A FORMER naval tender is already proving to be a popular hit on Airbnb for owner Dawna Connolly after she converted the 37ft boat into quirky accommodation at her farm in Ballinspittle outside Kinsale.
Sleeping up to four people, ‘Nesbitt’ is a bright blue-and-white land-locked boat that comes with a kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom and is certainly unusual in the accommodation rental stakes.
Inspired by visits to similar converted boats in Wales, Dawna – who also rents out a converted cottage for four on their farm – had been looking to find a boat that she could convert into suitable accommodation.
With husband Thomas, the couple have two children, several donkeys, ponies, hens and even an alpaca.
‘I had been thinking of it for a while and I ended up buying this boat in Cobh. It had been lying idle for about eight years and I had no real details about it from the seller, but it was the portmaster in Kinsale who reckons it’s an ex-naval tender possibly, and dating from the 1960s,’ Dawna told The Southern Star.
‘It was very well made and a bit over-engineered and that’s something the navy would do, and it wouldn’t have been a pleasure boat as such,’ she explained.
‘We were tipping away at it and first we had to gut it. It took a couple of months and we took out the engine too. Then we went on holidays in Wales and saw what others have done and that kind of gave us ideas about what to do with the inside of it.’
With the help of her father PJ and local carpenter Anto Crowley, they spent the best part of 18 months working on it.
‘Because it’s a boat, it’s uneven and curved, and all the levels are different. We had to cut a big hole out of it to put the door in, which we sourced from an ice ship in Glasgow.’
They ended up digging a giant hole in their garden and basically built up around it – they added a pink bench outside for the finishing touch.
‘The first guest was a lady from Cobh with her two children and they loved it. They put up a great review on the site after they stayed here. My kids love it too and think it’s great craic – they have had friends for sleepovers in it.’