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Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Shipping Snippets from a Dublin Bay Perspective As Seasons Change to Reflect Times

28th September 2020
Across the Bay: Irish Ferries ropax Epsilon when bound for Holyhead. Wales while also underway Dublin Bay Cruises excursion vessel St. Bridget headed for Howth Harbour. The ferry is to take over the roster of W.B.Yeats sailings from 1 October on the Dublin -Cherbourg route for the winter months as for DBC they concluded cruises yesterday on what was a shorter season due to Covid-19 restrictions. Across the Bay: Irish Ferries ropax Epsilon when bound for Holyhead. Wales while also underway Dublin Bay Cruises excursion vessel St. Bridget headed for Howth Harbour. The ferry is to take over the roster of W.B.Yeats sailings from 1 October on the Dublin -Cherbourg route for the winter months as for DBC they concluded cruises yesterday on what was a shorter season due to Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Cruiseferry W.B. Yeats made its final layover today, which occurs every Monday in between operating two round trips weekly during the summer/high season months on Irish Ferries Dublin-Cherbourg route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The year round Ireland-France service will be taken over by the considerably smaller ropax Epsilon which remains on charter to parent company Irish Continental Group. Today's 'underway' layover involved W.B. Yeats vacate Dublin Port with the cruiseferry departing Dublin Bay and offshore of Lambay Island while berths at the ferryport terminal (No.1) were occupied in servicing Holyhead, Wales.

W.B. Yeats final round trip in a season notably impacted by Covid-19, departs Dublin tomorrow to Cherbourg with a return to the Irish capital to be completed on Thursday. On the same day this is be followed by Epsilon's resumption on the Ireland-France service. The ropax returns to winter months duties connecting Normandy but based on an 'economy' class service while the cruiseferry rejoins Ulysses on the Holyhead link.

As for Stena Line operations a separate story is to follow suit. 

More on the merchant shipping scene as a pair of Arklow Shipping cargoships are docked in south Wales at Swansea Dry Docks. They are the Irish flagged D class Arklow Dale (11,000dwat) and from the F series, Arklow Faith (4,950dwat). The former trader is one of a quartet of secondhand tonnage which ASL acquired in 2018.

The dry dock facility in West Glamorgan has benefitted since the closure of Dublin Dry Docks in 2016 when ASL became the final customer with another F series in the form of Arklow Fame. Also taking up some of this business but across the other side of the Celtic Sea has led to Cork Dockyard, part of the Doyle Shipping Group.

As for leisurely persuits, excursion passenger vessel, St.Bridget, operated by Dublin Bay Cruises completed its summer season albeit with much reduced capacity. Each of the former 100 capacity cruises during a shortened season were restricted to Covid-19 public health guidelines which resulted to just 40 sight-seers.

Among the excursions offered was a mid-afternoon round Dalkey Island coastal cruise which yesterday concluded the final trip into the bay for this year. Despite the setback of a shorter season imposed by Covid-19, some excursions attracted the private charter of the St. Bridget with cruises observed off Dalkey Island. 

Over the years St. Bridget which was based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour has wintered in Dublin Port by laying-up in the Grand Canal Dock Basin, Ringsend.

Published in Dublin Bay
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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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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