A father of six daughters and no sons, the family joke was that with all the girls arriving naturally he had to go out of his way to collect the buoys.
And, collect he did. One rocket-shaped buoy, part of a disparate collection he assembled over a decade and a half and painted a dark bottle green, was kept lit at night, making for a neat guide and marker home along the road for walkers tacking out the way from coastal holiday village Schull’s many pubs in darkness.
Mr Shepphard’s buoys came, in the main, from the local coastline, fished up by trawlers, many after they broke away from their moorings.
Two were one-time markers showing the whereabouts of the wreckage of the Lusitania, off the Old Head of Kinsale. One big buoy was trekked by truck across the country, another is French in origin, and washed off the jetty at Whiddy Island back in 1979 when the tanker the Betelgeuse exploded, with the loss of around 50 lives.
Also collected by the late Mr Shepphard were ships lamps, binnacles, anchors, assorted fittings and helms — but the bold buoys were the stand-out stars, often photographed by passers-by along the seasonally busy Colla Road.
The Sheppard family home is being offered for sale via local estate agent Martin Swanton, who says it is in a fairly prime setting on what’s probably Schull’s gold coast in residential property terms (see also side panel.)
Mr Sheppard died several years ago, his wife died last year, and their daughters have decided to sell up having taken away and ‘adopted’ his precious buoys for safe keeping.
The three-bed bungalow is on a site of a third of an acre, with considerable scope and further potential, hence the vendors’ price hopes of €675,000, and it has two entrances. It currently has both an attached store room, and a detached garage with separate store room.
The views are across the harbour, and out the mouth towards the Fastnet......and incoming buoys and gulls galore.