Have you ever wished that you had time to write uninterrupted by intrusions from the world at large? Do you dread trips to the supermarket that seem to take hours, jostling between cars on the crowded roadways and in the parking lot, then dodging carts pushed by hungry shoppers in the aisles? When you finally get back to the sanctity of your home, you’re too exhausted to write.
Well, if you’re seeking a quiet place to write, the residents of a tiny island off the northwest coast of Ireland may have a place for you. The 469 people who live on Arranmore, an island just three miles off the rugged coast of Donegal, have written a letter to invite folks to move there and reverse a steady drop in population over the years. Key to the pitch the islanders are making is the high-speed internet connection installed in what is billed as Ireland’s first off-shore digital hub.
Find Your Story in Arranmore
Imagine walking along the windswept cliffs and rolling hills of the small island, seeking inspiration for your next piece. Or find it in the stories of the locals who gather in pubs to share a pint or make their own music in traditional ceilis gatherings. If you’re not seeking the solitude of writing you can join in group kayaking and diving adventures or in an evening of darts.
Arranmore has plenty of history to explore, starting with the ruins of the stone fort at Uillin, which dates back to 800 B.C. Farmers eked out an existence on the island for millennia, but poverty and disease ravaged the population in the mid-19thcentury. An official visiting Arranmore in 1847 noted the “gaunt looks in the men and the peculiar worn-out expression of premature age in the countenances of women and children.” The harshness drove many to emigrate from Arranmore and a large number settled in Bishop Island in Lake Michigan.
In the 20th-century, ferry service to the mainland led people who remained in Arranmore to commute to work in Donegal or, eventually, to re-locate. From 1996 to 2019, the population fell from 602 to 469.
The unique invitation to Arranmore comes from a community that now includes graphic designers, games developers, app developers, photographers and artisan craftspeople. They want to build their community and invite you to join their ranks.
Full Disclosure: I wrote this story because my imagination was set on fire by the idea of living on Arranmore myself.