Sarah and Luke Flanagan, a couple from the UK, have managed to do what the world has not yet been able to: stop worrying about the pandemic, and avoiding some of its consequences. They have been living on a desert island for over a year. The couple — Luke (34) and Sarah (36)— landed on the remote island of Owey in County Donegal, Ireland, two days before confinement measures were implemented.
They are originally from Leeds, but were enjoying life in the Scottish Highlands when the opportunity to pursue the ultimate adventure appeared in their lives. The conditions on the island are not those of a paradise either. Their new home has no electricity, gas or running water. On the other hand, they are far from any restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“We use a tank to collect rainwater,” said Sarah, a social worker. “We cook using large gas bottles that we also store in the summer months.” She noted that there are 4Gs in the area, as well as solar panels on to charge the car batteries and cell phones.
With the help of a boat, the couple went to the mainland during the summer to replenish and accumulate food reserves for the winter. They also fish, grow vegetables and raise chickens, since they have some other limitations living on this desert island.
Some moments stand out as glimpses of bliss: walks with unparalleled scenery, without the need for social distancing or wearing a mask. “The whole experience is incredible, the pace of life is very slow but it is lovely,” said Luke, who is a carpenter by trade. “We spend our days walking the dogs, growing our own food and learning new skills.” He makes it very clear, however, that the experience is not for everyone.
The question that almost immediately arises is: how long they will stay on the island? Whether it’s the conditions, the sentimentality, missing loved ones or just boredom. Yet for the time being, the Flanagans don’t have the answer. They are at peace, in one of the few places in the world that has not been affected by the pandemic. Owey Island is a small piece of land off the coast of Donegal, with no schools or stores and only two narrow roads running through it. The Flanagans claim that the last time someone spent the winter on the island was in 1974.