Recently, a man called David McGowan - an undertaker from Enniscrone in County Sligo - undertook a very different role when he became the instigator of a project to move a Boeing 767 plane from Shannon Airport to a field in Enniscrone, for use as accommodation in his transport-themed Quirky Glamping Village. The Anton Savage Show on Today FM sourced the story of what David planned to do and then championed him and followed the project as it unfolded over time, sharing details with the whole country and, indeed, the world, of the massive task that David McGowan dared to dream could actually happen.
The plane is a retired Boeing 767, which is 159-foot-long, weighs 70 tonnes, has a wing span of 140 metres, and has no engine. Thus, it could not be brought by air to Sligo, so the plan was to bring it by road. Taking months of planning, the logistics of this task were complex to say the least. The first option was to transport the plane by road, and this would involve lifting electricity and telephone wires as well as traffic lights. However, several bridges along the route proved impassable, and this put paid to the road as a viable option.
Planning teams then switched to figuring out how to bring the plane to her new home by sea, and this was the chosen option. This involved transporting the jet on a 155-foot barge from Shannon up to Sligo where, in a lengthy overnight operation involving teams of professionals, she was first beached and then transferred by crane onto a trailer. From here, in the early hours of May 8th 2016, she made the last leg of her journey by road to her final home as centre stage in the Quirky Glamping Village. The plane now sits in the village, awaiting her renovation into luxury camping accommodation as well as completion of the remainder of the glamping site.
This story captured the imagination of people like nothing before, and it did so right from the very first moment that the Anton Savage Show covered it, when Anton interviewed David McGowan. People eagerly followed the updates on the radio show and kept asking how the project was going. When it came to the day of the big move from Shannon to Sligo, interest intensified. Today FM took the Anton Savage Show to Enniscrone to broadcast a special radio show covering the mammoth task of bringing this plane to the glamping village. Thousands of people made their way to Enniscrone over those few days, many bringing their children on the journey to see this piece of history-in-the-making. T-shirts were designed; signs were made in support of the project. Accommodation in the area was booked solid; traffic jams were the order of the day well into the early hours of the morning as people flocked to the area. Twitter went crazy for the story, and over several days and nights users kept those who were not on site updated with regular snippets, photos and video footage of what was going on. An enterprising phone company set up a live feed so that people could watch the project unfold, and they had over 100,000 viewers watching their footage of the event.
So, what was it about this project that captured people’s attention to such an extent, that it propelled them to take action in their thousands and either travel to Enniscrone or follow the happenings online with serious commitment? What was it that inspired so many people to give their time and expertise, free-of-charge, to the final stage of this project and without expectation of anything in return?
I think that it was because David McGowan dared to dream and that, deep down, we all need to be able to dream and be able to believe that we can make those dreams happen. In life, we get to feel something very special when we go out on a limb and dare to dream, and even those of us following the story got to feel some very special emotions during the experience:
We admired the courage of a dream this mammoth, this complex, this outlandish.
We felt inspired by the idea that it was David against the world, that when all those obstacles came in front of him along the way he just gave it some thought, worked with his team and came up with solutions.
We were awed by the talent and teamwork of those who played a part in bringing this project to completion, knowing that they must all have been mentally and physically spent by the end.
We were heartened by the sense of kindness and the sense of togetherness in Enniscrone over those few days, with thousands of people present and all peaceful and looking out for one another.
We were encouraged by the sense of possibility that, when you put the right plan in place, you can actually make even the longest odds happen.
#PlaneSailing in May 2016 made us all feel something, and we need to bring this into our own lives and get out there and have a go at the things that we dream of. Because daring to dream makes you feel truly alive. It doesn’t have to be anything nearly as big as moving a plane. It can be making the leap to change job or career; it could be daring to ask that cute guy/girl on the train if they would like to go for coffee; it could be saying yes to the person who asks you for coffee; it may be committing to a health and fitness plan that will bring you the body that you want. Whatever it is that you dream about doing, do a David McGowan and figure out how to make it happen, and when your plan is all in place then take a leap of faith and go for it. Whatever the outcome, your payback will be great feelings of satisfaction gathered just by even working towards making this dream a reality.
“However ordinary each of us may seem, we are all in some way special and can do things that are extraordinary; perhaps, until then, even thought impossible. The particular target we see may not be important. But what is important is the profoundly satisfying effort in thought, feeling, and hard work necessary to achieve this success” ~ Roger Bannister, first person to ever run a sub 4-minute mile.