I had this fantastic idea for a story – a long-running serial, even – about a Sligo undertaker who wants to move an old airliner half way up the country to join the double decker buses and rail carriages in his new glamping (glamorous camping) campsite.
Nah, too improbable, no one would believe that could ever happen…
But, proving fact can be stranger than fiction, this week Easkey undertaker David McGowan has been in the news as he takes his ‘big yoke’ Boeing 767 from Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland up to Enniscrone in County Sligo, via the Atlantic Ocean.
Of course, it was too big to move by road, and being decommissioned it wasn’t able to fly (not that it could have landed anywhere near its intended destination!), so began an ambitious plan to take the wings off and load the plane by crane onto a barge and put to sea.
Now that’s something you don’t see every day, a big aeroplane on the back of a flat barge being towed behind a little tugboat in the middle of the ocean. So off we went to take a look (along with thousands of others).
We watched as the plane came into Killala Bay and just had to marvel at the wonderful improbability of it all – and what a spectacle!
We’ve been following the on-off, will-they-won’t-they project as red tape, the laws of physics, and the weather hindered plans. But listening to David McGowan’s hilarious commentaries on the radio and following his Tweets and Facebook updates has been very entertaining.
I think what he is doing is a major publicity push for the Wild Atlantic Way and even if people don’t want to do the glamorous camping thing, they’ll head for Enniscrone to take a look at an airliner at home in a field there, won’t they?
For the record, the plane is an Irish-registered American-built Boeing 767 – 216, which had its first flight on May 16th 1986 (Happy 30th Birthday next week, Big Yoke!). It has flown all around the world after being originally registered in Chile, then America before getting its Irish registration EI-CZD when it was leased to Russian airline Transaero.
And how do I know this stuff? I’m married to an aviation expert, that’s how!