|Locale||County Down, Northern Ireland|
|Transit type||Passenger and automobile ferry|
|Owner||NI Department for Infrastructure|
|Began operation||1611 or earlier|
|System length||0.6 nmi (0.69 mi; 1.1 km)|
|No. of vessels||2|
|No. of terminals||2|
The Portaferry–Strangford ferry service crosses Strangford Lough at its narrowest point, close to where the lough joins the Irish Sea. The ferry links the two disconnected sections of the A2 road, Muff to Portaferry and Strangford to Newry. There has been a ferry service between Portaferry and Strangford for four centuries without a break. The alternative road journey is 47 miles (76 km), while the ferry crosses the 0.6 nautical miles (0.69 mi; 1.1 km) in 8 minutes.
In 1611 James I granted land on either side of the Lough to Peirce Tumolton in order to maintain and crew a ferry boat. In 1835 a group of local people formed the "Portaferry and Strangford Steamboat Company" and commissioned the building of the Lady of the Lake, which was the first steam ferry in Ireland. This venture was not commercially successful and the ferry was sold in 1839. In 1913 three passengers were lost when a ferry capsized. In 1946 two converted World War II landing craft were introduced, capable of accommodating about 36 passengers and two motor cars, but the following year one of these capsized with the loss of one life.
Various vessels were in use until 1969 when the Down District Council took over operation of a ferry capable of carrying vehicles and passengers. To operate the service, MV Strangford was built by the Verolme Shipyard in Cork. In 1975 the Welsh ferry Cleddau King was purchased and used as reserve ferry under the name MV Portaferry Ferry. In 2001, a new vessel named MV Portaferry II was brought into service, relegating MV Strangford to a support role and releasing the MV Portaferry Ferry for disposal. A second new vessel, MV Strangford II, was delivered in 2016 but her introduction was delayed until February of the following year when it was discovered that she was unable to discharge cars at high tide.
Transport NI, an executive agency of the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure, operates the ferry service. Ferries depart each terminal every 30 minutes and convey about 500,000 passengers per annum. Vehicles and their drivers are carried for a fee with additional vehicle passengers or foot passengers also charged. Senior citizens resident in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland with the appropriate documentation are permitted free passage. The subsidised public service operates at a loss of more than £1m per year but is viewed as an important transport link to the Ards Peninsula.
|PS Lady of the Lake||1836||1836||1839||A 40-ton paddle steamer built for the "Portaferry and Strangford Steamboat Company" by Alexander McLaine. She arrived at Portaferry on 18 June 1836, and was the first steam ferry in Ireland. However she was not commercially successful and was sold in 1839.|
|MV Strangford Ferry||1969||1969||Built for use on the Portaferry–Strangford ferry by the Verolme Shipyard in Cork and launched on 6 September 1969. She operated as the main vessel on the service until the arrival of the Portaferry II in 2001, and as the reserve vessel until the Strangford II was placed in service in 2017. She was sold to sold to Cara na nOilean, owners of the Arranmore Ferry company in February 2018 for use as a reserve vessel. She entered service with them on May 4th 2018 between Greencastle and Magilligan Point |
|MV Portaferry Ferry
(ex Cleddau King)
|1962||1975||2002||Built for use on the ferry across the River Cleddau between Neyland and Pembroke Dock in Wales, by Hancock's Shipbuilding Co. of Pembroke Dock and with the name Cleddau King. When that crossing was superseded by the Cleddau Bridge in 1975, she was acquired for use as a reserve vessel on the Portaferry–Strangford ferry and modified by shipbuilders Harland and Wolff of Belfast. She operated on the route under the name MV Portaferry until sold in May 2002.
The Portaferry Ferry had a gross tonnage of 151 tons.
|MV Portaferry II||2001||2001||Built for use on the Portaferry–Strangford ferry, by Gdańska Stocznia Remontowa and McTay Marine of Merseyside, at a cost of a £2.7 million. She entered service on 18 December 2001.
The Portaferry II has a gross tonnage of 312 tons, a hull length of 38.2 metres (125 ft), a beam of 14.56 metres (47.8 ft), a draught of 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in) and a capacity of 260 passengers and 20 cars. She is propelled by a pair of Voith Schneider propellors, driven by diesel engines.
|MV Strangford II||2016||2016||Built for use on the Portaferry–Strangford ferry, by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, England. She was delivered in 2016, but it was initially found that the vessel was unable to discharge cars at high tide due to a specification error, which delayed entry into service. The vessel finally entered service in February 2017, and was formally named in July of that year by the Duke of Kent.
The Strangford II has a gross tonnage of 405 tons, a hull length of 40.5 metres (133 ft), a beam of 14.6 metres (48 ft), a draught of 1.95 metres (6 ft 5 in) and a capacity of 260 passengers and 27 cars. She is propelled by a pair of Voith Schneider propellors, driven by diesel engines.
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- "About the Ferry". Northern Ireland Roads Department. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
- "Ferry Terminal - Strangford & Lecale". Strangfordlough.org. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Scraps of Strangford History - The Honeymoon Ferry Boat". DIPPAM - Documenting Ireland:Parliament, People and Migration. 19 June 1946. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
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- "Strangford ferry tied up as ramps will not allow cars to disembark". BBC News. 9 December 2016. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
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- "Strangford ferry timetable". Nidirect.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
- "Strangford ferry fares". Nidirect.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2017-08-04. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
- "Strangford Ferry Operating at a loss". Portaferry Online. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Strangford Ferry - IMO 6926311". Shipspotting.com. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "MV Portaferry II - IMO 9237436". Shipspotting.com. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Portaferry II (McTay Marine #127)". niferry.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Strangford II (Cammell Laird #1389)". niferry.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
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