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Former Aran Island Ferries Meet in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock Basin

12th November 2014
Former Aran Island Ferries Meet in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock Basin

#FormerAranFerries - In recent weeks St. Bridget another former Aran Islands ferry entered Dublin's Grand Canal Dock Basin to join Naomh Éanna, the 1956 built ship that served CIE until withdrawn from service in 1988, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The veteran 300 passenger and freight ferry is berthed in a disused dry-dock and was the topic of a TG4 documentary recently broadcast. Moored nearby is the 1977 built St. Bridget with a 120 passenger capacity that is in winter lay-up following a second season operating coastal excursions for Dublin Bay Cruises.

It is ironic the pair should be sharing company together, given plans to restore and refit the riveted 137ft hulled Naomh Éanna as a tourist attraction and return her westbound to her old homeport of Galway. Whereas St. Bridget, formerly named Galway Bay, was repositioned last year for east coast duties for newcomer Dublin Bay Cruises.

St. Bridget's season this year involved an expanded network of excursion routes linking Dublin city-centre, Howth and Dun Laoghaire harbours in addition to running an evening cruise to Killiney Bay.

According to the operator, the most popular excursion service was Dublin City via the Dun Laoghaire to Howth service. As well as these sight-seeing services St. Bridget served clients for private charters.

As the Galway Bay, not to be confused with other ferries of the same name, (notably the restored Calshot in Southampton), her career on the western seaboard included Rossaveal to Kilronan. She then had a spell on the Cleggan-Inishbofin service.

In recent times it is understood she returned to Aran service when running from Co. Clare under her current owner's sister company Doolin2Aran Ferries.

The 26m steel-hulled St Bridget is one of five passenger ships owned and operated by the Garrihy family which run both the companies. She is scheduled to resume regular sailings in April 2015.


Published in Coastal Notes
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

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