Professional hockey player and yoga instructor arrive at Great Blasket Island for caretaking roles


The new Guardians of Great Blasket Island arrived after beating out 100,000 other applicants to land the coveted jobs.

A well-known former Canadian professional ice hockey player and his Dutch partner have taken on the new challenge as goalies for the next six months.

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

Although the island of Co Kerry has no running water or electricity, the couple knew it was for them.

Claire is a yoga instructor and Brock was previously a right-hander in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League. More recently he was with the German trappers in Tilburg.

Speaking from the island, the couple said: ‘We have been busy over the past week preparing the chalets 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.”

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

Brock Montgomery and Claire de Haas rose to the challenge as guardians of Kerry’s Great Blasket Island.

The Dutch youngster joked that she was worried about the rain but they “didn’t have a lot of concerns”.

“We feel pretty comfortable. Obviously the busy time of the year could be an extreme time for us, but we’re ready for it.”

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

Brock, who now owns clothing brand Mountain Life Apparel, is currently studying meditation and mindfulness to begin working with athletes and first responders. He also aspires to make travel documentaries around the world by interviewing interesting people with unique stories to tell.

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

“(We are sure that we will have) an unforgettable memory, an experience that we will never forget. Also, the 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.

Great Blasket Island seen from Dun Chaoin on the west coast of Kerry.  Photo: Dan Linehan
Great Blasket Island seen from Dun Chaoin on the west coast of Kerry. Photo: Dan Linehan

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.

Mr. O’Connor and Mrs. Hayes own three cottages, which are rented out to holidaymakers, 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.

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


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