Plane sailing: Boeing 767 travels up Shannon to new home

Businessman David McGowan transporting the Russian 767 to its new home in Co Sligo

A decommissioned Russian Boeing 767 makes its way up the up Shannon to the sea heading for Enniscrone where it will be the centrepiece of a transport themed glamping village in Enniscrone. Video: Eamon Doody, Skyview Photography & Kevin Daly Video

Is it a barge? Is it a plane? No, it’s...both.

Normally when you hear of a Boeing passenger plane taxiing up at Shannon, it's not the river that comes to mind.

But businessman David McGowan, determined to transport his decommissioned Russian 767 to a new “glamping” site in Co Sligo, decided its ultimate voyage would be of the old school variety.

The aircraft - which will be the centrepiece accommodation at an alternative transport themed glamping village in Enniscrone - was transferred from the runway at Shannon Airport to Knockbeg Point.


From there, workers spent six hours loading the 159 foot hull onto a barge to sail north by sea and on to its final destination.

"We pulled out all the stops to assist, with safety and minimising disruption to airport customers our key priority," explained Deirdre Whitney, property manager at Shannon Airport.

“I certainly never thought I would see the day when an aircraft would be put on a barge and set sail out the estuary. It will have a new lease of life which will boost not only the local economy in Enniscrone, but right along the Wild Atlantic Way.”

The journey began on Thursday evening and was expected to take 36 hours.

At 50 tonnes, hoisting the plane onto the barge required the skills of various Shannon Airport employees including engineers, operations experts, private contractors and even security.

They began last weekend by removing the aircraft’s wings and loading it onto a truck which brought it to Knockbeg Point. Yesterday at dawn, a 750 tonne crane heaved it on board in the Shannon Estuary.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times