Meet the new Blasket Island caretakers – ‘it honestly still feels like a dream!’

Emily Campbell (27) is originally from Bandon in West Cork while her partner Daniel Regan (29) is from London.

Fergus DennehyKerryman

The countdown to island life is well and truly on for Emily Campbell and her partner, Daniel Regan who will soon be embarking upon a once-in-a-lifetime adventure when they take up their roles as the new caretakers of the Blasket Islands.

It’s safe to say that, each and every year, when applications open for the position, that it is one of the world’s most coveted jobs as thousands of people throw their names in the ring for the chance at a six-month stay on the remote Kerry island.

This year, it was the turn of West Cork native Emily - who has been working as a children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital - and her London boyfriend, Daniel - a civil engineer - to be chosen and speaking to The Kerryman from their home in London this week ahead of flying to Kerry next week, the couple said that they can’t wait for the peace, quiet and relaxation of the island.

“We’re flying over to Kerry on March 29 and then it’s just weather dependent then as to when we can get to the island proper,” Emily said, adding with a laugh that it’s all coming very soon and that it still feels like a bit of a dream.

When put to them whether it’s sunk in yet that in just a matter of days, they’ll be living in a remote island off the Kerry coast, Daniel said that it’ll be very different to what they found themselves currently doing, busily packing away all of their things in their home ahead of their move over.

“We’re busy focusing on the house at the moment but I think the minute we drop our tools here, it’ll start to really sink in,” he said.

“We’re going to be just so delighted to get over there. It honestly still feels like a dream for us, like it’s not actually happening,” Emily said.

Going on, Daniel said that Emily’s aunt and uncle have made been to the island before and they’d told the young couple that it will take them a day or two at least to get used to how quiet the place is, something which Emily said which will be a far cry from their London life where they live above a very busy main street near a hospital and a school with helicopters flying overheard a regular - and noisy - occurrence.

As to what they are looking forward to most about island life, both said they can’t wait to re-connect with nature, fresh air and a simpler way of life.

“For me, I can’t wait to get back in touch with nature. Whenever I go on holidays, after a few days I always notice a big difference in my general well-being and outlook on life when I’m just out in nature, whether that’s just being in the sea or being away from an urban environment, that’s going to be a big thing for me,” Daniel said.

For Emily too, she said that as much as she loves London, she is missing that link to nature that she had growing up in West Cork and she’s eager to re-connect with this part of herself.

“I’ve lived here in London for four years now and while it’s very fun and everything, I miss being near the sea and just being outdoors in the fresh air. We’re just so excited to get over there,” she said.

Finally, the couple said that they have been in touch with Claire and Brock, the island’s previous caretakers who have been giving them practical tips for life on the island.

“They’ve been really nice. They just said to enjoy it and soak it all up and that we’ll need to bring more warm socks than we think, that kind of thing.

The pair that they are looking forward to meeting all of the new people that travel to the island - somewhere they described as a “magical place” over the next six months.

You can follow the couple’s Blasket journey on their Instagram page.