Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Irish Ferries

#NewFerry – Irish Ferries chartered ro-pax Epsilon called to Rosslare Europort from Cherbourg this morning, her arrival to Irish waters follows a repositioning voyage starting almost a week ago from Sicily, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Under the command of Captain Paul Sellers, Epsilon approached the Wexford ferryport from where Irish Ferries Pembroke Dock bound Isle of Inishmore vacated her berth for the newcomer.

Ironically at the adjacent berth to where Cartour Epsilon (2011/26,325grt) berthed was Celtic Horizon (2006/27,522grt) of Celtic Link Ferries which in 2011 entered service on their service to Cherbourg. She is a sister and former fleetmate which as Cartour Beta also served Italian operator Charonte & Tourist.

Epsilon's call to the Wexford port was likewise to Cherbourg to carry out berthing trails when Irish Ferries requires relief cover on southern services.

She is due to make the final leg of her journey to Dublin Port to where the ro-pax ferry is to enter service on the Holyhead route this week and in the New Year launch a new Dublin Port-Cherbourg route.

Also berthed in Rosslare Harbour was Stena Europe, the Fishguard route ferry which was fresh from annual maintenance following dry-docking in Birkenhead.


Published in Ferry

#NewFerry – 'Epsilon' Irish Ferries new ro-pax ferry continues her voyage to Ireland as she rounds Land's End tonight having called today to Cherbourg for berthing trials, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The call to Normandy represents the first of three ports that she will serve on her two-route roster which sees the 2011 built ferry firstly make her debut between Dublin-Holyhead later this week.

The second route in which Epsilon is to be deployed, Dublin-Cherbourg will be run on a year-round basis. The economy-style service will cater for motorist based passengers and for freight vehicle customers, albeit foot passengers will not be carried.

Epsilon's call to Rosslare Harbour is due for berthing trails, as Irish Ferries intend that the Italian flagged newcomer also provide relief cover on sailings from the Wexford port.

Captain Paul Sellers who has charge of the chartered ferry which departed Sicily last week, will be back in local waters as he is a master of the Isle of Inishmore which serves Irish Ferries route to Pembroke Dock.

The operator's second ship running from Rosslare Harbour is the French routes cruiseferry, Oscar Wilde which is currently maintaining added capacity as the third ship on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

She is expected to return to Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings later this week, pending the smooth introduction of Epsilon further north between the Irish capital and Anglesey.


Published in Ferry

#NewFerry – 'Epsilon' the new ro-pax ferry on charter to Irish Ferries is currently off the Portuguese coast heading to Cherbourg for berthing trials, prior to making her debut on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Italian flagged 26,375 tonnes vessel is under the charge of Capt. Paul Sellers, a master of the Rosslare-Pembroke Dock route vessel Isle of Inishmore.

Earlier this week as previously reported, she departed Messina, Sicily on her repositioning voyage to Irish waters and so far this has involved a call to Gibraltar for bunkers.

The newcomer was previously on charter as Cartour Epsilon to Caronte & Tourist service between Italy and Sicily. The 500 passenger and crew ferry will also make en-route ports of call to carry out berthing trials in Rosslare and Holyhead.

Epsilon is scheduled to launch her sailings between Dublin-Holyhead next week.

In the meantime Oscar Wilde which is off service from the French route to Cherbourg is covering the Dublin-Holyhead route until Epsilon takes over the same roster in a boost to capacity as the third ship on the route.

In mid-January 2014, Epsilon also launches a new Dublin-Cherbourg route where she will operate at weekends a round-trip schedule in addition to maintaining weekday sailings on the Dublin-Holyhead route


Published in Ferry

#NewFerry – Epsilon the new ro-pax ferry which Irish Ferries has secured a three-year charter contract for Irish Sea and French operations, is underway in the Mediterranean Sea on a repositioning voyage bound for Irish waters, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 2011 built 26,375 tonnes ro-pax ferry is to be introduced firstly on the core Dublin-Holyhead route, boosting capacity as the third vessel in advance of the busy festive season.

In addition to providing daily weekday Irish Sea sailings, from mid-January 2014 she is also to launch a new year-round Dublin-Cherbourg route every weekend, departing the capital on Saturdays and returning on Monday mornings.

Completed by Cantiere Navale Visentini, Italy as Cartour Epsilon, she represents one of more than 20 similar vessels of this ro-pax design which has proven popular in the charter market.

The 500 passenger and crew vessel has been on charter to Caronte & Tourist running between Italian west coast ports and Sicily, from where she departed Messina yesterday and is currently in waters south-west of Sardinia.

Cartour Epsilon is due to call for bunkers in Gibraltar tomorrow night and this route to the UK overseas territory follows that of a sister, Cartour Beta. As reported more than two years ago she sailed off the Algerian coast having departed Palermo and a call to Gibralter before reaching Rosslare Harbour under her new name Celtic Horizon.

The 2006 built Celtic Horizon is also on a three-year charter arrangement from her shipbuilder-owners to Wexford based Celtic Link Ferries which operates to Cherbourg.

When 'Epsilon' enters service this month in the run up to the busy festive period on the core Dublin-Holyhead route, passengers will have economy style facilities on board that include a bar, cafeteria, self-service restaurant, two and four berth cabins and free wi-fi service. In addition the ro-pax will boost vehicle deck space of approximately 2,860 lane metres.

Irish Ferries are to market the Dublin-Cherbourg route to an economy-style service as she differs considerably when compared to cruiseferry style facilities and a broader range of cabins available on board Oscar Wilde.

The new French route will augment the cruiseferry operations of the Oscar Wilde on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route and seasonal only service to Roscoff.


Published in Ferry

#France-Ireland - Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed a new direct French ferry route linking Cherbourg to Dublin as good news for Irish tourism and will build on the success of The Gathering.

"This weekly ferry route from Cherbourg to Dublin will provide tourists from France and mainland Europe with a direct car link into the capital. It will help us to build on the success of The Gathering in promoting Ireland as a visitor destination.

"Ireland is well catered for in terms of aviation access, and new aviation routes are announced on a regular basis. But as an island it's important that we give visitors plenty of options to bring their cars as well. Tourists on driving holidays tend to stay longer than those who fly, and are more likely to travel around the country."


Published in Ferry

#NewFerryRoute - Irish Ferries are to launch in 2014 a new direct passenger car ferry service linking Dublin with the French port of Cherbourg with the first sailing departing from Dublin Port on Saturday 18 January.

The once-weekly, year round service – which the company's head of passenger sales Dermot Merrigan says "will bring the European motorways directly into the heart of our capital city" – will depart from Dublin every Saturday (15.30) arriving into Cherbourg next morning (11.30). Return sailings will depart Cherbourg each Sunday (17.00) with early arrival back in Dublin on Monday morning (11.00).

The new route will be operated by the passenger car and freight ferry vessel mv Epsilon which Irish Ferries as previously reported on has recently secured under a charter arrangement.

On its new Dublin to Cherbourg route, Irish Ferries will provide a third route option, augmenting the company's long-established services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff. Sure to be popular with families and holidaymakers alike, this new direct service from Dublin is timed to arrive in Cherbourg early enough to facilitate easy onward travel to campsites and holiday centres throughout France.

With the introduction of the Epsilon and their new route from Dublin to Cherbourg, the intention on the part of Irish Ferries is to provide an economy-style service distinctly different from that operated by their cruise ferry Oscar Wilde which will continue to service routes from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff as before.

Because of the more limited range of cabins and passenger attractions on board the Epsilon when compared to the Oscar Wilde, Irish Ferries is seizing the opportunity to offer customers lower fares and an even broader choice of route options. In this way, the company is extending the appeal of a motoring holiday in France to an even wider segment of the market.

Built in 2011, the Epsilon has capacity for 500 passengers. Economy style facilities on board include a bar, cafeteria, self-service restaurant, two and four berth cabins, free wi-fi service and 2,860 lane metres of vehicle deck parking space.

Commenting further, Dermot Merrigan said "our new Dublin to Cherbourg direct service will appeal to those living within and beyond our capital city. Fast access straight through the city or via the Dublin Port Tunnel ensures that our new Ireland – France service will be more accessible to all."

Fares for this new Dublin to Cherbourg car ferry service are from €99 for a car & driver.

Published in Ferry

#NewFERRY - As previously reported on, Irish Ferries introduction of Epsilon as a third vessel on the Dublin-Holyhead route will be in mid-December and not tomorrow as previously indicated, writes Jehan Ashmore.

During this interim period the new extra sailings will intially be operated by the company's French routes ferry Oscar Wilde. She is scheduled to run the extra sailings with two round-trips daily, with the first crossing departing Dublin Port in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

When the Epsilon (2011/26,375gt) the chartered Italian-flagged 500 passenger ro-pax ferry comes on stream next month she will take over the sailing roster of Oscar Wilde in the run up to the festive period schedule.

Currently there are no Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings and according to the operator's website, the French service resumes on 8 December.


Published in Ferry

#AmbitiousVoyage - Irish Ferries and the story of its involvement in the development of passenger and freight ferry services between Ireland, UK and Continental Europe is the subject of a new book entitled 'Irish Ferries – An Ambitious Voyage' .

The book distributed by Easons and on sale through bookshops around Ireland was written by noted marine historians Miles Cowsill and Justin Merrigan. The book is produced by Isle of Man based Ferry Publications.

The 150 page hard-back production traces the path that the Irish Ferries organisation has taken from its very earliest days operating services on the Irish Sea between Ireland and Britain under the B&I Line flag.

Detailed and comprehensive, the book goes on to chronicle the development of direct ferry services between Ireland and France and the role played by Irish Continental Line before that company and B&I line came together in the early-1990s to form the enlarged enterprise known today as Irish Ferries.

Covered in some detail is the ship building and modernisation programme carried out by the company which resulted in the commissioning of four new vessels for the company's Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Pembroke Dock routes, including the cruise ferry 'Ulysses' which, at the time of its launch, was the world's largest car ferry.

Amply illustrated with pictures drawn from various private and company archives, the book is one that will appeal to all involved in shipping and maritime history.


Published in Book Review

#NewFERRY - As previously reported, Irish Ferries announcement to boost capacity with a third vessel on the core Dublin-Holyhead increases the competitive stakes with rivals Stena Line in the run up to the festive period, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The chartering of the 500 passenger ro-pax Epsilon (26,375grt) will start this month and not December as previouly indicated. According to the company's website, Epsilon will operate the new additional Dublin -Holyhead sailings of two daily-round trips starting on 24 November.

Currently, Irish Ferries operates eight sailings daily on the key Irish Sea route using its flagship cruiseferry Ulysses and smaller yet fast-ferry Jonathan Swift. The introduction of the Epsilon will increase the company's schedule to a maximum of twelve daily sailings.

The 2011 Italian built vessel has modern facilities including cabins, bar/cafeteria and self-service restaurant and significant vehicle capacity (2,860 lane metres). This allows Irish Ferries to further target both the tourism market and freight customers.

Stena Line's Dublin-Holyhead service has had the upper hand in that they already operate two conventional ferries on the route.

In addition Stena Line operate the seasonal-only (March-Sept) Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route operated by fast-craft HSS Stena Explorer.  She is to reopen the service on 20 December for the Christmas and the New Year periods.


Published in Ferry

#ferry – Irish Ferries is to increase its capacity and frequency on the Dublin to Holyhead route through the introduction of a third ship in December 2013.

Currently, the ferry company operates eight sailings per day on the key Irish Sea route using its flagship Ulysses and the High Speed Craft Jonathan Swift.

Irish Ferries has chartered the Epsilon (2011 built ) to supplement its existing Ireland to Britain services. The ship will provide two additional departures per day in each direction which will result in an increase in the company's schedule to a maximum of twelve sailings between Dublin and Holyhead each day. The recently built vessel will provide significant vehicle capacity along with modern facilities on board including cabins, bar/cafeteria and self-service restaurant.

Targeting the growing Freight and Tourism markets, the Epsilon will further improve Irish Ferries' range of offers to its customers on the Irish Sea. In addition to the improved frequency on its Dublin to Holyhead route, the chartered vessel will also provide opportunities for improved annual dry-dock cover within the company's fleet along with scope for increased capacity on other Irish Ferries' Irish Sea and Ireland to France services.

Commenting on the announcement, Irish Ferries' Marketing Director, Tony Kelly, said, "Irish Ferries decision to invest in additional capacity at this time is a major vote of confidence by the Republic of Ireland's leading ferry operator in the recovery of the country's economy. We believe that Ireland has turned the corner and we are prepared to invest in the provision of improved services for our valued Freight and Tourism customers who have shown fantastic loyalty throughout the last five difficult years."

Name: 'Epsilon'
Built: Delivered 2011, Cantiere Navale Visentini, Italy
Flag: Italy (IMO No. 9539054)
Length Overall (LOA): 186.46 metres
Free Height: 4.87 metres main deck
Beam: 25.6 metres
Draft: 6.85 metres
Maximum Speed: 24 knots
Passenger Capacity (PC): 500 plus crew
Cabins: 68 x 4 berth + 2 x 2 berth (disabled)
Vehicle Deck Capacity: Approx 2,860 lane metres

Published in Ferry
Page 10 of 17

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!

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

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

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

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

Please show your support for Afloat by donating