Development & Alumni Relations Office 


11 September 2020

A team of researchers from Queen’s University are lending their expertise to save the famous Donegal shipwreck, Bád Eddie.

Colm Higgins, Head of the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s and Dr William Megarry, Senior Lecturer in Geographical Information Science and Archaeology at the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s, have been working with a local committee who came together to help preserve the wreckage on Bunbeg's Magheraclogher beach, in Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), County Donegal.

Using the latest laser scanning technology, the team captured a 3D scan of the wreck and will use the data to determine how best to proceed with the preservation of the boat by capturing the exact dimensions of the structure. It is hoped that a stainless-steel casing can act as a protective barrier for the ship.

Built in Brittany, France and originally named Ami Des Flots (Friend of the Waves), it was renamed Cara na Mara (Friend of the Sea), and later became known as Bád Eddie (Eddie’s Boat) after the man who owned it.

It came ashore for minor repairs in 1977 and has been stranded there ever since. It has been featured in Vogue magazine as well as the music video for In a Lifetime by Clannad and Bono.

Talking about the project, Colm Higgins said:

“Queen’s became involved as I used to holiday frequently in Bunbeg and was aware of Bád Eddie. I contacted the committee and offered to take a 3D scan before anymore erosion took place.

“The scan will be an important record of its current condition and can be used to monitor or protect it from future erosion. The project is a powerful example of how digital technologies can be used to record heritage at risk, especially in coastal regions like Donegal. 

“There will be post processing of the data before we can then look at the potential possibilities of creating a metal replica using 3D printing techniques.” 

The technology the Queen’s team used is Leica 3D Laser Scanning from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. Paul O’Neil from Inspection Ireland joined the Queen’s team, along with Andrew McMaster from Retec Solutions, an SME with expertise in metrology and reverse engineering.

Andrew and Paul are both technology partners within the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s and they work together frequently on aerospace related activities.

Some of Donegal’s leading performers – including Clannad's Moya Brennan and Altan singer and fiddle player Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, came together for an online concert to raise funds for the project. The local committee GoFundMe page has already raised almost €11,000 of its €15,000 goal.

Media enquiries should be addressed to the Communications Officer at Queen’s University Belfast. 

Headline image credit: Bád Eddie with Errigal Mountain in the background John Daye at the English Wikipedia.

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