A Spanish family has been selected to live rent-free for a year in the Gaeltacht on the Galway-Mayo border, beating more than 1,000 applicants to the coveted prize.

Isabel Fortes and Miguel Ángel Ros and their five children will relocate to Ireland from northern Spain in early August after winning a competition organized by locals in the village of An Chloch Bhreac in a bid to save their local primary school from closing. 

Their children will be enrolled at Scoil Naomh Pádraig in the village and will help bring numbers at the school up to 15 next September.

School principal Geraldine Feerick said she is "over the moon" by the new enrollments. 

"There were a number of interviews and we eventually picked the family from northern Spain because they ticked all the boxes for us. Five children of school-going age was ideal for us," Feerick told RTÉ News. 

Fortes, who already works for Galway-based company Boston Scientific, and her husband Ros, who is a mechanic with a truck license, will move into a five-bedroom home in the village donated by a local family. 

Feerick explained that Fortes has a long-standing connection with Galway, obtaining a degree from NUI Galway and working as an au pair in Killanin. 

"The family will move into their new home at the start of August," Feerick said. 

An Chloch Bhreac's shop and post office have closed down in recent years, but locals were determined to keep the local primary school up and running. 

Feerick, who is one of two teachers at the school in addition to her duties as principal, described it as a "fantastic opportunity" for the Spanish family. 

"They don't have any Irish and not a whole of English but they will pick up the language because kids are like sponges."