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Maiden voyage

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

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"YOU can pick the day but you cannot pick the weather".
Those were the words of the Carlingford Ferry Chief Executive, Pamela Houston as the Scenic Carlingford Ferry made its maiden voyage, five decades after the idea was first mooted.
The first sailing had been due to take place back in June however, was delayed after essential navigational aids had not been delivered and installed.
It was then announced late last week that the first sailing for the public would take place last Friday (21 July) at noon from Greencastle, however it was actually passengers from Greenore who got to first set foot onto the ferry shortly around 1pm.
That is because the noon sailing was delayed due to what the owners said was "severe gale force winds" at Greencastle.
Around 100 families, cyclists and tourists had gathered at the edge of Greencastle to either get on or view the vessel's maiden voyage.
They were then told the crew were going to undertake a 'test run' to see if the ferry would be able to carry passengers.
As the wind continued to pick up, it looked unlikely that the ferry was going to sail but those on the Greencastle shore soon saw cars being loaded onto the ferry at Greenore, shortly after the ferry had completed its test run.
Cars at Greencastle were already trying to get organised to see who was going to be the first car on the 44-car vessel.
When the ferry came into Greencastle there were cheers and waves from the pier.
The vessel is set to operate every day, except Christmas Day and with the delay in sailing on Friday, many passengers expressed their concern of how the ferry was going to operate in the winter.
However the owners of the boat said that they have no concerns about that.
Ms Houston acknowledged that while the weather was not in their favour last week, they were "delighted to get going".
“This unique visitor experience will take your breath away with its stunning beauty, of mountains, castles and wildlife including seals, dolphins and birdlife. It is a must-do summer experience. We look forward to welcoming you onboard," said Ms Houston.
The new ferry service is set to provide a boost to tourism in the scenic and historic region and has created 18 new full-time jobs in the local areas serviced by the ferry.
The launch of the transformational service is the result of a 10 million euro/8.8 million investment by Frazer Ferries Group, Limerick which included the construction of bespoke terminals at Greencastle and Greenore, as well as investment in expert navigation equipment and a state-of the-art 44 car-vessel.
The crossing will take 15 to 20 minutes and will traverse one of the most scenic stretches of water on the island of Ireland, connecting stunningly beautiful and historic areas - from the Mourne Coastal Route in the Ancient Kingdom of Mourne to the Carlingford and Cooley Peninsula through the gateway to Ireland's Ancient East. Taking the one-mile journey by ferry will save passengers almost 35 miles and up to 90 minutes by road.
Speaking from the ferry on its first passenger sailing, Paul O'Sullivan, founder and managing director of Scenic Carlingford Ferry, said he was "delighted to announce the ferry's first passenger sailing" last week.
“Carlingford Lough is located midway between the two major population centres of Dublin and Belfast. This corridor encompasses a resident population of almost 2.2 million people. Scenic Carlingford Ferry will act as a catalyst for economic development in the South Down/North Louth region, and will become an essential infrastructural link, which will stimulate economic growth in a range of sectors, including the tourism industry," said Mr O'Sullivan.
Chief Executive of Scenic Carlingford Ferry, Pamela Houston added: "Thanks to the experience of our crew, engineering teams and our marine contractors, L&M Keating Limited along with the amazing support from regulatory bodies, Greenore Port, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority and Carlingford Lough Pilots, we are delighted to have a beautiful new travelling experience open for business.
Frazer Ferries has vast experience of the ferry industry, comprising two of the founding families of Shannon Ferries, founded in 1969, linking counties Clare and Kerry.
Frazer Ferries acquired the successful Scenic Passage East Ferry last year which operates between counties Waterford and Wexford since 1982 and also are operators of the Scenic Lough Foyle Ferry linking the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal on the Wild Atlantic Way with the Causeway Coastal Route.
For further information on sailing times and ticket prices visit www.carlingfordferry.com

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