WE’VE ALL been there.
Squashed into a packed train, smelling other peoples’ armpits, breathing in polluted air and almost getting hit by bicycles or cars or whatever else the world throws at you that day.
The constant noise of beeping horns and people shouting and police sirens blaring, pulling out your hair looking at the newest set of bills and wondering how the hell you’re going to afford your flat this month and oh how you wish you could just feck off to the middle of nowhere and live off the land and listen to the sound of the sea.
Except this woman actually did it.
Lesley Kehoe (@island_lesley on Twitter) announced in February that she and and her partner Gordon Bond were doing what everyone else had only dreamed of, writing: “We’re leaving our jobs and moving to the Great Blasket Island for the 2019 season. We’re either very mad or very brave, possibly both.”
We're leaving our jobs and moving to the Great Blasket Island for the 2019 season. We're either very mad or very brave, possibly both. Electricity-free life means we won't always be contactable so if you need us, we're in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! pic.twitter.com/y9XxH1ttls
— Lesley (@island_lesley) February 13, 2019
Whether they are mad or not doesn’t matter, because they’re clearly having the time of their lives.
Lesley puts up videos from her life on the Island almost daily, showcasing the breath-taking beauty of the Co. Kerry wilderness.
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 14, 2019
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 19, 2019
Tis hectic out there... pic.twitter.com/oxPPINnfxM
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 21, 2019
Sun, wind, lightning and-- of course-- rain, are recurring characters in Lesley’s videos which she posts dutifully to Twitter. And while she is living the dream she acknowledges the harder parts of living in practical exile, such as warning holidaymakers when the rough seas cut them off from the mainland.
Storm-force winds have battered the island all night long. Boats are called off for the day and whoever is on the island has to stay until tomorrow, with winds set to pick up again later in the morning 🌬 pic.twitter.com/AXKzqSdkt8
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 25, 2019
Clearly embracing Blasket Island life with all she's got, Lesley educates her followers about the wildlife that can be found on the island, including hundreds of seals who rest on the beaches in rainy weather. It's easy to imagine how excited you'd be to see these beautiful creatures in the wild, but Lesley warns against approaching the animals as it is easy to disturb their natural habitat.
While I'm on the subject of the seals, it's worth mentioning that every single day I watch visitors march up to them, armed with a smartphone and delight as hundreds of seals rush to the water. This is their home, we are only passing through. If you visit, please give them space https://t.co/MQb8HswlDA
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 22, 2019
The incredible folks from The Donkey Sanctuary (@donkeysanct @DonkeySanctuary) came to visit the resident Blasket donkeys today and LOOK at these supermodels now!
Before and after 🐴 pic.twitter.com/aPi6T5SJVo
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 24, 2019
Ireland is known for its wet and wild weather, but on sunnier days the incredible beauty of the Great Blasket island is more apparent than ever-- the reveal of the view after the door opens could genuinely bring a tear to your eye.
Another day in paradise. There is nowhere on earth like the Great Blasket pic.twitter.com/GFFY5ECzgu
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 14, 2019
Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening 🔥🌅 pic.twitter.com/z9nohLRtEU
— Lesley (@island_lesley) July 2, 2019
Walking from An Gob back toward the lower village of the Great Blasket pic.twitter.com/MAmeTQhdgd
— Lesley (@island_lesley) June 28, 2019
— Lesley (@island_lesley) June 26, 2019
The best evening I have ever had. Exploring the water around the Great Blasket Island and this puts on a show, blowing out rainbows!
The beauty of this island is so humbling and I am blessed to live here. pic.twitter.com/IW7gQhBrj7
— Lesley (@island_lesley) May 20, 2019
Perhaps the most appealing thing of all to some people is how cut off the couple sometimes feel on the island-- all summed up with one tweet from Lesley in June. Imagine the bliss of not having to be pummeled by the constant, dismal talk of politics. Absolutely unreal.
One Google search to sum up how out of touch I am with reality here on the Great Blasket Island pic.twitter.com/HvvGNIBMbN
— Lesley (@island_lesley) June 20, 2019
If you're burning with blind jealousy at Lesley and Gordon's life on the island, fear not-- because you can join them.
The couple run Peig Sayer's Cottage accommodation, named for the famous Irish novelist who wrote her most famous works while living on the Island.
Just a short ferry trip from the popular tourist town of Dingle, Co Kerry, the Great Blasket is an opportunity to experience true, ancient and untouched Ireland. The island used to have a population of 175 residents at it's peak but was deemed too dangerous in the winter months. Therefore,Taoiseach Eamon DeValera ordered the island's evacuation in 1953, at that point having only 22 residents.
Now the summer season on Great Blasket Island ends at the end of September, so you'll have to be quick-- you can book ferries and accommodation here.
And what do you tell your friends and family when you drop your commuting, suits and city life to run off to the island?
As Lesley puts it: "If you need us, we’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!”