Proposed plans could mean an iconic shipwreck in Donegal will be replaced with a replica.
Anyone lucky enough to visit the stunning Magheraclogher Beach in Bunbeg, west Donegal, may be familiar with ‘Bád Eddie’, translated ‘Eddie’s Boat’.
The shipwreck first appeared along the stretch of sand in 1977 and has since become a treasured feature among the Gaeltacht community of Gaoth Dobhair, translated ‘Gweedore’.
Years of exposure to the wild Atlantic elements have left the boat in a hazardous condition, giving way to the idea of replacing it with a life-size steel replica.
The skeletal remains of the trawler were first referred to by locals as ‘Cara Na Mara’, translated ‘Friend of the Sea’ before later being christened ‘Bád Eddie’.
The shipwreck in Donegal shot to stardom in 1986 when it appeared in the music video to ‘In a Lifetime’ by Irish bands U2 and Clannad.
It went on to feature in several adverts and magazines, sparking global interest in the history of the marooned relic.
With a dramatic Mount Errigal backdrop, the eye-catching boat has been used to enhance special occasions, appearing in photographs from fun selfies to wedding snaps.
Not to mention becoming a treasured landmark to the local community who have welcomed visitors from across the globe when they come to admire the ghostly ship.
Health and safety concerns
After being exposed to the harsh elements that go hand in hand with Irish weather, Bád Eddie has become a safety concern in recent years.
The wooden hull has been continuously soaked by the saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean and is rotting from the inside out.
The entire structure of the ship is becoming weaker making it dangerous to anyone who comes close to her.
It is no longer safe for children to climb onto for a game of pirates or for a newly wedded couple to pose alongside on their happy day.
The proposed solution, therefore, is to build a life-size steel replica of the iconic ship so it can be remembered and enjoyed for years to come.
A fitting tribute
The reconstruction would be created by Buncrana artist John McCarron but only after the proposal is agreed by the public.
The plans for the sculpture will be discussed at a meeting held at Ionad Naomh Padraig in Gweedore where members of the close community are welcome.
Donegal Sinn Fein TD, Pearse Doherty is taking a keen interest in the plans for Bád Eddie and will also attend the planning meeting.
He told Irish News that he had been in contact with the artist and believes the meeting is vital to make sure local people are involved in the plans.
He said, “I have been working closely with Donegal sculptor John McCarron on a proposal for the site which includes a plan to create a replica full-size stainless-steel sculpture of Bád Eddie and have it erected on the strand at Magheraclogher where Bád Eddie now sits.”
Mr Doherty acknowledges that the shipwreck in Donegal does pose a safety issue and should be removed but that it should be replaced with a fitting tribute.
The new piece of art can then become a tourist attraction in its own right and the Gweedore area can continue to welcome visitors who want to admire the boat and learn about its fascinating history.
John McCarron will be the proud artist to create the steel replica of Bád Eddie and he is certainly a talented choice.
In November 2018 McCarron’s ‘Tower of Silence’ sculpture was chosen to stand outside St. Mary’s Church, on the corner of Abercrombie Street, in Glasgow.
It was designed as a stark reminder of the thousands of Irish people who died or who were forced to emigrate during the Great Famine.
Work on the sculpture began in June of this year and depicts three emaciated figures with a quote from ‘The Stricken Land’ by Lade Wilde engraved underneath.
The talented artist can now turn his attention to the plans to create a life-size replica of the shipwreck that has been lying on Magheraclogher Beach for more than 40 years.
Appearing not only in Irish folklore and legends, but the ghostly carcass has also played a role in many people’s lives through photographs and memories.
Once the plans are approved, McCarron will be responsible for creating a life-size steel tribute to replace the hazardous remains.
It will stand as a beacon on the sand so nobody ever forgets the legend of Bád Eddie and the years of enjoyment it brought to the community and beyond.