Sunday 18 February 2018

Fasten your seatbelts: 767 reaches dry land

Another view of the decommissioned Boeing 767 coming ashore at Enniscrone Photo: Andy Newman
Another view of the decommissioned Boeing 767 coming ashore at Enniscrone Photo: Andy Newman
The decommissioned Russian Boeing 767 makes its way ashore at Enniscrone Photo: Sean Harrington, Atlantic Towage and Marine
The Boeing being hoisted from its barge and transported to its final resting place, at the Quirky Nights Glamping Village Photo: Sean Harrington, Atlantic Towage and Marine
The aircraft is welcomed by members of the Grainne Uaile Sub-Aqua Club Photo: Henry Wills

Greg Harkin

The businessman behind Ireland's quirkiest campsite is hoping to have his Boeing 767 open for 'glampers' within months.

David McGowan used a barge and a tugboat to bring the 30-year-old jet to the site of the Quirky Nights Glamping Village in Enniscrone, Co Sligo. He plans to convert it into eight double bedrooms, but admitted: "I'll probably miss the summer trade."

Mr McGowan, an undertaker, is awaiting specialist planning permission and will have to pass strict fire safety rules before the first glampers can take up residence, probably in late September. "I suppose everyone thinks I'm mad, but this is going to be the best campsite in Ireland, maybe even the world, when it's finished," he said.

Sean Harrington of Atlantic Towage and Marine said a barge and tugboat were used for the operation. And it wasn't all plane sailing.

"We pushed the barge into place at shallow waters in the Shannon estuary at 5am on Thursday. Everyone involved has to take tides and weather into account when doing something like this," said Mr Harrington, from Bere Island, Co Cork.

The plane was aboard around lunchtime and then had to be tied and welded into place, with weather conditions dictating the rest of the journey. In scenes never seen before along the west coast, the plane was towed from the Shannon estuary towards Killala Bay in Co Sligo, with thousands of people watching its progress from the shore. The plane was due to be brought ashore on Saturday morning. However, bad weather and rough seas meant it was 7pm before it landed.

"There was a big surf on the beach and we couldn't get in close enough as it was too dangerous, so that delayed it for a while - most of the day really," Mr Harrington said.

The Boeing will now be secured and conversion works - subject to planning - will get under way in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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