How far would you go for a more socially distanced life?

Rathlin is Northern Ireland's only populated offshore island. Credit: UTV

Social distancing has become a big part of all our lives, but whether it’s with Covid-19 in mind or just escaping the “rat race” for a better work-life balance, how does life on an isolated island sound?

While restrictions imposed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been tough for some people, especially those unused to relative solitude, others have embraced it.

Working from home has allowed some people to recalibrate their outlook on life, escape the commute, and spend more time with loved ones.

But one family has taken an even bigger step, uprooting themselves from Cambridge in England and moving to one of Northern Ireland’s most isolated locations – Rathlin Island, off the North Coast.

Rathlin Island, off the coast of Ballycastle, is accessible by ferry. Credit: UTV

“Over lockdown, we just felt we wanted to move somewhere where, as a family, we could live together with a bit more freedom, with a bit more space around us,” Andrew Stobart told UTV.

His wife Rebekah added: “We came across Rathlin and then just thought… Well, why not?”

And the Stobarts are not alone in making such a move.

According to local estate agents, there is a rise in demand from people who are now able to work remotely and who want to make the most of it.


Why not go the whole hog and, you know, not just the coast, but why not live on an island? It’s just so beautiful.

Rebekah Stobart

Rathlin is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island and is accessible by ferry.

Telephone cables may have been installed in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that mains electricity became available.

Locals would still say island life isn’t easy or for everyone, but for those now looking to embrace a more tranquil existence, it is easy to see the appeal of such a getaway.


Video report by Sarah Clarke: