There was good news for Dún Laoghaire Harbour this week with the announcement that Stena Line has resumed its ferry service to Holyhead, a month earlier than planned; the arrival into the harbour of a vessel carrying massive fermentation tanks for the new Guinness facility in Dublin; and indications that the port will have its best ever season in terms of visits from cruise liners, with the highlight being the call by the Queen Mary on May 16th.
The early resumption of the daily Stena ferry service this week is particularly significant as it will bring thousands of additional visitors to Dún Laoghaire. The news will also be welcomed by the tourism industry as the ferry service, which takes just two hours and fifteen minutes to cross the Irish sea, is popular with tourists from Britain, especially those who want to avoid traffic in Dublin city.
The arrival into Dún Laoghaire harbour at the weekend of the 6,120 tonne Dutch vessel, the Myrtle, caught the attention of those walking on the East and West Piers, with many people wondering what were the massive, cylindrical containers that could be seen on board (pic attached). These are, in fact, fermentation tanks, for the new Guinness facility in Dublin.
Two further consignments of the tanks are due in the harbour on February 28th and March 19th, demonstrating that Dún Laoghaire Harbour is well capable of dealing with commercial shipping traffic of this nature.
It has also emerged that Dún Laoghaire is likely to have calls from up to ten cruise ships this year. The highlight will be the visit on May 16th of the Queen Mary 2, flagship vessel of the famous Cunard Line, with 3,000 passengers and several hundred crew aboard. In all, the total visitor numbers to Dún Laoghaire from this year’s cruise programme is likely be around 5,000.
There is great excitement building within the town. The Dún Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group (which includes the Harbour Company, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and local business groups) is actively planning a series of “céad míle fáilte” activities ranging from a display of Irish dancing to a guided walking tour of Dún Laoghaire and its hinterland to ensure that all passengers enjoy a memorable visit.
Commenting today, local Dáil Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “It’s great to see such a level of activity in Dún Laoghaire Harbour. I am greatly encouraged by the early resumption of the Stena service which will not only provide additional business for the town, but will also be a shot in the arm for our tourism sector.”
“The details of the cruise programme is also fantastic news. Like everyone else in Dún Laoghaire I am really looking forward to the visit of the Queen Mary 2 on May 22nd. Cruise ships are an increasingly important sector of the international tourism business and Dún Laoghaire, with its excellent harbour facilities, historic and interesting town and good transport links, is ideally placed to cater for this business,” she added.