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It's That Time Again 'Albeit Only Now' to Cross the Liffey in a Jiffy

28th July 2020
Former Dockers Taxi: The Liffey Ferry is back in service as above underway is the No.11 which is operating to strict social distancing measures during the short crossing linking three pontoon stops located in the centre of Dublin's 'Docklands' quarter. Former Dockers Taxi: The Liffey Ferry is back in service as above underway is the No.11 which is operating to strict social distancing measures during the short crossing linking three pontoon stops located in the centre of Dublin's 'Docklands' quarter. Photo: File photo Dublin Port Co.

It's back the Old Liffey Ferry service in Dublin's 'Docklands' has returned following easing of Covid-19 restrictions but running in a more subdued environment of the financial and cultural quarter since the outbreak broke, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Operators of the historic river-crossing granted a Royal Charter of 1665 but with origins stretching further back to the 1400's, has in the present day seen ferry No.11 operating to a strict social distancing measure regime. In addition capacity has been considerably reduced from 18 passengers down to just 9 onboard any given crossing. This is to ensue passenger and crew safety during the brief crossing along the capital's under-used water thoroughfare compared to other European capitals, notably in Scandinavia.

The No.11 ferry was due to resume the seasonal service in March but is now available running to a routine Mondays to Fridays schedule. This involves serving three pontoon-based stops lining the Liffey quays. They are on the North Wall next to static-berthed Cill Airne and opposite on the south bank at Sir John Rogerson's Quay before returning across the Liffey to The Point Depot (3Arena) near the East-Link (Tom Clarke) Bridge.

Operating time are as follows:
Mornings: 8am - 10am
Lunchtime: 12pm - 2pm
Evenings: 4pm - 6:30pm

Last year the restored Liffey No.11, an original ferry from the service that closed in 1984 following the opening of the East-Link toll lift-bridge, was re-launched by The Irish Nautical Trust along with the Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council.

The venture brings back and highlights the proud tradition of the Liffey ferry where dockers commuted across the river before the service ceased due to the new East-Link bridge which remains a vital part of the port's infrastructure and also for commuters. 

The bridge was never officially named until recent years as the Tom Clarke Bridge with its lift-bridge section can be raised to permit vessels to reach the capital's older former port quays. These days there is no commercial shipping traffic since regular 'stout' tankers The Lady Patricia and Miranda Guinness ceased trading to Merseyside in the early 1990's. The only callers now are Irish Naval Service patrol ships, visiting naval vessels, motoryachts and tallships notably during festivals that have become infrequent in the last decade.

Currently the only 'Liffey' based activity, albeit domestic is the summer excursion operator, Dublin Bay Cruises which in June resumed service following a delay of an original debut planned for St. Patrick's Day.

Likewise of No.11, DBC's 100 passenger capacity vessel has reduced capacity by 60% leaving 40 passengers to take excursions on a network of cruises involving calls to both harbours of Dun Laoghaire and Howth. In addition a cruise off Dalkey Island incorporating a visit into Killiney Bay.

Further south along the eastern seaboard, Arklow Marine Services carried out further work earlier this year as Afloat noted No.11 was hoisted out of the water, albeit not in Co. Wicklow port. The activity actually took place downriver of the 'Docklands' at the nearby Poolbeg Y&BC in Ringsend which forms part of the modern Dublin Port.

The works saw the installation of a new propellor manufactured by Jimmy Walsh Propellers & Marine Engineering based in Rosslare Harbour Co. Wexford. This is where AMS assisted and also carried out standard maintenance while the UK built ferry was out of the water.

Published in Dublin Port
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 Port Information

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructure such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

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