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Dublin couple back to reality after wild adventure on the deserted Great Blasket


Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle.

Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle.

Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle.

A Dublin couple who beat more than 40,000 applicants to become caretakers of the Great Blasket Island have finished their three-month stay.

Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle, from Dún Laoghaire, moved to the isolated island off the coast of Kerry on June 24, and opened the island up to visitors as the country battled the Covid-19 pandemic.

They had originally been chosen to stay on the island for six months but their time was shortened due to the lockdown.

The couple lived in accommodation on the island and ran the island's coffee shop and private cottages for visitors.

Chosen by Billy O'Connor and Alice Hayes of @greatblasketisland, the Dublin couple experienced the chance of a lifetime to work for them looking after three original islanders cottages on the island.


They had "three months of no electricity, no hot water and no popping to the shops," and on leaving the island they said "they absolutely loved it".

"There is actually so little here in terms of modern day luxuries but so much in terms of things to see and do," Ms Birney said.

Billy and Alice own three cottages and the coffee shop on the island and listed the caretaker job in January with little expectation of receiving many applications.

The couple, who also run day trips to the island, were blown away by the sheer number of applications.

More than 23,000 people had applied for the job barely a week after it was listed.

They said in a Facebook post at the time they were stunned so many people wanted to spend time on a "windswept island with no electricity or hot water in the middle of the Atlantic".

Leslie Kehoe and Gordon Bond, a couple from Co Kildare, served as caretakers on the island last year and said they simply fell in love with the place.

Located about 5km off the coast of Dingle in Co Kerry, Great Blasket Island is home to a huge amount of animal, sea and plant life.

There are no permanent residents on the island, which was deserted in the 1950s because emergency services were unable to reach it in storms.