Carlingford Lough Ferry faces into second winter
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..