Blasket Island’s new guardians applied three times for ‘the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’

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The new guardians of Great Blasket Island have arrived after beating 100,000 applicants for plumbing jobs.

A well-known former Canadian ice hockey player and his Dutch partner took on the new challenge as goalies from April to September.

Brock Montgomery (29) from Moose Jaw, Canada and Claire de Haas (27) from Alkmaar, Netherlands refused to give up their hopes of landing the jobs as they applied three times.

Although Co Kerry Island has no running water or electricity, Montgomery, a former player in the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and more recently with the Tilburg Trappers; and de Haas, yoga teacher, they knew the opportunity was right for them.

Speaking from the island, the couple said: ‘We have been busy over the past week preparing the cottages for the arrival of our first guests. We look forward to welcoming you to the island and hope to see many of you here soon.”

The Great Blasket Island. Photography: Laura Hutton

Prior to their arrival, de Haas, who played field hockey for 12 years, said: “It’s a unique opportunity where we will learn a lot about a new culture and a new environment. We know it will be hard work, but we love the challenge.

The couple met four years ago and went to Bali for nine months where they became certified yoga teachers.

Montgomery, who now owns clothing brand Mountain Life Apparel, is currently studying meditation and mindfulness to start working with athletes and first responders, also aspires to travel making short documentaries around the world interviewing people interesting with unique stories to tell.

The couple, de Haas believes, will bring “fun energy, flexibility, a positive vibe to the island, while enjoying the hospitality of people and our own life experiences.

In the first year of job postings, over 40,000 applications were received

“[We are sure we will get] an unforgettable memory, an experience we will never forget. In addition, experience of a different culture will be an asset. None of them have been to Ireland before.

Billy O’Connor, who manages accommodation on the island with his partner Alice Hayes, said they had not advertised the positions due to tens of thousands of previous applications.

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

de Haas joked that she was worried about the rain, but they “don’t have a lot of worries.” We spoke with Billy and Alice about work and we feel quite comfortable. Obviously the busy time of year could be an extreme time for us, but we’re ready for that.

Claire de Haas and Brock Montgomery

Claire de Haas and Brock Montgomery

O’Connor and Hayes own three cabins that are rented out to vacationers and a cafe on the island. The couple have been inundated with inquiries by phone, email, social media posts and paper applications from around the world and countries such as Mexico, Finland and Argentina since the two positions were first advertised three years ago. years. In the first year of postings, over 40,000 applications were received.

Located about three miles off the coast of Dingle, County Kerry, Great Blasket Island was home to the late author and storyteller Peig Sayers, whose writings were part of Ireland’s Leaving Cert scheme.

Over the past few months, the couple have been carrying out essential tasks, including adding another bedroom to one of the chalets and upgrading other amenities.

The former caretakers of the island were Niamh Kelleher from Co Limerick and her partner Jack Cakehead from France; Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle, of Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin; and Co Kildare couple Leslie Kehoe and Gordon Bond.

The couple’s adventure can be followed on @clairedehaas_, @brockmontgomeryy and @mountainlifeapparel

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