Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man
#FerryNews- An £80m planned redevelopment of Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man has nothing to do with a possible shake-up of ferry services, the Chief Minister has insisted. Construction of an £11m cruise berth reports IOM Today, on the outer side…
The routine Passage East ferry, Frazer Tintern (above as the FBD Tintern) which was about to undergo annual dry-docking overhaul was forced to re-enter service yesterday on the Waterford estuary link in the lead-up to the busy St. Patrick's Bank Holiday weekend.
#FerryNews - Attempts to operate the Passage East Ferry service in Waterford Estuary were beset with bad weather recently and mechanical issues however sailings resumed service yesterday afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore. The routine ferry, Frazer Tintern links Passage East on…
High-Speed Craft HSC Westpac Express is to take on the name Dublin Swift, which Irish Ferries use for marketing purposes of the current craft Jonathan Swift. This HSC is to be replaced on the Dublin-Holyhead route when the newcomer enters service in April.
#FerryNews - Dublin Swift, the marketing name Irish Ferries use for Jonathan Swift which has been sold to Spanish operators, has been put to use again albeit as the new name given to a replacement high-speed craft, writes Jehan Ashmore. The…
White-hot! as plasma jets cut through steel-sheets marking the start of construction of Brittany Ferries newbuild cruiseferry, Honfleur to enter English Channel service in 2019 on the Portsmouth-Caen route.
#FerryNews - It was getting white-hot as plasma jets cut through sheets of steel for Brittany Ferries English Channel newbuild cruiseferry Honfleur at the FSG shipyard Germany, which is completing Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats due to enter service this summer. …
Queen of Aran which Afloat adds is seen berthed in Dun Aengus Dock, Galway, is the ferry that is to be introduced serving Tory Island off Donegal
#IslandNews - A new ferry service to be introduced in serving Tory Island could lead to the 'extinction' of the community according to a group of concerned islanders. According to the Irish Independent, 'Mná Thorai' claim that a new ferry…
An artist's impression of Connemara, a Visentini built ropax ferry that will be chartered-in to operate the new direct Ireland-Spain route between Cork-Santander, the first ever ferry link between the countries. Operations are to start at the end of April based on schedule of two return-sailings a week
For the first time Brittany Ferries will not be operating a ship under the French flag when it starts its new ferry route, linking Cork directly to Spain, next month. As a result French maritime unions have accused Brittany Ferries…
Elbetrader docked at the Dublin Ferryport Terminal (DFT) where the facility contributed in overall Port lifts that handled 296,800 lifts last year, up 3% compared to (2016: 288,100 lifts)
#Ports&Shipping - Irish Continental Group (ICG) operates in two divisions; Irish Ferries which offers passenger and roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) freight services and the container and terminal divisions.  ICG issued today results for the year ended December 31st 2017 (see related…
Intended for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route in 2020, this second new vessel (after W.B. Yeats) will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity with accommodation for 1,800 passengers and crew. Vehicle decks (5,610 freight lane metres), capable of carrying 330 freight units per sailing – a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to current flagship Ulysses (see link below to Irish Times photo).
#FerryNews - Fuel costs increased and a weaker sterling led earnings at Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) to fall 3 per cent, results for the year ended December 31st 2017 show. As The Irish Times reports, despite revenue…
Ropax Stena Horizon just hours after arrival into Dublin Port yesterday morning berthed at North Quay Extension (beside Tom Clarke/East-Link toll-bridge). The ferry sailed from Cornwall, UK after been refitted. Built by Visentini, Porto Vico, Italy, the same shipyard completed Irish Ferries chartered-in ropax Epsilon which too arrived yesterday into Dublin Bay (only eight minutes apart) having departed Cherbourg, France.
#FerryNews - As Afloat reported yesterday, ropax Stena Horizon starts Dublin-Holyhead sailings tonight to enable a fleemate to be drydocked, however additional freight-only capacity is already in place, writes Jehan Ashmore. The larger of the two routine ferries on the…
A murky morning however Stena Horizon is fresh from Falmouth, Cornwall having undergone a refit in dry-dock. The ropax ferry had sailed overnight from the UK and today was approaching Dublin Bay (above) bound for the capital port.
#FerryNews - Fresh from a Falmouth dry-docking, Stena Horizon arrived in Dublin Port today, not Rosslare from where the ropax routinely operates on the France route to Cherbourg, writes Jehan Ashmore. The reason for the call to the capital of…
On the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran ferry Caledonian Isles underway from Ardrossan with the Scottish mainland in the background. The main Ardrossan-Brodick (Arran) ferry carried out trials in neighbouring Troon Harbour where the ro-ro terminal was recently upgraded.
#FerryNews - There are fears that the ferry operating to Arran, Scotland, was docking at Troon because of issues with Ardrossan Harbour have been quashed by Calmac. As the Herald reports, on Saturday, Calmac sparked debate when confirming that the…
Cargoship Wilson Gdynia (with half of the hatch covers raised) at the Scottish south-west Port of Ayr and neighbouring Troon Harbour where works were completed to upgrade facilities.
#Ports&Shipping - The Scottish south-western Ports of Ayr and Troon has been further reinforced by the completion of upgrades at Troon harbour, another project aimed at positioning the port for future growth. According to Associated British Ports (ABP) following extensive…
The same shipyard that built Strangford Lough ferry M.V. Strangford II in 2016, Cammell Laird on Merseyside, has been contracted a £10m order for a ro-ro 'freight' ferry from a Isle of Wight operator, Red Funnel
#FerryNews - An Irish Sea shipbuilder, Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, has been contracted to build a £10m ro-ro 'freight' ferry for a Isle of Wight operator, Red Funnel The new ship according to a Red Funnel announcement, is designed…
Ro-ro ferry Aisling Gabrielle of Scenic Carlingford Ferry is seen underway from Greenore Co.Louth. The vessel is currently off-service for annual dry-docking though services remain operating using a relief ferry.
#FerryNews - Aisling Gabrielle, the ro-ro vessel that launched the first ever Carlingford Lough ferry service last year departed Arklow Port this morning for dry-docking purposes, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 44-vehicle Aisling Gabrielle opened the new cross-border service linking Greenore…
A £4m upgrade by Stena Line at the Port of Holyhead has begun
#FerryNews - More than £4m by Stena Line is to be spent on upgrades to improve infrastructure at the Port of Holyhead after recording a record year for freight growth. The upgrades will include the creation of additional freight space at…
Image illustration shows starboard side elevation of the €150m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats in which the pre-assembled superstructure (comprised of 3 x blocks) where brought by barge from Poland to the FSG yard in Germany. In a major operation heavy-lift cranes lowered the blocks onto the completed hull last week.
#FerryNews - Progress on Irish Continental Group's €150m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats has considerably moved on since the launch of the completed hull at a German yard almost a month ago, writes Jehan Ashmore. Construction of the newbuild's hull (photos) was…

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

Howth Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton
wave regatta

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

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

Please show your support for Afloat by donating