A life on the Aran Islands is certainly something one would dream about.
A life surrounded by fishing, farming, culture and nature. However, it may not be suited to everybody. We looked into rent, schools and services, to see how feasible that life really is.
Houses are available to rent on the Aran Islands at between €300 and €500 per month. The cost of living is very low. With an area solely dependent on tourism and the local industries we can see how the locals work hard to make a living. There are planes to Galway every day and the boat crosses every morning and evening which allow the inhabitants to work on mainland if they wish. The locals claim that life on the island is very rewarding, with a “culture all of its own” and a “close community”. “We have our own musical and sporting traditions and events, we even have our own feast days”, say locals.
“We live on a hidden treasure”, says one local. “I’ve lived the urban life and our standard of living is much higher here.” The school curriculum is broad and colorful and always grounded in the cultural heritage of this island. However there is a growing unease among the islanders. Some years there are as little as 5 students that enroll in the local primary school, which is a worrying thought that could result in losing a teacher.
Orlaith, from Dublin, a primary school teacher from Ballinteer moved to Inis Meain in 1996 to pursue her teaching career. Orlaith says “walking out the door of Inis Meáin primary school is a pleasure in itself. Small-scale farming and fishing are the main industries here and these have made little impact on the landscape apart from the animals, the dry stone walls and the little currachs on the shoreline.” With only 170 people on the island you see the same faces and a real sense of community is among them.
Orlaith speaks of the services on the island which include a 24-hour public health nurse and doctor three days a week, broadband, one primary and one secondary school.
So could you do it? Something to think about!