#Visitors - A French naval vessel, a UK based cruiseship and a local excursion boat are in Dublin Port to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The French Navy are represented in the capital with the presence of the small offshore patrol vessel, Cormoran. At just shy of 50m long the craft is on a courtesy call during the festivities having berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay. The 390 gross tonnage vessel is on a five-day visit.
Cormoran normally patrols EEZ waters off western France, had been the Guardship for the La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race that called to Dun Laoghaire Harbour in recent years. Accompanying the French visitor on the Liffey is one of the Irish Navy's smallest units, the coastal patrol vessel, L.E. Orla.
Sister of the Peacock class, L.E. Ciara had also berthed here last week during the call of foreign naval visitor, BNS Castor a Ready Duty Ship of the Belgium Navy. More recently HMS Westminster, a Duke class Type 23 frigate also visited the port but took a downriver berth along Ocean Pier.
Also making a visit to Dublin this St. Patrick’s Day with up to 449 passengers is Saga Pearl II which is on cruise having departed Dover. The call of the small Saga Cruises includes an overnight stay in the capital to give cruise-goers more time to enjoy the attractions and Irish hospitality.
The arrival of Saga Pearl II follows the first cruise visitor of 2017 which came in the form of Fred Olsen's Boudicca. The larger 880 passenger capacity cruiseship made a call within the first week of January, however the cruise season proper gets underway next month in late April.
As thousands of Dubliners and visitors also from overseas throng the capital’s thoroughfare for today's St. Patrick’s Day Parade, there are those taking the sights of the capital from offshore. This is been carried out by Dublin Bay Cruises excursion boat, St. Bridget.
The former Aran Islands ferry had undergone work at Howth Boatyard in advance of seasonal cruises. Up until now the 100 assenger boat had been wintering in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock Basin from where she departed in recent days.
St. Bridget operates cruises from Sir John Rogersons Quay. Almost facing opposite on the far bank is based replica 19th century museum famine-emigrant tallship Jeanie Johnston. The barque this week finally returned to its home-berth in the city-centre at Custom House Quay having undergone maintenance dry-docking.
Guided tours that tell the tales of Irish emigration during the famine to North America are brought to life on board the tallship.