Looking to move? Picturesque Irish island is calling for new residents

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- If the hustle of city life is taking its toll, you could turn to the luck of the Irish.

A small island community off the northwest coast of the Emerald Isle is making a push to attract more residents, using their newly revamped internet service as a selling point.

Arranmore Island's community council has released open letters calling for people to come to their picturesque town and work remotely.

While they're open to any new residents, the letters have so far been targeted to residents of Australia and New York, where some residents of Arranmore moved during the Irish diaspora.

Adrian Begley, the chair of the Arranmore Island Community Council, told ABC News that they have received “hundreds and hundreds” of inquiries since publishing the letters, and he understands the appeal.

“It’s a beautiful place. One of the best things about the place is its people – it’s second to none,” said Begley, who has lived on the island for more than 20 years.

Other areas looking to draw in new residents have made similar appeals, like the state of Vermont, which announced in 2018 that they would reimburse up to $10,000 for those who moved to the state to work remotely.

The Arranmore push doesn’t come with a financial payout, but Begley said that some people see it as “sort of a romantic place to be.”

The island is three miles from the mainland and has daily ferry service to the town of Burtonport, which has an airport nearby with a 45-minute flight to Dublin. The last census said that there are 469 people on the island, where there are five bars.

Begley noted that the island even has its own hot dog stand, which may be a reminder of home for any Americans who choose to relocate.

In the letter addressed to New Yorkers, which was initially shared on Facebook and has since been shared with ABC News, the people of Arranmore write that while they have had internet for years, connectivity had always been an issue -- but now the island has been upgraded to high-speed broadband, which provides “connectivity that is as good as any office in New York City.”

The letter urges people who work remotely to consider moving to the island, which is about eight square miles.

“Your commute, no matter where you are, will only ever be five minutes. You’ll have the best diving in Ireland on your doorstep, and seafood to rival the tastiest of Manhattan Clam Chowders," the letter states. "There are less people here than would fit in a couple of subway cars, but enough musicians and good Irish whiskey to keep the party going well into the night."

For his part, Begley said he favors the local delicacy of “crab toes,” which he explained are known as crab claws by the rest of the world. Crab and lobster are local to the region, and in the summer the local fishermen are known to bring in an excellent catch, he said.

The island currently has two elementary schools that run up to age 12, and one junior school that runs up until college. Additionally, many students come to the island in the summer to learn the Irish language, which is spoken by many on the island. Addressing any concerns that people would have about the language options, Begley said "everyone speaks English, and most people speak Irish ... you'd never struggle with it."

Begley said that the larger picture for the push is that by bringing in more people to work and live on the island, it “makes the island sustainable, makes the community sustainable.”

“Island life is a very unique way of being. It’s a very unique experience,” Begley said, noting that the calm and quiet offered there stand out compared to busier cities.

"But because of the connectivity we now have, we’re in a very unique position to offer the best of both worlds,” he said.

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