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Ship shape: QUB scans remains of vanishing Bád Eddie Donegal wreck

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Shipwreck: Andrew McMaster from Retec Engineering conducts a scan of Bád Eddie

Shipwreck: Andrew McMaster from Retec Engineering conducts a scan of Bád Eddie

A scan taken at the weekend by the Queen’s University team

A scan taken at the weekend by the Queen’s University team

Shipwreck: Andrew McMaster from Retec Engineering conducts a scan of Bád Eddie

Researchers from Queen's University in Belfast have carried out a 3D survey on the famous Bád Eddie shipwreck in Co Donegal.

The detailed laser scanning survey of the vessel at Magheraclogher Beach in Gweedore took place over the weekend.

Bád Eddie (Eddie's Boat) has become an iconic structure on the beach since it came ashore for minor repairs in 1977.

A local shipbuilder carried out the repairs needed to some planks after it came aground but the engine was never replaced and the boat has remained there for decades, becoming part of the landscape.

The fishing boat is a popular tourist attraction while locals also pose beside it for weddings, communion and even christening photographs.

It has featured in Vogue magazine as well as in music videos by Clannad and U2.

However Bád Eddie has fallen into serious disrepair over the past 43 years.

Now a local committee has been set up to preserve what's left of it before it disintegrates completely and in a bid to keep tourism alive.

They have launched a campaign to incorporate the wooden skeleton into a stainless steel full-size replica that would be Ireland's first permanent sculpture in the sea.

A Gofundme page has so far raised over €12,000.

"The emotional attachment that everybody has to the boat is phenomenal. If it disappeared there would be a lot of heartbreak in the area," committee member Sonia Nic Giolla Easbuig said.

Colm Higgins from the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen's University Belfast picked up a Facebook post by Sonia and joined in the effort to preserve Bád Eddie.

He contacted two partner colleagues - Andrew McMaster from Retec Engineering and Paul O'Neill of Inspection Equipment - who work with him in the university to help with the scanning survey.

The scan has digitally captured the boat's exact dimensions and also recorded its current condition.

This will be used to monitor and protect it from future erosion and help to determine how best to proceed with preserving the wreck.

"Firstly we are working closely with the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen's to create a 3D model which we will bring back to the committee," Mr Higgins said.

"There's no shortage of ideas in terms of what to do but collecting the data over the weekend has been core to building on that.

"We want to create an engaging sculpture that will represent what the boat was.

"Because so many photographs have been taken of the boat down the years we are also considering asking people to share their own images to create a photographic history which would help to document its deterioration," he added.

Belfast Telegraph