Displaying items by tag: Cruise
As a citizen of an island nation, John Latham long had the desire to sail around this country, headland by headland. With that in mind, co-owner John McQuaid and he were determined to carry out such a voyage in their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349, Scoundrel, from their home port Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.
Scoundrel was purchased early in 2017 and we had a good shakedown cruise to West Cork during that first summer…Baltimore, Schull, Crookhaven, Cape Clear and around the Fastnet. She proved a comfortable and seaworthy yacht excelling on a beat back to Baltimore from Fastnet in a force 6 gusting 7 … twin rudders and hard chine give her a stiffness and control which surpasses our expectation.
The cruise of 2018 beckoned with the lure of more Westerly and Northerly ambitions.
We decided to have 2 parts to this voyage and conduct a clockwise circumnavigation:
- A non-stop passage of about 250NM from Dun Laoghaire to Dingle in Co. Kerry on the S.W. Coast during the last weekend of June.
- Join the boat again in Dingle on 15th July and continue our venture in daily passages up the Atlantic coast and around the North of Ireland and back into the North Channel and the Irish sea to home. We had 2 weeks for this part, each owner requiring to be back at work on the 30th July. A rather tight schedule you might agree.
All of this would be dependant on the weather and the performance of boat and crew as well as the occurrence of the unexpected in the way of natural or man-made emergencies, misadventures or calamities. But that uncertainty and anxiety are partly why we go cruising!
For most of the circumnavigation, we would be a crew of 3 …the 2 owners and John McQuaid’s son Eoin. Time on his hands and a certain sense of adventure attracted Eoin to this escapade but we knew that at some stage along the West Coast he planned to jump ship for social and romantic reasons. We were confident that 2 would then handle Scoundrel comfortably.
28 June. We were still in that prolonged period of high pressure and little wind. This first passage included the leg south from Dublin Bay to Carnsore Point inside the banks and the Tuskar Rock. Then followed the long trek westwards along the South Coast, passing at a distance off our usual West Cork cruising grounds and nudging north into the Atlantic coast to Dingle in Co. Kerry. The only wind of note was a northerly force 4, on our nose as we crossed Dingle Bay from Valencia Island.
This long, windless, non-stop passage from Dun Laoghaire to Dingle was 275 NM and we were underway for almost exactly 48 hours. All of this was under engine at 2,500 revs at an average speed of 5.7 knots. Diesel and factor 50 sunblock was at a premium!
The only crisis of this passage was the tangling of the propeller with a lobster pot line close to the Conningbeg light off the Saltee Islands. Instantly volunteering, Eoin donned a wetsuit, dived below the boat and with a diver’s knife freed us from this unwelcome tether.
The famous and aged dolphin Funghi welcomed us in the channel at Dingle harbour where the excellent Marina and extremely helpful staff supplied a safe berth for 2 weeks as well as green diesel in cans.
Sunday 15 July. We continued our cruise and left Dingle at 07.20 towards Fenit in Tralee Bay. We experienced a S.W. breeze force 3 to 4 and sailed for 6 ½ hours, motor-sailing for 2 ½. The log showed 50.7 NM in 9 hours. A highlight of this passage was passing through the Blasket Sound. Newly restored houses on the Great Blasket Island gleamed white as we kept well off Slea Head and its rocky dangers. Crossing Brandon Bay we encountered a very playful pod of at least 10 dolphins who accompanied us for several miles. It was decided to pass outside the Maharee Islands as rain and poor visibility had set in. Fenit, on the northern side of Tralee bay, was gained after a brisk reach to Great Samphire Island to which the excellent marina is attached.
Monday 16th. Our 35-mile passage was towards Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary. We beat out of Tralee Bay and then maintaining a broad reach up to the Estuary we ran eastwards towards Scattery Island which lies off Kilrush on the Northern shore. The famous pod of Shannon Dolphins accompanied us for 4 or 5 miles. Kilrush Marina, in County Clare, is approached through a lock which maintains depth at all tides. More like inland waterway than sea marina this was a very comfortable berth.
Tuesday 17th. A lovely 60-mile passage towards Kilronan on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. But first we had a slog under engine out of the Shannon Estuary to Loop Head. This was followed by a favourable westerly force 3 and 4 bringing us past the coast of County Clare and the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Kilronan on the N.E. of Inishmore is approached from the south via Gregory Sound with Inishmaan to starboard. On our approach to the Sound, a very large swordfish jumped high out of the water with a bright flash of silver. A visitors mooring at Kilronan proved very comfortable with a dinghy trip of about half a cable to a sandy beach and slip.
Wednesday 18th. A day on the Island. The only place where we spent a full day exploring; Inishmore provided us with a sunny day of walking and visiting Dun Aengus the Bronze Age promontory fort. We enjoyed the hospitality of the islanders. A swim in the harbour off the back of the boat proved very refreshing.
Thursday 19th. Commencing at 06.30 this was a passage from Inishmore to Clare Island, 62 miles in 12 hours. The highlight for me was the remarkable view of the Maamturk Mountains of North Connemara which were in view to the East, shimmering smoke grey peaks and ridges …tempting lures for future mountaineering expeditions. The Atlantic coast cannot be surpassed for dramatic scenery, high cliffs, mountains and mighty headlands. Islands are a special feature of this most western part of Europe and we were sorry that we had only time to visit three. This passage took us south of the extensive maze of rocks which guard South Connemara and Roundstone, then around Slyne Head, inside High Island and then a course of 060 M brought us inside Inishbofin and Inishturk islands. Our arrival at Clare Island Harbour at 18.30 coincided with mist and drizzle as we took a visitors mooring overlooked by Gráinne Ní Mháille’s Castle. Also known as Grace O’Malley, she was the famous 16th century “pirate queen”. We enjoyed a splendid fish dinner and Guinness at the Sailor’s Inn.
Friday 20th. The postmaster Páiric O’Malley sold us some provisions and lent us the key to the remarkable 14th-century abbey with residual painted frescoes still extant. Eoin took the ferry to Roonah Quay on the mainland and the two Johns continued the venture. Leaving our mooring at 11.08, a 50-mile passage towards Broad Haven, an anchorage on the southern shore of Donegal Bay was our aim. Being a dull day with drizzle and fog and light westerly breeze we motored, firstly N.W. to make Achill Head and then west of the Inishkea Islands and many other rocky protuberances guarding the Mullet Peninsula. During this rather tedious passage, we passed only 2 other vessels, a trawler fishing and a yacht heading South, neither of which were transmitting AIS. On the West Coast, we rarely met other yachts; fishing vessels showing AIS were in a minority! At 20.20 we entered the narrow inlet on the South of Broad Haven Bay and anchored N of the fishing pier at Ballyglass. A very comfortable night with only one Scottish yacht nearby.
Saturday 21st. We weighed at 06.20 to commence a 54-mile passage across the mouth of Donegal Bay towards Teelin Harbour on its Northern Shore. There were no hazards or navigational challenges during this passage…which concluded in a very thick fog and a dead run in a force 3 to 4 SW breeze. Teelin Harbour on the N.W. of Donegal Bay is hidden within steep surrounding cliffs at the best of times but with visibility down to 100yds, the small lighthouse at the entrance was a welcome sight as we rounded up and took a temporary berth at a fishing boat pontoon. Paddy Byrne, a local boatman kindly lent us his hose for filling our water tank. A visitors mooring provided a very comfortable night and a pub called the Rusty Mackerel provided an excellent dinner.
Sunday 22nd July. This passage from Teelin towards Tory Island, 55 miles was delayed until 10.30 when the thick fog lifted slightly giving us some visibility of the bulk of Donegal to the north as we motor-sailed out beyond Rathlin O’Beirne Island and headed NNE towards Aran Island. Most of the passage was a dead run in a force 4 under main alone. ..not having a spinnaker or a pole for goose-winging the jib … the wind was too far aft for our asymmetrical chute. This fairly uneventful passage became more dramatic as we approached Tory Harbour from the south with the wind piping up to 25 Kts. Choppy seas were manageable but on approaching the high harbour pier, fenders to the ready on the starboard side, sidling at dusk into a nice berth next to a ladder, our cruise nearly ended in disaster! Scoundrel came to an abrupt and sickening, clanging halt as a hydraulic crane jib, protruding 90 degrees out from the pier engaged with our mast about two-thirds up. My heart sank as I imagined the rig coming down around our ears. A gust blew off the pier and we disengaged from this aerial hazard. Mast and rigging survived unscathed, not so our nerves! This most remote of the Irish Islands deserves a prolonged visit but we needed to press on. Gales were being forecast in the Irish Sea from mid-week onwards.
Monday 23 July. This passage towards Portrush in Co. Antrim began at 07.00 in drizzle and turned out to be a lovely 85 miles 13-hour sail across the top of Ireland. Initially an easterly (078deg M) fetch to Malin Head and then S.E. towards Portrush. However some miles off our destination, on radioing Portrush Harbour Master we were informed that we could not enter as a stone barge was blocking the harbour. The evening was fair and, undismayed we altered course for Ballycastle some 15 miles further East. At 20.15 we entered this beautiful marina to a splendid welcome from staff and local boat owners; we no longer felt rejected. On the South of Rathlin Sound (famous for that dramatic tide race), Ballycastle is a lovely town with very clear views of the Mull of Kintyre.
Tuesday 24 July. A 45-mile passage from Ballycastle to Bangor in Belfast Lough. With a flat calm but a favourable tide, we shot out of Rathlin Sound into the North Channel with the beautiful hills of Antrim as our backdrop on the starboard side and Scotland to Port. A lovely, sunny evening landfall at Bangor’s Large and delightful Marina completed our penultimate passage. Celebrating with spaghetti Bolognese and accepting freshly picked tomatoes from my Belfast brother in law Eddie, John and I turned in early.
Wednesday 25 July. Starting at 04.25 This southerly homeward passage was 102 miles mostly under engine with a light southerly breeze. Highlights were views of the beautiful Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland and the Cooley Mountains on the southern side of Carlingford Lough. In good visibility, the Isle of Man was clearly in sight for much of this passage. On arriving north of Howth Head which guards Dublin Bay, we were hard on the wind with a foul flood tide impeding progress. Here I made a tactical error and took a tack to leeward of Lambay Island. This left us with a hard 2-hour slog against wind and tide to round Howth Head and the final fetch across the bay to Dun Laoghaire. We were on our marina berth at 22.10 having passed lines to our adoring wives.
Time underway: 158 hours … 124 motor-sailing, 34 under sail alone.
Total Distance Logged: 858 NM
Average speed: 5.4 kts
Diesel consumption: 250 L at approx 2,500 revs. Consumption approximately 2L per Hour
John Latham, 25 September 2018
Ross O'Leary of MGM Boats adds: The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is currently the most successful and best-selling production sailing cruiser in Ireland. Perfect size for our shores - it offers great comfort, space and stability. Modern chined hull design with twin rudders give unrivalled seakeeping performance that suits all levels of sailing experience.
#FerryNews - What about taking a novel excursion this summer as the Isle of Man Steam Packet offer the popular annual 'Round the Island' cruise this month, bringing an opportunity to take in the spectacular Manx coastline.
The Steam-Packet which makes the Isle of Man easily accessible with routes from Dublin, Belfast, Heysham and Liverpool, will operate Ben-My-Chree on the evening cruise this month on Saturday, 23 June.
The cruise taking around 4 hours to circumnavigate the largest island in the heart of the Irish Sea, departs the Manx capital, Douglas (at 7pm).
Among the cruise's coastal attractions is the Calf of Man, a 250 hectare island separated from the mainland by the narrow waters of Calf Sound. At Peel is the Viking constructed 11th century Peel Castle perched on St. Patrick's Isle that is connected to the harbour town by a causeway.
In addition the many offshore views of rural landscapes and on stretches rising steeply to mountainous terrain leading to the interior. The island's highest peak, Snaefell is 2,037 feet (620.9 m) above sea level from where the island's only other commercial port is Ramsey.
So come on board the recently overhauled, Ben-My-Chree, from where you can soak up the stunning rugged coastline while enjoying a meal which is included in the fare, costing just £28.00 for adults. Fares for children are £15, again inclusive of a main meal, drink (non-alcoholic) and ice cream.
During the cruise, the bar will not be open during the sailing as the vessel is not licensed to sell alcohol while cruising within Manx waters. If you would like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with your meal the operator says that you can bring your own (BYO) only for this sailing.
To make a booking please call the operator's Reservations Team on 661661 (IOM), 08722 992 992* (UK) or 0044 8722 992 992* (ROI & Outside UK).
Telephone Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 0830-1800
Saturday and Sunday 0900-1800
In addition bookings can be made at the Ferry Travel Shop, Sea Terminal, Douglas.
Exploring the Shannon by boat with a Carrickcraft three-day cruiser hire was not the first choice for David O'Brien and family's September weekend getaway. But North Roscommon gave a lot more than expected
With the summer ebbing away, my family were in need of a short holiday, but we had grown so tired of no–care airlines that even the prospect of the Aircoach was beginning to make it more like a chore than a well-earned break. There must be some other way to spend quality family time without the queues, we thought.
What's more, I was determined to show my family, comprising of my wife Lisa and children Isabel (15) and Thomas (13), that Ireland could offer much more than the usual format of the so-called 'city break'.
I suggested some local options. "How about a River Shannon cruise?"
It was a question that, quite honestly, did get a mixed reaction at the kitchen table. But with an open mind and a sense of adventure it was something they all thought (eventually) would be worthwhile giving a shot.
Plotting the course
The navigable River Shannon runs for 400km but if you've got just three days, where does a novice start?
It might be the essence of leisurely cruising to drift along, going where the river might take you, but that could not be this weekend's plan. In order to satisfy my teenage crew, I felt this had to be exactly the opposite: a 72–hour whistle stop tour packing in as much fun as we could along the way.
But could a 20km stretch in North Roscommon really measure up to a weekend in London, for example?
The county is landlocked, yet there are plenty of lakes to make up for the lack of any coastline. Loughs Key, Allen and Ree are all situated in the county. But more than that, one of the more notable features of Roscommon is the fact it is the home of well-known actor Chris O'Dowd, who grew up in Boyle. He's also a family favourite, as it happens.
Experience had taught me it's the simple things that mean the most, so I was sure that if I spent a little time in planning it could go a long way. I decided there were some basic requirements for a successful trip that would provide fun for the family and some nice memories.
First of all, we'd want our weekend to have minimum travel time to the destination. There should be activities for my family to do together, and the chance to learn something new.
There should also be easy access to dining options. They say cooking on board is a Shannon cruise pleasure but we decided against it – it's meant to be a holiday, after all.
And I knew well that if we ended up stranded on the river bank looking at one bag of crisps, with a long walk at dusk to the nearest town, then it would be a short–lived cruise at that.
Carrickcraft is a leading Irish Shannon cruise hire firm that has a base in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim. I booked a three-day cruise with a start and finish in Carrick, on board a self-drive Kilkenny Class (4 + 2 Berth) for three nights priced at €765.
In search of 'The Moone Boy Burger'
On the map, Carrick looked like a central enough location, and not too remote. But early research into what we might do when on the water wasn't easy. Certainly, there were guides but not much in terms of joined-up thinking for waterborne tourists.
There were navigation charts. There were route planners. There were restaurant guides. There were activity guides. But what I needed was the nice easy spoonful of an entire travel plan that tied in journey times with berthage, activities with restaurants.
For instance, I spotted that some of the nicest sounding restaurants in Georgina Campbell's invaluable Inland Waterways Restaurant Guide were not always accessible by boat. I just coudn't work out how we could get to a restaurant at dusk and back in the dead of night. Taxis in this neck of the woods can be as rare as river kingfishers. And dark country roads are not pedestrian-friendly.
To make a success of our short break, I had to join the dots between time, food and river, so I ended up making up my own itinerary – an idiot's guide, if you will, to cruising on the River Shannon: the 72–hour edition!
My research time was well spent, though, because within an hour or so I had sketched out a voyage that might involve wildlife, history, literary links, Hollywood stars, gourmet food, navigational tips and exercises, bike trails, high-wire tree-top adventures, castles and islands. But most of all, we would be captains of our own ship of adventure as we steamed up and down the River Shannon, in search of 'The Moone Boy Burger'.
Did we expect to find such weekend adventure and welcomes, just an hour-and-a-half from home? No, we certainly didn't.
Here's how our trip worked out:
Friday – Downstream to Jamestown
12 noon – It's half-day Friday! Collected kids from school and headed straight for the N4. From Dun Laoghaire it's two hours (169.2 km) via the M4 and N4 to Carrick-on-Shannon.
2pm – Check-in at the Carrickcraft base, and meeting our cruiser for the weekend. (Top tip: Park your car near the jetty for handy loading/unloading.)
2.30pm – Before we set sail, it's straight to restaurant #1: lunch at the Oarsman!
4.30pm – We get an instructional tour of our Kilkenny Class cruiser and a helpful driving test from our Carrickcraft guide, Padraig. And there's a bit to know: If you're reversing, steer left if you want to go right. Gottit?
5pm – We depart Carrick-on-Shannon and head downstream under the bridge to Jamestown, because restaurant #2 has been booked for at least a fortnight.
6pm – 'Watch out for the strong flow on the river at the end of the navigation.' Whoa, they're not joking! No room at the inn at Jamestown Quay thanks to a couple of what looks like long term harbour hoggers but we find a spot round the corner and berth up for the night on the nearby Jamestown Canal at Ardanaffrin Bridge. Glad of the company of one other cruiser, it feels lovely but a tad isolated.
6.20pm – It's Shank's Mare to the village. Just need to remember where we parked the boat for the return journey in the dark! No street lights round here...
6.30pm – It's anicent Ireland time as we pass through the town gates. No wonder Roscommon marketeers use the phrase 'the beating heart of Ireland's past' to describe the place.
6.40pm – We're at the Arch Bar for pre-dinner pool and pints.
7.10pm – Leitirm's gourmet capital is found in The Cottage, a modestly named and presented restaurant. Inside, a giant portrait of the owner's father sitting astride a giant ox is an early clue that there's more than cottage pie on offer here...
10.30pm – Taxi! No Uber or Hailo here. It turns out to be a bit of a wait for Jamestown's only cabbie, CK (Tel: 086 0772020). It's a €7 fare well spent, though, as we avoid walking on some pitch-black switch back roads (no paths, no street lights).
11pm – Goodnight!
Saturday – Upstream to Lough Key Forest Park and Boyle
8am – Good morning! After some early morning reconnaisance on foot, we like the idea of a short detour to explore Jamestown Canal.
8.40am – It's like stepping back in time. Solitude.
8.50am Immersed in this Victorian feat of engineering, it's left to Thomas to ask: "Dad, how are we gonna turn around?"
8.55am We manage a six–point turn. The E22 is pretty manoeuvrable. Phew! And in the process, we catch the unmistakable glimpse of a kingfisher flying alongside us.
9am – Turning back on ourselves, we head upriver on our journey to Lough Key Forest Park.
9.15am – This shower will pass! The heavens open and we're glad we've got umbrellas on the flybridge.
9.30am – Breakfast as we cruise: rasher sandwiches and a hot cup of tea served on deck. Can you beat it?
10am – Pitstop at Carrick to, ahem, check the car's locked!
10.05am – (Car now locked.)
10.30am – There's a knack to this navigation thing, but it's a game for all the family as we plot our course upriver. We remember to keep the red buoys to our left and the green on our right upstream. Downstream it's the opposite, green on left and red on right.
11am – Into Lough Eidin. This beautiful lake hit the headlines in 2000 when President Mary McAleese applied for planning persmission to build a lakeside house, outbuildings and a jetty here. We can see why, it's a tranquil place...just don’t scour the books looking for it by that name because it's more locally known as 'Drumharlow Lake' and it's a top fishing spot.
11.20am – Into the Boyle River.
11.40am – Cootehall. What an enchanting bend in the river that invites further exploration of John McGahern's hometown, but the quay has already got boats on it. Another jetty is in a state of collapse. Sadly, we sail on.
11.50am – Oakport Lough.
12 noon – We pass Knockvicar and Tara Marina and continue on the winding Boyle river.
12.30pm – Clarendon Lock, with its picturesque weir, is a very pretty Shannon setting.
12.35pm – Call from Seamus in Bike Trails: "Are ye still coming?" "See ya in 40 minutes, Seamus."
12.50pm – We spot The Moorings restaurant and a handy adjacent marina. Could this be a lakeside dining detour tonight?
1pm – Making our way across the lough, we pass several small islands, then it's a 90 degree left for our overnight berth. It's like we've sailed into a scene from Lord of the Rings with forests, islands, castles and turrets on every headland!
1.10pm – Mooring at Lough Key Forest Park Marina.
1.45pm – We saddle up with Seamus and we're on our way on an 8km bike trail.
3pm – What a ride! Tummies rumbling, we're ready for a snack at the Woodland Cafe.
4pm – Time for an afternoon nap on board for some, a spot of fishing for others. And is there time for Zipit? Certainly.
6.45pm – We take the Ranger Service for the 3km shuttle into Boyle. We're the only passengers.
6.55pm – Our bus driver points out Chris O'Dowd's family home. We're closing in on Moone Boy now!
7pm – We arrive in Boyle and pick up supplies at Londis on the hill. Oops, forgot the carrier bag! But the shop owner offers to drive us back to the boat. It's typical of the warm welcome here.
7.05pm – We head to Clarke's Bar and Restaurant in search of the 'Moone Boy Burger'.
9.45pm – Waiting for the return shuttlebus at King House.
10pm – We arrive back at Lough Key Marina. Still the only passengers.
10.05pm – Back on board E22. Why can't we get this heating to work?
10.06pm – Brrr! Night, night!
Sunday - Downstream to Carrick–on–Shannon (and Dun Laoghaire)
8am – A spot of early morning fishin'?
9am – Feeding the ducks as we wait for the onsite cafe to open.
10am – Breakfast toasties in hand, we're heading for downstream for home.
10.05am – Across Lough Key in autumn sunshine.
11.40am – Back in Cootehall – and now there's a free quayside berth! Take it!
12 noon – We hop ashore to explore. The door is locked at McHenry's. Everyone's at Mass....
12.10pm – Back aboard cruiser E22.
12.2pm – Enter Lough Eldin. A pair of swans take flight and fly alongside us for seemingly ages. Even enough time to grab the camera. It edges out yesterday's kingfisher as the wildlife highlight of the trip.
13.30pm – Return to Carrick-on-Shannon Marina, leaving E22 as we found her.
4pm – We arrive home in Dublin. Time for homework and school in the morning...
What's the verdict?
Writing in the Sunday Times recently, columnist India Knight described how a friend holidayed just 40 minutes from where she lived. She concluded that the things we love doing are often familiar – and close to home. This Shannon trip proved this was also the case for us. From kingfisher spotting to tree-top advenure, this was an intrpeid voyage by our standards. We never expected to find such good times along the river, and we thoroughly enjoyed our three days afloat.
Useful links/telephone numbers:
#Missing - A Dublin-based man was set to be charged with the murder of his wife, who went missing from a Mediterranean cruise earlier this month.
Daniel Belling, a German citizen and IT professional, was detained this week before boarding a flight from Rome to Dublin, as The Irish Times reports.
The arrest came after the crew of the cruise liner MSC Magnifica discovered that Belling’s wife Li Yinglei did not disembark the vessel with him and their two children at Civitavecchia after a 10-day cruise.
Belling was reportedly being held at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison ahead of formal charges today (Friday 24 February).
In other news, a post-mortem was set to take place today on the body of a man taken from a canal on the River Shannon at Killaloe yesterday.
As reported earlier today on Afloat.ie, An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for a scaled-down development, accommodating cruise vessels at a maximum 250m in length.
In a statement this afternoon, the harbour company estimates that even this reduced sized berth “could attract 50 cruise calls a year” with an average of 2,000 passengers and crew per call, contributing €10 million to the local economy each season.
“Today's positive outcome now enables cruise tourism in Dublin to significantly grow by allowing Dublin's two ports – Dún Laoghaire and Dublin – to collaborate and work with other stakeholders to exploit this great tourism opportunity,” said DLHC chair Eithne Scott Lennon at the news.
Afloat.ie understands that the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs will hold a meeting with the club commodores this evening (Friday 4 November) to discuss the planning decision and its implications.
#CruiseBerth - An Bord Pleanála’s long-awaited decision on the proposed new cruise berth for Dun Laoghaire is in — and gives the green light for the cruise liner berth.
In a statement on the ruling as seen by Afloat.ie, the planning board has granted permission for a berth to accommodate ships of a maximum 250 metres in length, short of the 340m originally sought to future-proof the harbour for ever larger cruise ships.
The board says its decision to curtail the scale of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company development was in compliance with relevant Natural and environmental impact statements, as well as in accordance with the National Ports Policy.
The statement also says the 250m limit “would enable the development of an appropriate level of commercial cruise tourism within the harbour” and “strike an acceptable balance between commercial development … and protecting the amenities of recreational users.”
More on this story as it develops.
Dublin Port Company has announced the launch of its 2016 cruise season as preparations get underway for the return of luxury cruise liner MSC Splendida next week. She is among 113 cruise calls confirmed this season, the largest number of cruise calls in a year for Dublin Port bringing over 180,000 visitors to experience the city’s sights and attractions. Among the 113 calls are four turnaround cruises, which will see passengers travel to Dublin to begin their cruise.
Dublin Port’s cruise business started as early as January with three calls in the first quarter, but the season begins in earnest next week with the arrival of the 333m long MSC Splendida on Tuesday, 3rd May. Currently the 11th longest cruise ship in the world, her inaugural call made maritime history when she became the longest vessel ever to visit Dublin Port last summer. She will return next Tuesday morning carrying over 4,600 passengers and crew on board.
One of this season’s highlights will be the arrival of the 300m long Disney Magic cruise ship when Dublin Port becomes the first Irish port to welcome one of Disney Cruise Line’s signature vessels on Thursday, 26th May. Disney Magic’s maiden call will bring some 3,650 passengers, cast and crew to the capital.
Days later over 200 delegates from leading cruise destinations will converge on Dublin for the Cruise Europe Conference, which will be co-hosted by Dublin Port and Dublin City Council and held in the capital for the first time. The prestigious three day event (31st May – 2nd June 2016) will showcase Dublin to all the major cruise lines and service suppliers of the cruise industry worldwide.
The event comes as Dublin Port plans to market Dublin as a ‘Home Port’ to the cruise industry, having recently established a new cruise tourism development and marketing agency called Cruise Dublin. Set up to promote Dublin as Ireland’s cruise capital to cruise lines internationally, Cruise Dublin works collectively with its members which are drawn from the capital’s leading retail outlets, visitor experiences and tourism bodies, including Fáilte Ireland. As a membership organisation, Cruise Dublin’s remit is to support those businesses in the capital looking to develop their offering in tandem with the future growth of Dublin as a marquee cruise destination.
Pat Ward, Head of Corporate Services, Dublin Port Company, said: “2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for cruise at Dublin Port with 113 cruise calls and over 180,000 visitors scheduled for the port and the city. We are delighted to welcome the return of MSC Splendida, and one of the highlights this season will be the arrival of Disney Magic on her maiden call in May. For the first time this year, Dublin Port will also host the Cruise Europe Conference.”
“Dublin is rapidly developing a reputation among the international cruise lines as a marquee destination that offers passengers easy access to a vibrant European city. Demand in the market is so strong that Dublin Port is being asked by the cruise lines to accommodate ships much larger than we routinely handle, such as the MSC Splendida. With the ABR Project largely complete in the next four years, Dublin Port will have the enhanced infrastructure and capacity to meet market demand for future years. All the signs from the cruise lines now point to Dublin’s potential to become one of the next leading turnaround capitals for cruise passengers by 2020, especially for the North American market.”
Dublin Port’s current operational limit on ship length is 300m, which means that longer ships such as MSC Splendida cannot currently turn within the Liffey and must, therefore either reverse in or reverse out of Dublin Port. Work has already commenced on the €230m ABR Project which will expand capacity in Dublin Port and will be largely completed in four years. The ABR Project, once complete, will mean that larger ships will be able to routinely call at Dublin Port, turn within the expanded Alexandra Basin West and berth as far upriver as East Link Bridge.
It is my belief that there is a ‘Family of the Sea,’ a community of interest uniting maritime people, from those engaged in the sector professionally, to those who take part in marine leisure activities. Bonding these disparate interests together through a focus on the sea and the Irish coastline, the rivers, the lakes, the thread linking to the oceans of the world and what happens on and in them is what I try to do in each fortnightly edition of my THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme. Listen to the podcast below.
When I am preparing the programme, recording interviews, arranging reports, I try to keep this focus which, I hope, results in an interesting half-hour voyage around the maritime sphere of Ireland. It is also why the programme is broadcast here on the AFLOAT website and through community stations which are the voices of local communities and their interests in the maritime sphere. This continues to develop, expanding this ‘community of interest’ which is what I hope to see evolve and is underlined in this new edition of the programme when the head of a company which has been providing travel at sea for over 150 years suggests that an Irish port should be designated as a base for cruise ships. George Barter leads J. Barter Travel and says that the popularity of cruise ship holidays makes this a reasonable possibility.
There would be a lot of competition for that role – including from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Cork and Galway. Interestingly, Dublin Port has set up its own cruise development and marketing agency, called ‘Cruise Dublin,’ which it says is intended “to grow Dublin as Ireland’s premier cruise port.”
George Barter made the suggestion during a discussion about the popularity of cruise ship holidays, following sea trials of the biggest cruise vessel ever built - the Harmony of the Seas for Royal Caribbean Lines. The trials were conducted off the French coast, where the vessel was built at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire. It cost €800,000 and is so big that it is 167 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower. It has a capacity for 6,000 passengers, 16 decks and needs 2,000 crew. That is 8,000 people aboard one vessel. It is so big that, on its first voyage from Southampton due to take place in May, passengers will be given GPS-style wrist ‘trackers’ to locate their cabins! I talked to George Barter on the programme about why cruise ships are so popular?
There is always something unusual about the sea. For example, the mysterious, green-eyed fish pulled out of Nova Scotia waters and described as a “terrifying 'alien fish' with wings and glowing eyes." The photograph here is by fisherman Scott Tanner who described it as “downright bizarre” - Three feet long, with a long, narrow tail, two prominent fins, a long pointy mouth, nose and teeth and glowing green eyes. You can hear more about it on the programme and that is it not an alien, but has been identified as a rarely seen ‘Knifenose Chimaera,’ a species which swim along the ocean floor, using that long nose to detect the heartbeats of its prey and those long, pointy teeth to dig into the ocean floor to catch them. They are so rare that very little is known about them.
There is also a very special piece of music about the RNLI on the programme. Listen and hear how you can support the lifeboat service through this special composition which remembers Lifeboat Heroes.
if you would like to contact the programme, the Email address is: [email protected]
Dublin Port Company has announced the launch of Cruise Dublin, the company’s new Cruise Tourism Development and Marketing agency established to grow Dublin as Ireland’s premier port of choice for cruise.
Cruise Dublin’s role is to promote Dublin as Ireland’s cruise capital to cruise lines internationally, working collectively with its members who are drawn from the capital’s leading retail outlets, visitor experiences and tourism bodies, including Fáilte Ireland. As a membership organisation, Cruise Dublin’s remit is to support those businesses in the capital looking to develop their offering in tandem with the future growth of Dublin as a marquee cruise destination.
Its formation comes as figures reveal that cruise tourism is currently growing at a rate of 20 per cent per annum in Dublin, and projected to grow substantially in the coming years. Dublin Port Company’s ABR Project, recently approved by An Bord Pleanála, will facilitate future growth and allow Dublin Port to handle the world’s largest cruise liners, including the 360m long Allure of the Seas. The ABR Project, once complete, will mean that larger ships will be able to routinely call at Dublin, turn within the expanded Alexandra Basin West and berth as far upriver as East Link Bridge, adding a new dimension to the cityscape.
Cruise Dublin’s work begins in earnest tomorrow, when it takes up position at the world’s leading cruise business convention, the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (14-17 March). Dublin will be the only Irish port with a dedicated exhibition space at this year’s event, which attracts over 11,000 attendees and nearly 800 exhibitors annually, bringing together ports, cruise lines, suppliers, travel agents and partners.
During the week, Cruise Dublin will also meet with Cruise Europe to finalise plans for the Cruise Europe Conference in Dublin in 2016. The three day event is set to attract over 200 delegates from leading cruise destinations throughout Europe from all the major cruise lines and service suppliers to the cruise industry worldwide. This is the first time that the event will take place in Dublin, providing an opportunity to showcase the city as a leading cruise tourism destination.
Pat Ward, Head of Corporate Services at Dublin Port Company with responsibility for cruise, said: “Dublin Port Company established Cruise Dublin as a marketing development agency to work collectively with its members to attract international cruise lines to the capital, and represent members in our work with Cruise Ireland, Cruise Europe and Fáilte Ireland.”
“We want to promote Dublin as a premium cruise destination directly to cruise companies and work with businesses in Dublin to tailor packages to the needs of the cruise lines and their passengers. This includes attracting ‘Free Independent Travelers’, who normally disembark without an itinerary. We are looking at developing a systematic approach to guiding these passengers towards our members’ attractions, experiences and shopping using a new Cruise Dublin Visitor Card ahead of, and upon, arrival.”
Representatives from the city’s retailers and attractions, as well as tour operators and members from Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Fingal Local Authorities recently gathered at Dublin Port for a briefing on Cruise Dublin and the future of cruise tourism at Dublin Port.
Jim Keogan, Assistant CEO, Dublin City Council presented plans of the Docklands development demonstrating the port’s improved connectivity to the city, thus making Dublin a ‘City Centre Port’ and suitable for the ‘home porting’ market.
Dublin Port Company’s Head of Corporate Services with responsibility for cruise, Pat Ward, confirmed; “We are also commencing promotion of Dublin as a ‘Home Port’ which, once established, will dramatically increase the number of bed nights in Dublin. It’s an exciting initiative that needs to be commenced now if Dublin is to reap the rewards by 2020.”
“Dublin Port Company has been the driving force behind the development of Dublin’s burgeoning cruise tourism business, having worked to attract and build this valuable business for the city for over 30 years. This is the next step in creating a positive economic impact for the city, enhancing inbound tourism and contributing to the development of Docklands.”
According to Dublin Port Company’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’ Reilly; “The big challenge will be a lack of 5 star hotels in and around the Port and the City Centre. We have a window of opportunity to make a difference now, but this can only be achieved if we all work together - the businesses, the agencies and the Port. We are doing our part in our developments – it’s up to the industry now to “jump on board”.
Bantry Bay Port Company has launched its first Schools Initiative for 2016 aimed at 5th class primary schools.
The initiative theme ‘A Day in the Life of a Cruise Passenger Visiting Bantry Harbour’ is aimed at encouraging school children to explore the tourism aspect of Bantry harbour and all the wonderful visitor attractions to see and enjoy in the West Cork region.
Tourism plays a vital role in Bantry Bay Port Company’s business with a number of small cruise liners visiting the harbour each year. These cruise passengers and crew visit West Cork during the summer months, bringing a welcome economic tourism contribution to the region.
All 5th classes who participate in the Bantry Bay Port Company’s initiative will be invited on a boat trip around beautiful Garnish Island, compliments of Bantry Bay Port Company. An award will also be given for ‘Best Artwork Piece’ and each participating class and teacher will receive a Class Certificate of Participation.
Captain Paul O’Regan, Bantry Bay Port Company Harbour Master said: “We are excited to be launching our Bantry Bay Port Company Schools Initiative. The initiative is a great way for primary school children to learn about the history of Bantry port and the role it plays in the region. The theme this year relates to cruise tourism and this is an area Bantry Bay Port Company will be aiming to increase in the coming years.’
He continued: ‘Many local families are involved in tourism either directly or indirectly and so it’s important that children understand tourism and the business it generates for the region. We hope our initiative will make learning fun for the school children.’
Projects must contain a high level of visual content and can contain photographs as well as artwork. The creativity of each project will be taken into account when being judged as well as visual impact, originality, content and presentation. Bantry Bay Port Company will provide each participating school with a piece of ply-wood 2ft x 2ft and this must be used for the project. Closing date for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016. All submitted projects will go on public display in Bantry during the summer months.
To register your primary school or for further information, please visit the Bantry Bay Port Company website