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Rare Opportunity As Ferry 'Cruises' from Carlingford Lough Out to Haulbowline Lighthouse

12th June 2020
Car ferry Frazer Aisling Gabrielle is to offer rare 'walk-on' Lighthouse themed cruises (Saturday, 20 June) from Greenore, Carlingford Lough out to the impressive Haulbowline Lighthouse. In these times of Covid-19, Frazer Ferries cross-border service is suspended. AFLOAT on Wednesday observed the domestic ferry offshore of Dublin make a coastal passage to home waters following annual routine dry-docking at New Ross Boatyard. The call to the south-east also enabled the ferry to cover in for Frazer Tintern on the Passage East-Ballyhack route on the Waterford estuary. Above is another ferry from the operator's Lough Foyle service, in which over the years their ferry fleet are redeployed on routes. Car ferry Frazer Aisling Gabrielle is to offer rare 'walk-on' Lighthouse themed cruises (Saturday, 20 June) from Greenore, Carlingford Lough out to the impressive Haulbowline Lighthouse. In these times of Covid-19, Frazer Ferries cross-border service is suspended. AFLOAT on Wednesday observed the domestic ferry offshore of Dublin make a coastal passage to home waters following annual routine dry-docking at New Ross Boatyard. The call to the south-east also enabled the ferry to cover in for Frazer Tintern on the Passage East-Ballyhack route on the Waterford estuary. Above is another ferry from the operator's Lough Foyle service, in which over the years their ferry fleet are redeployed on routes. Photo: Frazer Ferries-facebook

In an effort to restore even a hint of tourism activity while the Covid-19 restrictions are gradually eased across Ireland, Carlingford Lough Ferry is launching special 'Lighthouse' cruises out to entrance of the scenic lough, writes Jehan Ashmore

The car-ferry Frazer Aisling Gabrielle had been operating the 15 minute cross border Co.Louth (Greenore)/Down (Greencastle) service but due to the escalating Covid19 situation in March, sailings were suspended until further notice.

Operator, Frazer Ferries hope to resume the service in the summer. In the meantime, Frazer Aisling Gabrielle is instead to offer ‘walk on’ passenger cruises onboard the 45m long ferry. The cruises departing from Greenore terminal in Co. Louth is to take place on Saturday, 20 June.

These special and rare 1 hour cruises will involve the ferry been within 400m of the impressive Haulbowline Lighthouse. (See Shine a Light for Healthcare Heroes) The structure to aid mariners jutts dramatically out of the sea and marks the entrance to the stunning scenery of Carlingford Lough.

Those intending taking a cruise are advised to book as soon as possible, due to demand noting passenger numbers are strictly limited in line with the current public safety guidelines.

Onboard will be a fascinating audio tour that will offer insights into glacial fjord with panoramic views sweepong between the Cooley peninsula and as they say the Mourne Mountains that sweep down to the sea!

The Lighthouse themed cruises are especially designed to allow guests to travel in safety and comfort on board the 45m long ferry which with the abscence of cars will provide platforms to take in the views. In order to do, safe social distancing and standing areas will be clearly marked on the upper and lower decks.

In light of current Covid Safety guidelines and for passengers safety, Frazer Ferries request those with families of young children, book tickets for the lower viewing deck area which offers greater space and allows for additional movement, whilst adhering to the required social distancing during the cruise.

According to the operator this Friday afternoon, there are still some tickets available HERE for the cruises. Scroll down the page for additional information on parking in Greenore.

The first sailing on Saturday, 20 June is at 11.30 returning at 1pm and the second sailing is at 2.30 returning at 4pm.

Sailing time is approx 70 mins and the rest of time allows for boarding - departure - arrival and disembarkation.

Whatever cruise is booked, it is strongly advisable to arrive at the terminal 20 minutes prior to the departure for check-in.

Published in Ferry
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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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!

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