What’s the Buzz with Arranmore Island?

What put Arranmore Island, Ireland on the map?

Recently Arranmore Island popped on the map for many who had never even heard of it, creating a stir with its open letter inviting those with a remote or location independent job to visit Arranmore Island.

Since then, they have had an overwhelming response of interest, receiving thousands of inquiries through email, messenger and every form of social media. To my surprise, I discovered, there are really only two people working through all of these emails and they do it all on a volunteer basis (so if you are waiting to hear back, give them a bit of time).

I was traveling around South America when I first read about Arranmore and the open letter but I had already purchased my plane ticket to visit Ireland a few weeks prior. I knew that once in Ireland I had to take the opportunity to check out Arranmore Island and see just what all this buzz was about.

Getting the Facts

While visiting the Island I got the chance to sit down with both Seamus and Adrian and ask them a few questions regarding their open letter, their goals for the future and go over some of the most frequently asked questions from people everywhere.

Due to a decline in population on the island and the schools growing ever smaller, Arranmore needs to bolster their population a bit. In days passed many would leave home to pursue higher education and many of those jobs didn’t exactly lead them back home. As the digital age continues to evolve and expand, the options to return home while maintaining these jobs can be a reality for some.

After joining the community council, Seamus and Adrian along with the other members of the council saw a need in their own backyard and they all came together to find a way to address it. They opened Ireland’s first offshore shared digital workspace just 3 miles off the coast of Donegal.

A Co-Working Space

Shared digital workspaces or co-working spaces are a trend that is ever on the rise in jobs across the world. Just the west of Ireland alone is home to approximately 101 co-working spaces all up and down the coast. Location independence is highly desirable for young professionals these days and as many jobs don’t require an actual presence in the office, why be stuck or tied down if you don’t need to be.

 MODAM co-working space
MODAM co-working space

Initially just getting to Arranmore Island was a bit of a challenge as I took a bus (option 2 going and option 1 returning) but for anyone interested even just for a visit, I can’t recommend visiting this little island enough!

It requires some serious Irish determination to figure out cars, buses, vans, ferries, and places to stay while on the island but once there you will completely understand why it was all worth it.

How do I get to Arranmore Island?
  • Take a flight to Donegal Airport from Glasgow or Dublin then take a taxi to Burtonport and catch the ferry there.

  • Take a bus from Dublin to Letterkenny, then a van service from Letterkenny to Burtonport to catch the ferry.

  • You can rent a car and drive to Burtonport & take the car onto the ferry as well for an additional cost.
Where can I stay if I decide to come to Arranmore Island?

Moving to Arranmore could prove difficult if you don’t already have some sort of connection to the island. There aren’t many houses up for sale right now (listings can be found at the bottom of this page).

If you are looking for something for just a short visit try the Ferryboat B&B (offering package discount deals with the co-working space), Claire’s B&B or Tina Bonner’s apartment.

 Claire’s B&B (Left) View from Tina’s (Right)
Claire’s B&B (Left) View from Tina’s (Right)
So What is the Deal with Arranmore Island?

Seamus, Adrian and the Arranmore community council came together with a company named 3 (a telephone company in Ireland) to create MODAM; a comfortable and convenient co-working space with high-speed internet, WIFI, and a shared networking space. They also have a meeting room equipped with a Webex Board.

 The private meeting room and general working area inside MODAM
The private meeting room and general working area inside MODAM

“The #ComingHome campaign was aimed to encourage our island diaspora to move back to the Arranmore as they will have an easier time with housing and other practicalities.”

While their open-letter was aimed at the once-locals who had moved away for education or other opportunities, inviting them to essentially return home, they do see the potential for others who may be interested in moving to or simply visiting Arranmore.

Their goal is to reach young local families, who have location independence with their jobs but can settle on the island along with their children. They are not currently offering moving or immigration assistance at this time (See the bottom for links with additional information).

 Inside the MODAM coworking space
Inside the MODAM coworking space
What work is available on Arranmore?

Arranmore’s community council has created a beautiful and efficient co-working space that is available to locals, travelers and vacationers alike. It has recently been furnished with eleven screens provided by Samsung.

However they and the island, are not offering any jobs or positions at this time, they do encourage those interested to look into Grow Remote and Remote Jobs Ireland for additional remote job opportunities in Ireland.

What else is there to do on Arranmore Island?

Arranmore is a beautiful getaway that while the weather may be fickle the craic is not. The beaches are stunning and the island offers a variety of activities like sea tours and kayaking and the option to rent a bicycle. There is always good food & a pint of Guinness to be had down at Early’s pub.

If you’re lucky you’ll get to hear some old tunes being sung by the owner, Jerry. You can take a walk through the hills while still catching glimpses of the sea down below and watch as the sheep graze sleepily as the gulls fly overhead. Even if you decide not to move here, this little island is absolutely worth getting off the beaten path for.

My Personal Experience

I spent a total of five days on Arranmore Island, feeling the peacefulness, watching the kayaks go out in the morning, hearing the sheep and seagulls throughout the day, and watching as the sun would set late into the evening. One thing that stood out more than anything else about this island is the sense of community they share.

Apart from the sheer peacefulness on this island, the people are about as nice and helpful as can be, the food is delicious and there is always some good craic happening around town.

This little island is a family and they are ever-present to help when someone is in need, they come together to solve the bigger problems and they share in life’s joys and grief alike. They might just be the best-kept secret of Ireland.

For those that may not be of Irish nationality, obtaining and maintaining the visas to stay or live on this Island can be a bit tough to navigate all the red tape but if you are still determined to make it work, you can start by taking a look at the INIS website and Ireland’s Citizen Information page.

Current house listings:

Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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