Arranmore Island is home to only 469 people and they want that number to grow. Wireless connectivity issues were once a problem there, but that spurred Arranmore leaders to take a new approach: It now has Ireland’s first offshore digital hub and would be an ideal residence for people who work in the web world. It is also ideal for business retreats.
Officials on the island want new residents so badly they have drafted letters to the people of the United States and Australia, asking them to check Arranmore out — and consider moving there. The population started dwindling 150 years ago when the Great Famine struck Ireland.
“Your commute, no matter where you are, will only ever be five minutes,” the letter to the U.S. reads. “You’ll have the best diving in Ireland on your doorstep and seafood to rival the tastiest New England chowder. There are fewer people here than would fit in a couple of Amtrak carriages, but enough musicians and good Irish Whiskey to keep the party going well into the night.”
The island has an initiative called #ComingHome in which it works with people who move there to make the transition to island life as smooth as possible. People and businesses on the island are very self-sufficient because they have to be: When storms roll over the island in the winter, residents hunker down, trapped where they are, even though the island is just three miles from the mainland.
The Island of Árainn Mhór
Arranmore Island is only a few miles wide and includes big cliffs, beaches and caves. While people who live on Arranmore mostly have digital professions, it was once big for farmers and fishermen.
Artisan crafters are also taking up residence on Arranmore.
The island’s main Facebook page shows images that make it look like a vacation destination year-round. (It is also working to attract tourists, who contribute to the economy.) There are people kayaking, playing beach volleyball, sailing, swimming and more.
Life in Arranmore is obviously focused on being outdoors.
“Arranmore Island, or Árainn Mhór, is situated off the coast of County Donegal on the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way touring route where land meets sea,” the website says. “The island has a rich and vibrant heritage and culture and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Gaelic traditions are still thriving on the Arranmore Island and if you are looking for a real taste of island life, then this is definitely not to be missed on your Donegal adventure.”
The CFFAM Árainn Mhór Facebook page touts the family-friendly kayaking season, which definitely looks appealing!
Arranmore is like other Irish destinations in that it has a big music and nightlife scene, with pubs and, of course, Guinness beer. When you visit the website and click on “learn about the community,” it takes you straight to the “food & drink” page.
The island provides a calendar of its festivals and events and has an annual weekend called Swell Festival, featuring art and live music.
Arranmore occasionally experiences chilly temperatures: In December 2018 The Irish Times published an article about what it’s like on islands in that area in the winter, and residents said the gray skies are “amazing.” Donegal County is warmest in August and coolest in January, when average high temperatures are in the 40s.
The island has a post office, provisions store, bars and more, so it’s got every amenity you need and definite potential as a hotspot. Seriously, though, as long as the internet access is there, we want to be, too!