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Displaying items by tag: ESB Poolbeg powerstation

Those taking Sea Safari's Dublin Port & River Liffey tours will be able to see the inner workings of Ireland's largest port and from a totally different perspective, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 45-minute tour sets out from beside the M.V. Cill Airne, in the heart of Dublin 'Docklands' and into the commercial port where over 17,000 vessel movements arrived and departed Dublin Port last year, accounting for 42% of the country's GDP and handling €20bn in exports per annum.

On board the open-topped yellow tour-boat RIB, an audio commentary firstly informs you about the M.V. Cill Airne, built nearby in the old Liffey Dockyard, nearly fifty year ago. Discover why she was one of the last riveted built vessels in Europe, her days as liner-tender and the rich and famous who threaded her decks.

Heading downstream the former lightship Kittiwake is berthed opposite the O2 Arena. She was one of the last lightships to serve in Irish waters at the South Rock station off Co. Down. In complete contrast a ferris-wheel revolves in the background but no sooner the boat slips under the East-Link Toll-Lift bridge which opened in 1984.

On the other side of the bridge a small non-descript looking grey-hulled motorboat lies at anchor, on her bow is painted the figure 11. So what's the story here!...here's a glue: 'Don't pay the ferry man until you get to the other side!...

Past Poolbeg Marina, giant blue-gantries cranes of the Marine Terminal Ltd (MTL) are busy unloading from Karin Schepers, a containership previously reported on Afloat.ie. Look out for the ports  'graffiti', the work of crews who make their mark by painting the name of their ship and also the mural of the late Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners.

Opposite this terminal is the ports largest basin, Alexandra Basin, named after Queen Alexandra. Subject to port security, the tour may include entering the basin should there be a particular vessel of note.This also allows for views of the dock-gates of the Dublin Graving Dock, one of only three large ship-repair facilities on the island of Ireland. Neighbouring the graving dock is where the Liffey Dockyard once stood.

Before the tour passes the towering twin stacks of the former ESB Poolbeg electricity power station is tucked away Pigeon Harbour. Learn more about its hotel conveniently sited beside where packet-ships regularly plied, essentially the ferryport of its day. Its modern-day counterpart faces opposite on the north quays where up to 17 sailings daily operate on the Irish Sea.

Marvel at the length of the impressive Great South Wall, why was it called 'Great' and why was it built?... What can be revealed is that Captain William Bligh of "Mutiny of the Bounty" fame was a major figure in the project, when the wall was completed in 1795.

The commentary has many more fascinating facts, figures and the occasional anecdote told with typical Dublin wit. So if you live within 80km (50-mile) radius of the capital, then the chances that the shirt you wear, the breakfast cereal you ate and the car you drive, most likely came through Dublin Port as almost 75% of goods serve this hinterland.

More on Dublin Bay here

Published in Dublin Port

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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