As restrictions begin to slowly lift across Ireland, Carlingford Lough Ferry is preparing to launch a new cruise service specifically designed to offer customers the opportunity to take a safe and socially distanced cruise on the iconic Carlingford Lough.
The cross border Car Ferry service, which normally operates between Greencastle in Co. Down and Greenore, Co. Louth plans to resume operations later this summer, once public restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, the Company is keen to offer its services on the Lough and is pivoting the business to offer ‘walk-on’ passenger cruises onboard its 45-meter ferry. This new cruise service will depart from Greenore terminal and provide a wonderful safe outdoors experience which will allow the public to enjoy the fresh Carlingford Lough air once again.
The hour-long cruises will commence on Saturday, June 20th and offer a rare opportunity to cruise to within 400 meters of the historic Haulbowline Lighthouse, guarding the entrance to Carlingford Lough. While onboard, passengers will enjoy a fascinating audio tour that will offer insights into the myths and legends of this majestic Lough, its formation as a glacial fjord, and the abundance of wildlife and birdlife that make their home on one of the most ecologically important Loughs on the island.
Commenting on the launch of these new cruises Mark Mohan, Manager Ireland’s Ancient East, Failte Ireland said: “We commend the team at Carlingford Lough Ferry for its innovation and adaptability in this hugely difficult time for the tourism sector. We have been working closely with all tourism businesses to offer as much support and guidance as we can through the Covid crisis. Our research shows people are beginning to plan their domestic holidays so we hope that Carlingford Lough Ferry can welcome passengers as soon as the Government’s roadmap for reopening allows.”
Carlingford Lough Ferry’s primary vessel the Frazer Aisling Gabrielle, features a large open main deck area with upper viewing decks on either side of the vessel. Passenger numbers will be strictly monitored and reduced to approximately 50% of the normal 250 passenger capacity. Passengers will be divided into two groups on the vessels upper viewing decks and on the main lower deck area, where they can enjoy the spacious, car free surroundings and panoramic views of the iconic Carlingford Lough with the backdrop of the Mourne and Cooley Mountains. Strict social distancing will apply with floor markings to ensure passengers are sufficiently spaced to the required outdoor recommendations. There will be regular onboard cleaning in line with Public Health Service Guidelines and hand sanitiser units provided at various locations through the vessel.
Commercial Director with Carlingford Lough Ferry, Irene Hamilton: “We’re conscious that the public has given up so much by staying indoors during the lockdown and now that restrictions have been eased to allow county wide travel again, we are keen to use the ferry in a way that can offer locals the opportunity to travel out on the Lough and enjoy a safe family outdoor experience”.
These unique one-hour cruises can be booked online through the Carlingford Lough Ferry Facebook page under the ‘Lighthouse Cruise Event’ or on www.activitour.io/ferry-sailing .
Photo: Haulbowline Lighthouse. Image credit: Tony Armstrong