Sarah and Luke Flanagan, originally from Leeds in the UK, say they “jumped at the chance” to relocate to the remote Owey Island off the coast of Co Donegal.
The Flanagans are thought to be the first people since 1974 to spend the winter on the Irish island which has no electricity, no gas, and no running water. While there are some houses on Owey Island, they are only inhabited in the summer months.
Owey Island, Oileáin Uaigh in Irish, is just over 300 acres in size and just off-shore from Cuit Island, midway between Gola and Arranmore. It's a prime spot for kayaking and rock climbing and even boasts a spectacular "lake under a lake."
Sarah, 34, recently told The Yorkshire Evening Post that she and Luke responded to an advertisement that was seeking people to reside on the island for a year.
“We got to the island on around March 14," Sarah said, "so literally a week before lockdown, and so far we have missed all of the Covid madness."
While the Flanagans may have missed all of the COVID madness, they embarked on a completely different way of life. Their "little cottage" is heated with coal that they stockpiled over the summer and they use a tank to collect rainwater for washing.
The couple was able to travel back and forth to the mainland, less than a mile away, on a dinghy to stock up on necessities when needed.
Sarah said: “It’s good, you don’t realise how much you actually don’t need a lot of stuff.
“We just need our two rescue dogs who, like us, are absolutely loving having an island to themselves.
“And we’re actually really well-connected with 4G even though there’s no WiFi.”
Luke, 36, said: "It's been really weird and strange hearing about everything that's happening while being isolated on this little island.
“As you can imagine, we haven't had to worry about social distancing. The experience as a whole has been incredible.
He added: “The pace of life is so slow but it's lovely, we spend our days out walking with the dogs, growing our own food and learning new skills.
“It's not for everyone but we have loved it.”
Sarah remarked: "My overall thoughts about our time on the island are how incredibly lucky we are to be here.
"We have both learned so much and had experiences I would never have even imagined.
"From learning about the sea, fishing, and boats, to raising our own animals, things I've never had anything to do with before."
The Flanagan’s set-up on Owey Island is similar to that of Annie Birney and Eoin Boyle, who were chosen out of more than 45 thousand applicants to be caretakers on the Great Blasket Island off the coast of Co Kerry in 2020.
The pandemic, however, delayed Birney and Boyle's plans to relocate to the Co Kerry island from April until June, and the duo wrapped up their dream gig on Great Blasket Island this past September.
Before Birney and Boyle, Lesley Kehoe and Gordon Bond traded their city life to work as caretakers on the Great Blasket Islands in 2019.