from this place now," she says.
Like on all the islands, on Sherkin Island, off the coast of Co Cork, there are no locked doors. Deirdre Ní Luasiagh first came to the island on a date with the man who would later become her husband. She fell in love with the island at the same time she was falling for her husband-to-be.
Growing up by the sea in Dunquin in Co Kerry looking out over the Blasket Islands, Deirdre loved the wildness of nature. Her job in the technology sector took her to work in the UK and later to Cork, but she always felt the pull of the ocean.
She met her partner Adrian Legg, who was involved in a pilot project to bring broadband to Sherkin, a decade ago and began travelling out to Sherkin regularly to see him.
"I absolutely fell in love with it. Adrian was already living here at the time. I was to-ing and fro-ing for a while and living on the island became something that evolved," she says.
The couple, who got married on Sherkin in 2014, now run their technology and digital archiving business, Culture Ark, from the island and Deirdre says it too has evolved. The work sees them leave the island for projects in Dublin or for clients elsewhere but have their full-time base and home on Sherkin.
"The landscape is what drew me initially, that and the freedom, the space and the air. But what made me stay is the people I met and the sense of community here. I've lived in big cities and while they have their own benefits there's something about Sherkin. There's a diversity of people and an openness. I've made great friends here and there's a willingness to help people and engage with others. There's just a great sense of support," says Deirdre.
"Of course living on an island can be tricky. You depend on the ferry. Everything has to come in on the ferry. If you can't make it to the pier for some reason, someone will deliver your shopping to your kitchen table. The ferry is extremely reliable but you always have a good bit in the freezer," she says.
Jez Youell and his wife Deirdre Murphy Youell run the pub and restaurant, The Jolly Roger, on Sherkin Island. Having travelled the world teaching, the couple, now in their 50s, wanted a permanent base for their family. Two of their children are in secondary school, one is in college and one is working and travelling.
It was while living in the UAE that Jez says he felt he was becoming jaded with the modern world. They had visited Sherkin over the years where Deirdre's mother had grown up as a child and it was on a visit that they had a lightning bolt moment to stay.
"Of course, it was a culture shock. I had just left Dubai Airport and less than a day later found myself stuck in Baltimore in Cork unable to get to the island because of a storm. It was all very alien. We worked our socks off for the first couple of years. It was a hard slog but it was also a passion," says Jez.
For Deirdre, moving to Sherkin wasn't part of any big life plan. "It was a big bold move and it came as a total surprise. We had been looking for somewhere in Ireland and we heard the pub was for sale. Jez said to me we should buy it and I said 'No way'," she says.
The couple ploughed their life savings into The Jolly Roger and five years ago became its owners. "I was totally surprised by how well I took to it. I wouldn't live anywhere else now," says Deirdre, who has lived in San Francisco, Africa and the Middle East. "I think I'm addicted to the beauty of the place. I'm sitting at my kitchen table and I can see the Baltimore Beacon at the mouth of the harbour. The day is sparkling and the air is incredible," she says.
However, Deirdre says they work hard to make island life work. She believes people who live on islands have been self-sufficient for generations, making do and mending because they had to. "Islands have much to teach the rest of the world and islanders haven't lost track of mending and problem-solving. People are very handy here," she says.
Aisling Moran, who runs the community co-op for Sherkin, Long and Heir Islands, says the island is like a microcosm of Irish society generally but what sets it apart is that everyone still has the time to stop and have a chat.
"It's not the pace of life that's different - life is busy for everyone - it's the value that's given to time that's different. Everyone values taking the time to stop and talk."