Lifestyle – It was once a school bus working the busy streets of London, but hard work and vision turned an old double-decker into luxury accommodation with all the attributes of a classy hotel… a stone’s throw from the Wild Atlantic Way. THOMAS HACKETT meets the proud owner.
A 7kw wood-burning stove occupies the heart of the Wild Atlantic Bus, with hardwood floors and fine upholstery throughout to ensure it’s a cosy refuge from the west’s unforgiving climate – all parked up overlooking Lough Corrib, outside the village of Oughterard.
Where once schoolkids jumped over seats, there is now a living space that can comfortably fit six people, with three bedrooms, a toilet, bath, washer and dryer – and a laptop friendly workplace.
Richard Barton is the owner and operator of the Wild Atlantic Bus, and the man responsible for its reinvention. “It’s alternative living, but sure you could live in it,” he says.
And while he is clearly a man with a vision, the irony is that the Wild Atlantic Bus was not originally intended to act as guest accommodation at all.
Instead, Richard converted the old bus in order to have room for his two daughters when they came to visit – but after much encouragement from those around him, he soon came to realize the potential the bus had as a boarding house for guests.
“People were telling me how amazing it was and how it would be a grand Airbnb or rental, so I said yes, let’s create an experience,” he says.
The conversion was no easy task however. “It was really labour of love,” said Richard. “It took me about a year; a lot of time went into it and I did probably 98% of it myself.”
All the carpentry and electrical work in the bus was carried out by Richard, but the design process was a team effort.
“I have two fabulous daughters and they love interior design so they were brilliant.”
Its owner believes that he now boasts the first guest lodging in Ireland to incorporate a bus into its design – and although he expended much effort on the interior of the bus, Richard did not neglect its surroundings either.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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