A new ferry route has been proposed for Galway Bay, between Ballyvaghan at the north end of the Burren in County Clare, and Galway City in the famous Bay's northeast corner writes WM Nixon. The Clare village is at the head of its own bay within the shelter of Black Head, Galway Bay's southwest headland. A pretty place, Ballyvaghan is heavily reliant on providing hospitality for visitors drawn to the unique attractions of the Burren region, but the locals feel that the traffic holdups in the 50 km drive around from Galway can act as a disincentive for tourists.
Then too, the proposed 12-seater fast ferry – which could make the eleven mile crossing in 30 minutes or less – would be an attraction in itself. Having savoured the convenient waterfront charms of Galway City – from which they can already take popular boat trips on Lough Corrib – it's easy to believe that visitors would enjoy a quick sea voyage to somewhere entirely different.
Galway Bay Hop spokeswoman Gwen Ryan of Ballyvaghan claims that the ferry would also be useful for commuters travelling daily to work in the thriving commercial hub around the city. Then too, the fact that the ferry is of a manageable size means that it could also be used for group hire to visit many of the other small tidal ports around Galway Bay such as Kinvara and Barna, and perhaps even take in the legendary oyster pub Moran's of the Weir near Kilcolgan.
The idea first emerged from a Community Think-in at Ballyvaghan in the Spring of 2010, and if a feasibility study gives the right signals, the service could be operational by next year.