WHEN Paddy McCarthy told his son and daughters that when they got the farm they could do what they liked, Thomas, Rachel and Anna took him literally.
The McCarthy siblings purchased on old double-decker bus to park on the farm for an Airbnb option with a difference!
“We are full-time farmers, just with a bus!” says Anna McCarthy.
“We have taken over the farm and incorporated a lot of mental health awareness with that. We love working on the farm.”
The trio are their own bosses.
“Now we are doing what we want! Hopefully the bus will pay off.”
The siblings from Ballinadee, who raised €32,000 for Pieta House after their father’s untimely death by suicide on May 1 this year, put their heads together during lockdown to come up with a unique idea of the he Ballinadee Bus. The bespoke double-decker bus is destined to be a novel Airbnb option for people.
“It seemed like the perfect idea to keep us busy for lockdown,” says Thomas, who suggested the idea to his sisters when he visited some friends in Dingle before Covid restrictions, who had converted an old single-decker bus for Airbnb.
“It was something different,” says Thomas.
“When I saw the bus in Dingle, I said, I want one of them”
But the McCarthys don’t do things by halves.
“I wanted a double-decker bus!” says Thomas.
When can we get a tour?
“We hope to have the double-decker bus up and running to rent it out in the spring. Our budget is around €6,000.”
What would his dad have thought of the new creative addition to the farm that will house couples and families, and host parties, including stag and hen parties on site?
“I’d say he would have thought the idea of a double-decker bus on the farm for people visiting and enjoying the area was a quirky and original one!” says Thomas.
“It’ll be one of a kind here in Cork.”
Paddy McCarthy, aged 59, was was a triplet. His brother Tom died in a farm accident in 1968.
“Uncle Gus comes to visit us,” says Thomas. “He is our favourite uncle.”
Paddy’s favourite occupation was farming. He dedicated his life to the land and he had a huge amount of pride in it and a huge emotional attachment to it.
“He really loved the farm,” says Thomas. “It was in his blood.”
Paddy would be happy to see the farm being expanded then?
“He would,” says Thomas.
“The bus is parked on a lovely site here on the farm overlooking the valley. We can plumb it from the house and we are installing a water tank for it.”
Farming in rural Ireland can be a lonely life and it can be isolating. The Airbnb bus will attract some welcome visitors and extra activity to the farm.
“Dad loved music, barbecues, parties, and having the craíc,” says Thomas. “He had a huge presence.”
The Ballinadee Bus will create a huge presence on the family farm.
“We called every bus company that we could and we finally managed to track down what we were looking for,” says Thomas. “We found an old Dublin double-decker bus for sale in September at Ovens Coaches.”
Thomas is a chip off the old block.
“It was on sale for €4,000 but we got it down to 2,500. The bus is in good condition and the engine is in good working order.”
The new gaff near the lush, wooded banks of the river Bandon, will have everything a discerning guest could want for their country farm-experience getaway; an open-plan kitchen, a dining area, a bathroom and two bedrooms.
“We are in the process of kitting the bus out,” says Thomas. “It will sleep six people and we plan to keep many of the original features in the bus as we can.”
There’s a bit of work making the bus liveable?
“The project kept us all going through lockdown. Getting it was the easy part, insulating it and kitting it out with a bathroom and kitchen takes a bit of work.”
The McCarthys work as a team.
“We are impulsive and creative!” say Thomas. “And we all get on well together.”
Thomas is the project manager, older sister Anna is the interior designer while younger sister Rachel is the PR lady working on the social media and video content to promote the Airbnb bus and to attract punters.
“One of our videos got more than 1.5 million views,” says Thomas. “That was amazing.”
The Ballinadee Bus parked up on McCarthy land is a nice tribute to their late father.
“The bus is a nice tribute to dad’s memory,” says Thomas.
“We continue to support Pieta House and down the line we are looking at organising another fundraiser for the charity.”
The McCarthys are productive.
“We are hoping people staying overnight or for longer in the bus will buy our vegetables that we grow on the farm. Rachel, who studied horticulture, is into organic farming.”
Thomas, Rachel and Anna are thrilled that their novel idea is getting a lot of attention.
“Already we have loads bookings for next year,” says Thomas.
He’s not surprised.
“Kinsale is close by and there are five or six fabulous beaches near us.”
Having a family project on the go gives the McCarthys a goal to get on with life.
“It is very exciting,” says Thomas. “Life has to go on.”
Pieta House 24 hour helpine: 1800-24717