MV Clew Bay Queen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
MV Clew Bay Queen as Clare Island ferry
MV Clew Bay Queen as Clare Island ferry
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg

Flag of Ireland.svgUnited Kingdom & Ireland

  • Kilbrannan
  • Arainn Mhor
  • Clew Bay Queen
Port of registry: Glasgow
Yard number: 416[1]
Launched: 19 May 1972[2]
In service: 8 July 1972[2]
Status: in service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 65 GRT[1]
Length: 69 ft (21.0 m)[2]
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Draught: 5 ft (1.5 m)
Installed power: Twin diesel 2 x 4SCSA 6-cylinder engines, each 150 bhp[1]
Propulsion: Twin screw via reverse reduction gearboxes
Speed: 8 knots
Capacity: 5 cars and 50 passengers
Crew: 3

MV Clew Bay Queen is a car ferry at Clare Island. Built in 1972 as MV Kilbrannan for Caledonian MacBrayne, she operated mainly at Scalpay, Outer Hebrides until 1992. As Arainn Mhor, she then operated the Arranmore ferry in County Donegal.


MV Kilbrannan was the first Small Island Class ferry built for Caledonian MacBrayne in 1972.[3] The class gave good service, but have been overtaken by demand, with most now replaced by Loch class vessels.

In 1992, Kilbrannan was sold for service in Ireland and renamed Arainn Mhor. Further success here, led to larger vessels being purchased and she moved south as the Clare Island ferry in County Mayo. Her new identity as Clew Bay Queen was accompanied by a new livery of dark green and white.[4]


The eight Island Class ferries, built between 1972 and 1976, were designed by Messrs Burnett Corless. The simple design was based on World War II landing craft, with a two-part folding ramp at the bow. They had an open plan car deck incorporating a small turntable immediately aft and a sheltered area of passenger accommodation at the stern. The wheelhouse was above the passenger accommodation and the main mast above the ramp at the bow. A radar mast sat on top of the bridge, just forward of the small funnel and engine exhaust. Once in service, Kilbrannan and MV Morvern were found to be too short. The specification for the remaining six vessels was increased by 5 feet.[3]


After launch, MV Kilbrannan inaugurated a seasonal crossing of the Kilbrannan Sound, between Claonaig, Kintyre and Lochranza on Arran. This proved successful and the following year, she was replaced by her larger sister, MV Rhum. She was relief vessel until 1977, when she took over the Scalpay service, where she remained for 13 years.[5] In 1990, Kilbrannan was replaced by MV Canna and resumed a relief role. New DTI restrictions meant her days were numbered. June to August 1991 saw her on charter to Burtonport, County Donegal for the Arranmore service. This was her longest voyage and made her the first CalMac vessel to operate outside Scotland.[5] Her final Scottish service in 1992, was backing up Morvern at Iona and then relieving at Lochaline.

In Ireland, as Arainn Mhor she sailed on the fifteen-minute crossing between Burtonport and Arranmore.[6] Now in County Mayo, Clew Bay Queen crosses from Roonagh to Clare Island and Inishturk.[4] She provides a cargo and vehicle service alongside a passenger ferry. The Clew Bay Queen is the best suited ferry for Clare Island as she is a multi purpose vessel[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "MV Kilbrannan". Clydebuilt. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "MV Kilbrannan". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Island Class Vessels". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Life after Calmac". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "History of MV Kilbrannan". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Arranmore Ferry". Arranmore Car & Passenger Ferry Service. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Clare Island Ferry". Clare Island Ferry Co. Retrieved 15 July 2012.