Skip to main content

Ireland’s Beautiful Arranmore Island Desperately Wants You to Move There

Small-town living is dying. Around the world, people are abandoning the tiny towns, villages, and hamlets where they grew up in search of big-city life. It’s prompting many municipalities to devise smart ways to keep their existing residents and find new ways to woo new ones. Now, one of Ireland’s most idyllic islands is working hard to lure locals and newcomers back in a big way.

Arranmore Island — Árain Mhór in Gaelic — is situated just three miles off the coast of County Donegal. This spectacular region of Northwest Ireland is among the country’s most rugged, scenic, and downright breathtaking. At roughly 3 miles by 5.5 miles, the island itself is about twice the size of Key West. However, with clean beaches, dozens of sea caves, and rocky overlooks, it packs plenty of outdoor opportunities into its pint-sized footprint. Having been inhabited since prehistoric times, it’s also one of Ireland’s oldest settlements. Some of the country’s most cherished ancient traditions, and the Gaelic language itself, continue to this day. You might say it’s among the “most Irish” part of Ireland.

Carsten Krieger/Getty Images / Getty

Despite its rich heritage and picture-perfect landscape, however, it’s lost a substantial part of its population. Since the time of the Great Famine in the mid-1800s, its numbers dwindled to just 469 people. As recently as this century, most job opportunities revolved around fishing and farming. Young people, in particular, have fled the island in droves in search of big-city living and more lucrative jobs, more social opportunities, and better access to technology. Every year, thousands of visitors head to the island to appreciate its traditional, small-town charm. But, for locals and prospective immigrants, that sense of feeling “frozen in time” has made Arranmore a tough sell for anyone looking to start a 21st-century business.

“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 Irish government finally recognized this shortcoming, and recently announced Arranmore’s most significant technological advance ever. The island is now the country’s first offshore digital hub, complete with state-of-the-art internet. Its medical centers, schools, public facilities, and private businesses now enjoy access to that high-speed connectivity. This has prompted many in the community to offer an open invitation to foreigners — Americans, in particular. They’re hoping it will encourage some number of families and remote workers to give up urban living in favor of Arranmore’s island charm. That it’s already home to thriving creative businesses from game developers and graphic designers to artisans and photographers is proof that living and working there is a viable modern lifestyle.

For digital nomads who can work from almost anywhere, the island’s sales pitch is an enticing one. Their invitation letter reads, “Your commute, no matter where you are, will only ever be five minutes. 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.” Indeed.

To see if a move to the Emerald Isle is right for you, check out Arranmore’s official Facebook page to connect with locals and the community or email They’re waiting for you.

If Scotland is more your speed, you might be interested in Stronsay.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
Michelob Wants to Pay You $50K to Explore the U.S. National Parks
google earth national parks tour yosemite national park

Although low-calorie craft beers have come a long way in the last decade, most beer snobs turn their noses up at these so-called “healthy” options. But, most beer snobs will also agree that getting paid to travel for six months in a tricked-out campervan sounds pretty awesome, no matter what beer they bring for the ride. Enter the new Michelob Ultra Pure Gold CEO contest.

This month, Michelob Ultra put out the call for a new CEO. Unlike most executive head honcho positions, however, this “Chief Exploration Officer” requires only a love of beer, some basic driving skills, and a willingness to spend six months exploring the U.S. National Parks in depth. Tentative stops include Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Big Bend. Michelob will provide the winner of the Pure Gold CEO contest with a full-featured, self-contained campervan, all the gas required for their trip, and plenty of beer to boot. In addition to covering most trip-related expenses, the beermaker will also pay the new CEO a handsome $50,000 salary. They’re welcome to bring a guest, too (including a friend, partner, or even a dog), so the trip is more of a fun, shared journey than a sad, “drinking alone in a campervan in the desert” experience.

Read more
The Isle of Rum Wants You to Move to Scotland’s Inner Hebrides
move isle of rum scotland

Most mortal men have dreamed of chucking it all -- the mortgage, the job, the car payment, and the tomato garden -- and moving somewhere far, far away. Right now seems like the perfect time to realize that dream. If you’re serious about it, one remote island in Scotland would like to make you a deal.

The ancient Isle of Rum in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides archipelago is looking to grow its community. Town leaders began construction on four modest two-bedroom homes near Rum’s only settlement, the village of Kinloch. For applicants who commit to at least a two-year stay, monthly rent is less than $600. Locals want families or individuals who will actively contribute through hard work, volunteering, and participating in community events. Tourism, child care, food industry, and skilled construction workers are all in demand. Because of the small population, most residents work more than one job. The mayor may also be the mail carrier and the fire chief, too.

Read more
You Can Demand a Cash Refund (Not a Voucher) for Your Canceled Flight
black friday cyber monday

It’s heartening to see that many businesses are doing the right thing for their customers and employees during this unprecedented pandemic. The reaction from domestic airlines, however, has been another matter. One of the most glaring ways they’re currently screwing over ticket-holding passengers is by only offering flight vouchers instead of the refunds they’re legally owed.

In a recent memo, the U.S. Department of Transporation (DOT) confirmed it’s received an alarming number of new complaints from passengers. Many are being denied cash refunds, even for flights that were substantially delayed or canceled altogether due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some major airlines are wrongly telling passengers they’re only eligible to receive credits or flight vouchers for future travel. The DOT clearly states that this is in direct violation of the contract of carriage (the legally binding agreement between airline and passenger on every flight). In their words:

Read more