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Buying a double decker bus and turning it into living accommodation mightn't be on the to-do list for many young people, but for 24 year old Jack McGrath from Saval near Newry it has become part of his life since he purchased it two years ago, spending the last year working on it.

Before the project Jack had been working in a power station doing environmental management and had managed to save enough to buy the bus.

As he explains "My original aim for doing it was as an alternative idea to housing because housing is quite expensive now, I was originally going to live in it, but recently I've decided to rent it out for people going on holidays, glamping and that."

All Aboard - Jack McGrath is turning a double decker bus into quirky accommodation. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
All Aboard - Jack McGrath is turning a double decker bus into quirky accommodation. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

As he doesn't own land the plan is to partner up with perhaps a farmer who would like to try out a tourism project or even an existing Glamping site or even someone with a patch of land who want to try something new.

The 1989 Leyland which was in service in Kent was driven to Heysham to Warrenpoint and then to Mayobridge where it sits at present.

The beautiful wood panelled kitchen. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The beautiful wood panelled kitchen. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Work is at an advanced stage with kitchen, bathroom, flooring, panelling and bed frames all already installed and Jack plans to complete the work himself in the near future, painting the outside, finishing the sleeping accommodation and living room areas leaving just the provision of plumbing and electricity supply at any prospective site.

Jack McGrath upstairs in the bus, Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Jack McGrath upstairs in the bus, Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Once it's all complete, downstairs there will be a fully kitted out kitchen, dining/ living area complete with wood burner, a toilet and sink, external shower unit and the option for a double bed. Upstairs there will be a double bed at the back, two single beds at the front and a living room in the middle on the upstairs deck"

Despite very little experience apart from a bit of labouring while his family home was being built it was very much learn on the job. As he says "I did a lot of learning"

Jack McGrath with his double decker bus. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Jack McGrath with his double decker bus. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Keeping the drivers seat and the original stairs was a must, giving the project real character, blending the original features with the new additions.

The project did throw up many difficulties, one of the hardest parts stripping it inside thanks to some incredibly strong glue! "The glue they used in the 1980's, I don't think you can buy it any more, It's like rock solid. Trying to pull off the metal panels was an absolute nightmare." At some stages he found himself hanging off panels and they still didn't budge.

A more enjoyable bit though was the wood work with the fitting of paneling on walls and ceiling all done by Jack himself, as was the case for most of the work although he had to get an electrician for the electrical work.

The original stairs feature prominently. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The original stairs feature prominently. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The bus certainly has the potential to become a quirky addition to the local tourism offering. If you can help with providing a location for the bus or know someone who can, Jack can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also find out more on his progress at twitter.com

www.instagram.com

www.facebook.com

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