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Greencastle's Laughing Buddhas raise a smile 15.06.15

by Linda McGrory

AN Inishowen builder is wondering if an unusual hobby could become his bread and Buddha when he retires.
David McIntyre (66) began making huge Laughing Buddhas several years ago.
The heavyweight concrete sculptures take hundreds of hours to make but the stunning result makes people smile.
"I'm not sure exactly where my interest in these Buddhas started. But I like the relaxed nature of them. I'm someone who's always running about doing things and they're the opposite, sitting there, peaceful and chilled out," he laughed.
David with a smaller version of the Laughing Buddha.
In Chinese Zen culture, the Laughing Buddha is a symbol of abundance.
Legend has it that rubbing its rotund belly brings good luck and prosperity.
The semi-retired father-of-four, who lives in Drumaweir, Greencastle, with wife Helen, fashions the ornaments using metal mesh in the centre for support.
He then shapes the wet concrete by hand, layer-upon-layer, until the lucky charms take shape.
The first Buddha he made is also the largest and heaviest.
It stands over four feet tall and weighs a half-tonne. It took over two months to make and can only be lifted using a tractor. It currently holds court in his back yard awaiting installation in a suitable spot in the garden. A smaller version sits serenely under a leafy, nearby tree.
 David McIntyre with the first Laughing Buddha he made. It weighs a half-tonne and took over two months to make.
The Donegal Buddhas have begun getting noticed with one local couple recently taking delivery of a stunning, gold-painted version, weighing a whopping 25 stone.
A bright gold Buddha which provides a stunning centrepiece in a local couple's Greencastle garden.
The talented, all-round craftsman is also a wood carver, beekeeper and part-time beef farmer. Meanwhile, he would be delighted to get commissions for his Buddhas from individuals or businesses.
He can also make bespoke, one-off items that people cant find in the shops. Im building things since I was 16 years of age and I enjoy a challenge, he said.
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