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A Lockdown Project in Memory of Paddy

Cork siblings Thomas, Anna, Rachel and Niall McCarthy lost Patrick on May 1 last year. Reeling with shock, they came home to the family farm at Ballinadee, near Kinsale – and resolved to take on a project in his memory. Thomas had to travel for 23 hours and on three flights back from Canada to be with his mother and siblings in Kinsale for the funeral Mass.
Thomas said there were no warning signs leading up to the suicide of his beloved father who was aged just 59. Paddy McCarthy was a humorous and kind husband and father who took great pride in his farm and his family. He loved Bruce Springsteen, dancing and parties, his family recalled.

Since his death, the McCarthy family has raised over €32,000 for mental health charity, Pieta House. “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and leaves such destruction and devastation behind for families,” Mr McCarthy’s daughter Rachel said. Appealing to people who are in emotional pain, and who offer wear psychological “masks” to disguise their difficulties, Ms McCarthy said: “There are so many people out there who can provide help.”

From Bus to BnB

Sisters Anna and Rachel, brother Thomas and Anna’s fiancé Aiden wanted to keep themselves occupied during the current Covid-19 crisis as well as coping with their grief. Thomas said: “We wanted to do something different to keep ourselves occupied during Lockdown.”

Thomas set his sights on buying an old bus they could convert into a funky AirbnB rental after he saw what his friend Roisin in Dingle had done to convert one. He said: “As soon as I saw it done up I said, ‘I want one’.” He finally got his hands on a 1999-reg, 78-seater former Dublin Bus with 597,000km on the clock for a mere €2,500, and the challenge began. The three siblings pitched in converting it to luxury accommodation over seven months.

For three siblings from a small village in West Cork, it is a chance to take advantage of their natural surroundings. They started by stripping out the seats downstairs to make up more room. Then they took out the seats upstairs which took a lot longer to do, because of how old some of screws are.
“Gutting it was the easy part. Now we are trying to figure out how to insulate the bus before kitting it out with a bathroom and kitchen. “The bus will be situated on the family farm in Ballinadee.

Revved up and Ready to Go

The family documented their renovation work on TikTok with their first video having over 2.4 million views.

Ballinadee Bus is one of the lockdown DIY projects that features on Dermot Bannon’s Super Small Spaces which aired on RTÉ One. The telly architect said: “This is a project driven from healing. It was very emotional getting to know them. “They used this project to kind of take their minds off things. “The journey was chaos but we fell in love with them, they were so much craic.” You can watch the episode here.

“We never would have sold the farm because we always had an interest in it, Rachel is the main farmer among us. “But we sold off the beef cattle and now we have rescue animals – goats, sheep and a pony. Our focus now is on organic farming, not intensive agriculture.”

The McCarthys are now considering their next project with plenty planned for the 125-acre farm. Thomas said: “I’d say we’ll go down the glamping pods route, and I definitely want another bus. Working together has brought us closer together and it’s a nice little memorial to dad. “I think he’d be more in shock than anything that we pulled it off… but I think he would be proud.”

The McCarthy’s most popular TikTok – which currently has over 2.4 million views!

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