A SLIGO funeral director has revealed his plans to move a 70-tonne airplane to his home county – by shipping it along Ireland’s west coast.
David McGowan, who runs Ballina Funeral Home in Co. Mayo, bought the Boeing 767 passenger plane from Shannon Airport in Co. Clare as part of his new business venture – a glamping site with vehicles as accommodation.
The disused Russian plane, which Mr McGowan bought for €20,000, is 159-foot long, 70 tonne, Boeing 767 with a 140-foot, or 48 metre, wingspan.
Mr McGowan originally wanted to bring the plane to Sligo by road – but after planning his route, discovered that two bridges were his stumbling blocks.
“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,” he said.
“I had 136 ESB wires to lift, I had 23 traffic lights to lift, I had 97 Telecom Éireann wires to lift.”
Because of the size of the aircraft, he is unable to transport it by road and will take to the water instead.
Using a barge shipped in from Liverpool, Mr McGowan will now transport the plane to its new home at Quirky Glamping Village Enniscrone, West Sligo, by taking it along the west coast of Ireland.
The plane is still in Shannon Airport but will soon become part of the furniture at the high-end camping village – which will have everything from boats to cars as accommodation.
“I got the idea of turning old types of transportation into accommodation,” Mr McGowan told Irish radio station 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.”
Now with new plans in place and a British barge on hand, the plane will set sail for Enniscrone on March 21 when the tide is high.
“I was determined not to be beat,” Mr McGowan said. “The option of going by sea, instead of the road, means there is a possibility I can get this jet intact.”