It’s plane sailing for Sligo embalmer’s glamping dream

A Sligo funeral director and embalmer has revealed his plans to move a grounded Boeing 767 aircraft from Shannon Airport to his home town — to use it for camping accommodation in his field.
It’s plane sailing for Sligo embalmer’s glamping dream

David McGowan revealed his plans to start a “Quirky Glamping Village” in his field in Enniscrone, West Sligo — and how he hopes to host guests in converted vehicles of various types.

“I got the idea of turning old types of transportation into accommodation,” Mr McGowan told the Anton Savage Show on Today FM. “I rang around the three different airports, Dublin, Cork and Shannon and Shannon was the only one that got back to me and they said they had one but that it was no good to me.”

The plane in Shannon was an engineless 159-foot long, 70 tonne, Boeing 767 with a 140-metre wingspan. The airport told Mr McGowan they believed it would be too big for him.

“I went down and looked at it and said ‘Right, I’m thinking of putting this in my back garden,” he said. However the plane, left behind by a Russian company that went into liquidation, was firmly sealed with frozen bolts. Having bought it for €20,000, Mr McGowan then tried to figure a way of moving it by road.

“We put the whole process into place and engineered the whole thing and after eight months we found that there were two bridges in Clare that we just couldn’t get under,” he said.

“We were all about to do it but these bridges were giving us a problem, and the county councils wouldn’t allow me put a crane on the bridge to lift it over because they didn’t want me stopping traffic going into Limerick City.

“I had 136 ESB wires to lift, I had 23 traffic lights to lift, I had 97 Telecom Éireann wires to lift.

“I went down to a meeting and you couldn’t convince three local authorities to put 500 tonne cranes on these things, sure you could collapse the bridge.

“So there was no point in even bringing engineers in to try and convince them, you just walk away and come up with another plan. I wasn’t determined to be beat. So – the sea,” Mr McGowan said.

“The option of going by sea, instead of the road, means there is a possibility I can get this jet intact.”

Using a barge from Liverpool, Mr McGowan plans to bring the plane up the west coast to Enniscrone.

Having studied the tides, he hopes to make the move between March 21 and 26, during high tide.

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