No electricity, no hot water, 23,000 applications: Why this Facebook job ad went viral

Great Blasket Island

Irish small business owners Alice Hayes and Billy O'Connor. Source: Facebook.

When more than 23,000 people from around the world applied for two job vacancies, an Irish couple discovered working on an uninhabited island is, in fact, a dream come true for a lot of people.

Alice Hayes and Billy O’Connor are the owners of a cafe and three cottages on Great Blasket Island off the coast of Ireland.

Two weeks ago, the couple made a post on Facebook advertising two summer-long management positions.

The post said successful applicants would be required to live on the remote island without electricity or hot showers from the start of April to the end of October.

Initially, the entrepreneurs were concerned no one would apply, but the post soon went viral, and was covered by international news outlets and travel platforms such as Lonely Planet.

“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,” O’Connor said. But it turns out, the remote requirement seems to have been the biggest draw for applicants.

“I suppose people just want to disconnect from the rush of everyday life and get off the grid,” O’Connor said.

“We’ve had coverage in the most unlikeliest places,” Hayes said.

“We’ve had applications in languages we can’t even recognise.

“We’ve received applications from places like Iran, Argentina, Finland, Mexico, everywhere really,” she added.

Apart from unexpected locations, Hayes and O’Connor were also surprised at the personal stories they received in the process, including “a lovely application from a 79-year-old and 83-year-old couple”.

As of yesterday, the couple said they have responded to about 1,000 applicants, but don’t expect to be able to respond to every candidate.

Hoping to find people who “understand and appreciate the island’s rich literary heritage and history” — one cottage belonged to celebrated Irish author Peig Sayers — O’Connor said they hope to meet some finalists before making their decision.

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