#FERRY NEWS – In an unprecedented move Irish Ferries are to operate three vessels on the Dublin-Holyhead route in the run-up to the busy festive and New Year periods, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Irish Ferries will transfer the cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore (1997/34,031grt) onto the popular central Irish Sea route linking the capital with North Wales. This will enable additional capacity of 2,200 passengers and more than 800 vehicles at a time when rivals are cutting back winter services.
The Dublin route is already served by the 'flagship' Ulysses, one of the largest car-ferries in the world and the twin-hulled catamaran Jonathan Swift which has a crossing time of 1 hour 49 minutes. The high-speed ferry which is marketed as the 'Dublin' Swift is the only fast ferry serving on the Irish Sea to operate on a year-round basis.
Isle of Inishmore is scheduled to run the additional Dublin-Holyead sailings on the following dates: 22, 23 and 27 December 2012, and on 2 and 3 January 2013. As such the Isle of Inishmore will provide an extra sailing in each direction on the central corridor route.
Head of Passenger Sales at Irish Ferries Dermot Merrigan said "So many people in the UK have Irish roots that Christmas and New Year are some of our busiest sailings".
"In previous years, bad weather has hit airports hard, sending thousands of extra passengers our way at the last minute. We're making plans now, so that whatever happens, travellers can rely on Irish Ferries to get them home in time for Christmas."
With the Isle of Inishmore's additional sailings, Irish Ferries will have the capacity to carry 6,360 passengers and 3,820 vehicles between the UK and Ireland on each of those five key dates.
On those dates, the Oscar Wilde, which usually serves between Ireland and France, will replace the Isle of Inishmore on the Rosslare–Pembroke Dock route.