Carlingford Lough Ferry faces into sec­ond win­ter

The Argus - - NEWS - By Mar­garet Roddy

The ferry link­ing com­mu­ni­ties on both sides of Carlingford Lough has a new name, as it has been re­branded as the Carlingford Lough Ferry as the ser­vice faces into its sec­ond win­ter sea­son.

The name change comes as the tourism sea­son ends, with lo­cal com­muters mak­ing up the bulk of the pas­sen­gers, re­plac­ing day trip­pers and vis­i­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Man­ager Bron­agh Mackin: ‘It’s at this time of year that our ser­vice proves most use­ful to lo­cal peo­ple. Dur­ing win­ter the roads are more dan­ger­ous with the risk of frost and ice. Com­ing up to Christ­mas, traf­fic jams up the roads at all times of the day and peo­ple are gen­er­ally stressed in their cars and vans try­ing to get here or there on time.’

‘We have seen a huge in­crease in the num­bers of peo­ple us­ing the ferry to get to work, whether it’s on the other side of the Lough or fur­ther afield in Dun­dalk or Dublin,’ she says.

‘We’ve got a lot of reg­u­lar com­mer­cial com­muters in­clud­ing fish com­pa­nies and hauliers car­ry­ing stone from the quar­ries.’

Pas­sen­ger num­bers are in­creas­ing since the ferry launched with 32,500 pas­sen­gers mak­ing the trip across the Lough in Au­gust. Nat­u­rally, num­bers fall af­ter the sum­mer but in ex­cess of 12,000 pas­sen­ger jour­neys were recorded for Oc­to­ber.

The ferry ser­vice runs from Green­cas­tle to Greenore on the hour ev­ery hour from 6am on week­days and 9.am on week­ends, cut­ting 38 miles from the road jour­ney and avoid­ing traf­fic jams.

At the week­ends, the ferry is prov­ing very pop­u­lar with An auc­tion for the 2016 jersey and League of Ire­land medal be­long­ing to former Dun­dalk FC player Alan Keane has raised €2,000 for the Zoe Mur­phy Ap­peal.

The Sligo fire fighter an­nounced on twit­ter that he was ‘Ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the re­sponse I re­ceived for the auc­tion I ran for my 2016 signed league win­ning Dun­dalk jersey & medal.’

The win­ning bid was €2,000 and the former de­fender said that the suc­cess­ful bid­der wished to re­main anony­mous. ‘De­lighted to have raised so much for such a great cause,’ he said. The Gal­way na­tive re­tired from pro­fes­sional foot­ball in 2017 af­ter a suc­cess­ful twelve year ca­reer which saw him win hon­ours with Dun­dalk, Gal­way and Sligo, in­clud­ing two league of Ire­land ti­tles, three FAI cups, a league of Ire­land Cup and a Se­tanta Sports Cup.

Zoe Mur­phy’s par­ents Ea­mon Mur­phy and Lynda Ban­non were de­lighted with his sup­port. The ap­peal which they set up to raise €100,000 so that they can bring the two and half year who has cel­e­bral palsy to the United States for life chang­ing surgery, has raised €30,000 in two months. hill walk­ers us­ing it to travel to The Mournes or the Coo­ley moun­tains.

Recent up­grades to the en­gines and ramp have made it eas­ier for ve­hi­cles to em­bark and dis­em­bark from the 44 ve­hi­cle ca­pac­ity MV Ais­ling Gabrielle.

‘We sail year round, apart from Christ­mas Day. Some­times sail­ings have to be can­celled due to strong winds or fog but for­tu­nately that doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten,’ says Bron­agh.

‘Our web­site is up­dated with live in­for­ma­tion and pas­sen­gers can also sign up for a text ser­vice which will give them up­dates on all sail­ings.’

Multi trip tick­ets are avail­able on­line and on board, and are ex­tremely pop­u­lar with lo­cal peo­ple. Each cross­ing with a multi trip ticket costs only £5 for a car or van in­clud­ing pas­sen­gers.

‘We also run spe­cial pro­mo­tions for events like mid-term , vin­tage ral­lies or fes­ti­vals,’ says Bron­agh. ’ We work closely with busi­nesses and the tourism sec­tor on both sides of the Lough.’

The com­pany are the main spon­sor for the Scenic Carlingford Ferry Loop Sportive 62km cy­cle which takes place on Satur­day Novem­ber 17 in aid of the Maria Goretti Foun­da­tion. Over 200 cy­clists are due to take part in the chal­lenge which fol­lows the coast­line from Newry to Greenore through the pic­tur- es­que vil­lages of Omeath and Carlingford. They will then board the ferry at Greenore to Green­cas­tle, and con­tinue their coastal route around the out­skirts of Kil­keel, through Rostrevor and War­ren­point be­fore fin­ish­ing in Newry. The event had been due to take place last Satur­day but had to be post­poned due to windy con­di­tions.

Carlingford ferry crosses the Lough..

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