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Displaying items by tag: Tourism boost

Brittany Ferries marks the start of the tourism season with the first sailing of Armorique to the Port of Cork today.

The 30,000 ton, 1500 passenger cruise-ferry had sailed from Roscoff, Brittany and arrived at Ringaskiddy at 09:30 this morning with 330 holidaymakers on board.

The return sailing to the Breton port departed at 1600 on the Ireland-France route which Afloat adds is Brittany Ferries only 'seasonal' operated service.

Armorique will make the call into Cork every Wednesday between now and November, and will be joined on the Cork/Roscoff route from 1st April by Brittany Ferries’ 42,000-ton 2,400-passenger flagship Pont-Aven which will visit Ringaskiddy each Saturday from 11:00-16:00.

Anticipating a busy season ahead, Brittany Ferries bookings already exceed this time last year, with a 34% increase on all routes from Ireland to France and Spain.  

In addition, Brittany Ferries has seen a 29% increase in the number of passengers travelling between France and Ireland versus this same period last year, almost half of which are French natives visiting Ireland.

Hugh Bruton, General Manager of Ireland with Brittany Ferries stated, “We are delighted to once again mark the start of a new season. The growing passenger booking numbers show us that 2023 is going to be a boom year for travel both into and out of Ireland. Despite inflation and the current economic climate, passengers want to travel and escape this year and will make things work to do so. Ferry travel offers so many benefits – including avoiding lengthy airport queues and the option to have your car to explore your destination with ease. We are so pleased to see numbers returning close to pre-pandemic levels at last.”

Brian O’Flynn, Fáilte Ireland stated, “A welcome sight each Spring is the Brittany Ferries’ ships sailing in and out of the harbours of Cork and Rosslare. Brittany Ferries carry thousands of tourists to Ireland each season, offering a boost to local economies, tourism and trade. It is so positive to see an increase of 40% in French passengers visiting Ireland this season and we look forward to welcoming them.”

Now offering a twice-weekly service connecting Cork with Roscoff in western France, as well as direct routes from Rosslare to Le Havre, Cherbourg in France and Bilbao in Spain, Brittany Ferries offers a variety of destinations and unparalleled comfort on its fleet of modern ships. 

The newest vessel of the fleet, Salamanca, which launched late last year on the Rosslare to Bilbao and Cherbourg routes, is a state-of-the-art cruise-ferry and is the first LNG-powered passenger ferry to regularly operate from Ireland.

Roscoff to Cork sailings run twice weekly, on the Armorique and the flagship vessel Pont-Aven, from March to October 2023.

Published in Brittany Ferries

The first cruise ship to Belfast Harbour for the 2022 season arrived on Friday, with the tourism industry anticipating a bumper season after taking a massive hit from Covid-19.

The Viking Venus, a 930-passenger vessel owned by Viking Cruises, is the first of 130 cruise ships expected to bring up to 340,000 visitors to Belfast in 2022.

Belfast is a stop on Viking Cruises’ 15-day voyage between London and Bergen in Norway (which included a tender call of Dun Laoghaire Harbour)

Belfast Harbour said 18 of the cruise ships would be first-time visitors, and many would visit on multiple occasions. In total, there are 50 vessels from 33 cruise lines due to arrive.

Newcomers include the Ambassador Ambience from British cruise line, Ambassador, and Princess Cruises’ Enchanted Princess and Island Princess.

Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s port director, said: “Following two challenging years for tourism, the team at Belfast Harbour is thrilled to have 130 cruise vessels booked for arrival at our port in 2022.

Further coverage the Belfast Telegraph reports. 

Published in Cruise Liners

Deputy Alan Dillon, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Tourism & Sport, welcomed confirmation from Rural & Community Development Minister, Heather Humphreys TD, that her Department will be increasing daily ferry sailings to Clare Island.

A tender recently issued by her Department only required a minimum of two return services daily. This meant that something as simple as a medical appointment might require an islander having to sacrifice an entire day to travel to the mainland.

The ferry service will now be increased to four return sailings daily, which should prove a real game changer for people living on the island. In addition to increasing tourism opportunities.

More here reports Mayo Advertiser that follows a campaign by islanders to improve the service

Published in Ferry

#RecordCalls - A new tourism high as almost 90 cruise ships are expected to visit Belfast Harbour this summer, bringing with them 150,000 passengers and crew to the city.

Belfast’s record cruise schedule for 2017 marks an unprecedented period of growth for city tourism and investment which has underlined the city’s soaring appeal among cruise tourists from around the world but particularly the UK, Europe and North American markets.

Belfast has established itself as a destination of choice for cruise operators and visitors, becoming the second busiest port of call in Ireland and once again attracting more cruise passengers than Liverpool in 2017.

By the end of this year, almost 600 cruise ships will have visited the city since the first arrival in 1996.

This year, 88 ships are scheduled to arrive with the first arrival – the Marco Polo due on April 21., while Princess Cruises, one of the world’s leading cruise operators, which operates the giant 4,600-passenger and crew capacity Caribbean Princess has strengthened its commitment to Belfast scheduling a record 14 stops this year.

Delivered by Cruise Belfast partners Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast since 1999, cruise tourism has been a major city success story. It is also an increasingly important part of the city’s tourism mix, along with city breaks and business tourism.

Full details of the cruise schedule are available on Cruise Belfast’s website here and Belfast Harbour’s cruise caller list by clicking this link. 

Published in Belfast Lough

Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

©Afloat 2020