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Queen's team plot course to save landmark Donegal wreck

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The painting of the boat on the beach at Gweedore, Donegal, by artist Michelle Duffy

The painting of the boat on the beach at Gweedore, Donegal, by artist Michelle Duffy

Artist Michelle Duffy

Artist Michelle Duffy

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The painting of the boat on the beach at Gweedore, Donegal, by artist Michelle Duffy

A team from Queen's University Belfast will travel to Gweedore, Co Donegal this week as part of efforts to preserve the wreckage of a fishing boat washed up on a beach over 40 years ago.

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

A local ship builder 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, built in the western French region of Brittany, has fallen into serious disrepair over the last 43 years and is in danger of disintegrating completely.

Its future has now been taken up by a local committee who hope to preserve and design a replica structure to replace it to keep tourism alive.

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The committee launched its campaign with a concert at the wreck featuring some of Donegal's best-known musicians including Clannad singer Moya Brennan and Altan's Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh while a Gofundme page has raised over €7,000.

The organisers have appealed for help far and wide - including to the Donegal diaspora abroad - and when it is safe to do so, they plan to hold an auction of paintings of the boat, promised to them by many prominent artists including Co Fermanagh-based Michelle Duffy.

Michelle, who runs Garrison-based studio 'Camlake Canvas, said: "I love this place and it has inspired a lot of my art works over the years. I've been trying to think of ways that I can help so I will be donating all the profits from any sales of my pieces to the fundraising."

A team from the Northern Ireland Technology Centre, based at Queen's University, is due in the area later this week to create 3D images which will help with designing a second, permanent structure.

Anne Marie Ferry, a member of the committee, said the boat is vital to the future of tourism in the area: "We have to preserve this boat because if it falls apart there will be nobody coming back to visit this area.

"If it goes then there's nothing left in Gaoth Dobhair."


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