Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore Enters 21st Year of Service

24th January 2018
This morning Isle of Inishmore resumed Rosslare-Pembroke service, following routine annual drydocking at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside. The twin funnelled cruiseferry in 2018, will mark 21 years in operation for the Irish Ferries ship seen underway off the Wexford coast and bound for south Wales. This morning Isle of Inishmore resumed Rosslare-Pembroke service, following routine annual drydocking at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside. The twin funnelled cruiseferry in 2018, will mark 21 years in operation for the Irish Ferries ship seen underway off the Wexford coast and bound for south Wales. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#FerryNews - Following last week's hull launch of ICG's biggest cruiseferry W.B. Yeats in Germany, Isle of Inishmore completed a routine annual overhaul and departed a drydock in the UK on Monday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat adds the Isle of Inishmore today made a first sailing in 2018, a year that will mark 21 years of service for Irish Continental Group (ICG) the parent company of operator Irish Ferries.

ICG placed the order for Isle of Inishmore with Van der Giessen-de Noord shipyard in The Netherlands and entered service on the Dublin-Holyhead route in 1997. Then easily the largest ever ferry to operate the Ireland-Wales route having replaced a smaller cruiseferry, Isle of Innisfree. That was ICG's first custom-built ferry when launched into service only two years previously.

Demand for more freight capacity during the run up to the Celtic Tiger era led to this second much larger cruiseferry from the same Dutch shipbuilders. The yard located in Krimpen aan de Ijssel, Rotterdam, however has since closed. 

At 34,031 gross tonnage, Isle of Inishmore with a capacity for 2,200 passengers/ 800 cars and 150 trucks, remains after two decades, the second largest ferry (after Ulysses), currently serving between Ireland and the UK.

The 1,875 passenger flagship Ulysses with vehicle space for 1,342 cars and 330 trucks was introduced in 2001 and replaced Isle of Inishmore from the Dublin service. This morning, the cruiseferry resumed sailings for the first time this year on the Rosslare-Pembroke route.

The Dutch built Isle of Inishmore which has an extensive range of passenger facilities, continues to be the largest cruiseferry in terms of passenger capacity operating in north-western Europe. 

Afloat had previously tracked Isle of Inishmore from the drydock facility of Cammell Laird in Birkenhead on Merseyside and which led to an arrival to Dublin Port on Monday. The call to the capital was brief as the cruiseferry completed the repositioning voyage to Rosslare Harbour yesterday.

While Isle of Inishmore was off-service on the south Wales route, sailings were covered by Oscar Wilde. Previously, the cruiseferry provided additional capacity over the festive /new year season on the Dublin route. In recent days, however sailings on the Rosslare route were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Also this morning, Afloat tracked Oscar Wilde having rounded Anglesey, north Wales and is bound for Birkenhead to also undergo routine drydocking. At this quite time of year, Irish Ferries Jonathan Swift is already at the drydock facility having completed fastferry crossings on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
cork300 sidebutton
roundire sidebutton
Wave Regatta button full size

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating