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|Industry||Transportation & Tourism|
|Predecessor||B&I Line; Irish Continental Line|
|Headquarters||Dublin, Ireland, Dublin, Ireland|
Number of locations
|Dublin Port, Ireland, Holyhead, Wales, Rosslare Europort, Ireland, Pembroke Dock, Wales, Cherbourg, France & Roscoff, France|
|France, Ireland & United Kingdom|
|Eamonn Rothwell, C.E.O. Irish Continental Group (ICG plc)|
|Services||Passenger transportation, Freight transportation;|
|Parent||Irish Continental Group (ICG) plc.|
|Divisions||Irish Ferries; Eucon|
|Subsidiaries||Irish Ferries Freight; Dublin Ferryport Terminals; Belfast Container Terminal|
The company operates passenger and freight routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, particularly: Dublin Port–Holyhead; Rosslare Europort to Pembroke as well as Roscoff and Cherbourg in France. ICG also owns the Eucon container line which operates vessels on routes operating between Ireland and the continent.
The company's flagship, MV Ulysses, is currently the largest ROPAX ferry operating on the Irish Sea and when launched (2001) was the world's largest car ferry in terms of car-carrying capacity. Other ships in the fleet include MV Isle of Inishmore, MV Oscar Wilde and the fast ferry HSC Jonathan Swift (a.k.a. Dublin Swift as she is currently promoted). The company also charters out a vessel, MV Kaitaki to Interisland Line, and charters in a ro-pax vessel, MV Epsilon. The company used to charter Pride of Bilbao, but sold her to St. Peter Line in 2013, who renamed her MS SPL Princess Anastasia (1986).
Irish Continental Line was formed in 1973 as a joint venture between Irish Shipping Limited, Fearnley & Eger and Swedish company Lion Ferry. It originally operated on the Rosslare–Le Havre route with the 547 berth, 210 car ferry Saint Patrick. When Irish Shipping Ltd. went into liquidation in 1984, Irish Continental Line was sold off in a management buyout and emerged as Irish Continental Group.
In 1992, Irish Continental Group took over the British and Irish Steam Packet Company Limited, a nationalised company which traded under the name B + I Line and operated ferry services between Dublin and Holyhead and between Rosslare and Pembroke Dock.
As part of its offer to buy B&I Line, management at Irish Continental Group (ICG) undertook to invest in replacing what was an ageing fleet. Over the following decade, a programme of fleet renewal was undertaken involving investment of €500 million to create what was described as the most modern ferry fleet in western Europe (1).
New vessels were built such as Ulysses, Isle of Innisfree (now on charter in New Zealand as Kaitaki), Isle of Inishmore and a fast ferry Jonathan Swift, all for service on its Ireland–UK routes. As a result, the company put itself in a position to attract increased passenger and freight business, influenced by the modern facilities and improved reliability of each vessel and the extra capacity that was available on board.
On the 31st May 2016, ICG announced that it had entered into an agreement, with the German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG ("FSG"), whereby FSG has agreed to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €144 million.
The new cruise ferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) plus an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.
Referring to the announcement Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive Officer, ICG plc commented that;
"This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France. The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer a premium experience for all our customers, in line with our commitment to deliver the best in service, in reliability and flexibility across all our routes. We also expect to be well positioned to accommodate the changing expectations of our customers, and to benefit from significant operational and financial benefits following the delivery in 2018."
Irish Ferries has been successful at winning awards in the consumer, travel trade and logistics sectors within which it operates. In 2001, the newly completed vessel Ulysses was awarded the title 'Most Significant Newbuild – Ferry' by Lloyds List Cruise & Ferry.
In 2016, the Irish travel trade voted Irish Ferries 'Best Ferry Company' at the 'Irish Travel Industry Awards' and the ' Irish Travel Trade News Awards'. Irish Ferries Freight was awarded the Innovation Excellence Award at the Export & Freight 'Transport and Logistics Industry Awards 2016'.
|Ship||Built||Entered Service||Route||Crossing Times||Gross Tonnage||Notes|
|Ulysses||2001||2001||Dublin Port–Holyhead||3 hours 15 minutes||50,938 GT||The largest ro-pax ferry currently (2017) operating on the Irish Sea, carrying up to 1,875 passengers and 1,342 cars.|
|Isle of Inishmore||1997||1997||Rosslare Europort - Pembroke Dock||4 hours||34,031 GT||Carrying up to 2,200 passengers and 855 cars.|
|Jonathan Swift||1999||1999||Dublin Port - Holyhead||1 hour 49 minutes||5,989 GT||Carrying up to 800 passengers and 200 cars, and with an average speed of 39 knots.|
|Oscar Wilde||1987||2007||Rosslare - Cherbourg/Roscoff||16–17 hours||31,914 GT||Carrying up to 1,458 passengers, 580 cars and with 1,376 beds.|
|3 hrs 25 minutes
|26,375 GT||Operating Dublin - Holyhead (mid-week) & Dublin - Cherbourg (week-ends).|
Ships under charter to other companies
|Ship||Under charter to||Built||Purchased by Irish Ferries||Route||Tonnage1||Notes|
|Kaitaki||Interisland Line||1995||1995||Picton–Wellington||22,365 GT||Sailed for Irish Ferries as 'Isle of Innisfree' 1995–2001|
|1May be specified in gross tonnage (GT) or gross register tons (GRT).|
|Ship||Years in service||Gross Register Tonnage||Status as of 2008|
|Saint Patrick||1972–1982||7,819 GRT ||In 1982 renamed the St. Colum 1 and transferred to Belfast Car Ferries. Scrapped as EXPRESS P at Alang, India in August 2005|
Saint Killian II
|Scrapped in Alang, 2007|
|Saint Patrick II||1982–1997||7,984 GRT||Since 2002 sailing as MS C.T.M.A. Vacancier for Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien|
|Isle of Inishmore
Isle of Inishturk
|6,807 GRT||Since 1997 sailing as Madeleine for Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien.|
|Normandy||1998–2007||17,043 GRT||sold to Equinox Offshore Accommodation and[when?] chartered to the Morocco-based Ferrimaroc. Scrapped in Alang, 2012|
|Pride of Bilbao||1993–2010
|37,799 GRT||Sailed under charter to P&O Ferries. Sold to St. Peter Line in 2014.|
|Thomas Wehr||1992||7,628 GRT|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Irish Ferries.|
- Irish Ferries – Online Tickets Sales & Reservations
- Irish Continental Group (corporate)
- Irish Ferries (consumer)
- (Irish ferries enthusiasts site)
- Irish Ferries You Tube Channel (consumer)
- "Irish Ferries". Irish Ferries Enthusiasts Group. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- ‘Irish Ferries – An Ambitious Voyage’ by Miles Cowsill and Justin Merrigan