Excitement is building as marine construction is now well advanced at the terminals for the Scenic Carlingford Ferry. The new cross border vehicular ferry service will link Greenore, Co Louth and Greencastle, Co Down across the iconic Carlingford Lough and will commence operations in June. The works are already attracting large numbers of visitors to view the progress.
This project, which has taken almost 10 years to bring to fruition, will be one of the most strategic infrastructure investments in the region. The €9.75 million (£8.5 million) project is entirely privately financed and is being developed by Frazer Ferries Group. Mr. Paul O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Frazer Ferries is delighted to see the project finally under construction. “We are very pleased to have arrived at this stage after a long and exhaustive permitting process in two jurisdictions. The outstandingly beautiful South Down and coastal regions of the Mournes and the Cooley Peninsula have intrinsic natural attractions but restricted access to the areas is a significant problem.
We are very confident that the new ferry service across the mouth of Carlingford Lough will be a major attraction and will allow both regions to be marketed holistically as a single destination.” Mr. O’Sullivan continued “Tourism Northern Ireland has adopted the Mournes as a Signature Project for its potential as a world class destination. On the southern shore, Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula is designated a European Destination of Excellence. The ferry will link both regions and create a new destination for Irish and overseas visitors and be a new stimulant for economic growth”.
Scenic Carlingford Ferry will link two of the most stunningly beautiful and historic areas of Ireland and Northern Ireland; from the Carlingford & Cooley Peninsula as part of Ireland’s Ancient East on the southern side to the Mourne Coastal Trail in the Ancient Kingdom of Mourne on the northern shore. It will be transformational for the local tourism sectors, a huge economic boost and open up a new access route into the Mourne area and put Dublin just over 1 hour from the majestic Mountains of Mourne. It will reduce the travel time from Greencastle to Greenore from 60-90 minute journey to just 15 minutes.
This will be the 1st vehicular ferry across Carlingford Lough. The previous two ferries having carried passengers only. The first ferry was recorded in 1185 AD and sailed between the medieval castles at Carlingford and Greencastle, then was followed by the Greenore Greencastle ferry which carried the first “tourists”, during the 19th Century.
The 44 car vessel will take just 15 minutes to traverse one of the most scenic stretches of water on the island of Ireland, where you can take time to breath in the salty air, appreciate the mountain and seascapes, wildlife, seals and terns. You cannot fail to miss the historic 13th Century Royal Greencastle Castle, the elegant tapering Mourne granite 112’ tall Haulbowline Lighthouse, which stands guard at the entrance to Carlingford Lough along with the Block House and Green Islands, where the seals bask on the south facing shore. Depending on the state of the tide you will see the oyster and mussel farms which grow the tastiest and juiciest seafood on the shores of the Lough and which you can sample in the local restaurants in Carlingford and Kilkeel.
Whether it’s your journey to work or just discovering this beautiful, romantic undiscovered part of the world for the first time, this is not just a ferry ride but a journey back in time, following in the footsteps of the Vikings who invaded in 852 AD, followed by their medieval ancestors, the Normans in the 12th and 13th Centuries.
There will be multi journey ticket deals for those who will use this to commute to Dublin or to Co. Down. Many local people have never sailed on Carlingford Lough, but will now have the opportunity to appreciate the magical Mountains of Mourne and Cooley Mountains as they dramatically sweep into the depths of Carlingford Lough.
Many people are already watching the ongoing site works with anticipation and are looking forward to sailing across the Lough to explore, the castles, golf courses, walking and cycling routes, horse riding, outdoor pursuits, towns, heritage, shops, restaurants and cafes.
The scenic Carlingford Ferry will operate from 7am to 7.30pm from November to March and 7am to 9.30pm from April to October. It will operate hourly from Greencastle on the hour and hourly from Greenore on the half hour. Road widening works on the Greencastle Pier Road have now been completed and the piles which anchor the piers in place are being inserted at a depth of at least 18m deep. Work continues apace.
The ferry is aiming to welcome its first passengers aboard in early June. You can keep up to date with progress and take advantage of the early bird ticket discounts by filling your details in below.