12 May 2023
By Elaine Murphy
In West Cork…
New 200-passenger Fast Ferry added to the Cape Clear Ferries fleet in its summer schedule
Cape Clear Ferries has announced its summer schedule for West Cork, taking in Baltimore, Cape Clear Island, The Fastnet Rock and Schull.
The announcement comes amid considerable excitement at the launch of the newest addition to their fleet – the ‘Carraig Aonair’, (formerly Spirit of Doolin).
The Carrig Aonair is certified to carry 200 passengers to Ireland’s most southerly point. Most importantly, the ferry is weatherproof and built to withstand unpredictable Irish weather conditions.
Just in time for summer, visitors can circumnavigate the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in the comfortable surrounds of the new ferry – with panoramic 360 views from both inside and out – with large saloon windows to enjoy the view and seating for 100 passengers inside.
The Fastnet Tour is more than just a ferry trip – it’s an experience, which is reflected in the awards and accolades Cape Clear Ferries have received for the tour over the years, including the Wild Atlantic Way’s Tourism Business of the Year most recently in 2022.
The tour has also been named among the top tours in Ireland by National Geographic and has topped the bill as an outstanding West Cork Maritime Tourism experience. Fáilte Ireland has also featured footage of one of our ferries rounding the Fastnet Rock in its national and international television ads.
Speaking in relation to the launch of the summer schedule, Karen Cottrell from Cape Clear Ferries said:
“There is always great excitement and anticipation ahead of our regular schedule launches at the beginning of the summer season, but this year we are thrilled to have the option to provide faster and more frequent tours around the famous Fastnet Rock – the tallest and widest rock lighthouse in Ireland and the UK.
“This offers a brilliant backdrop for great family adventures – sailing around the towering rock, savouring its rich history and magnificent location, often seeing whales, dolphins and basking sharks en route.
“Passengers can also then visit the picturesque Cape Clear Island and the Queen of Carbery’s Hundred Isles, while those who want to take the tour as the sun sets can avail of our hugely popular twilight tours which return again this year.
“We are immensely proud of our regular year-round ferry service, our tours, our iconic rock, our wonderful Cape Clear Island and the surrounding islands collectively known as Carbery 100 Isles.
“The success of the tour to date is the result of a collective and unified approach from both ourselves and the small local communities that we work so closely with to provide the best possible experience for everyone who travels on our ferries.
We are privileged to have a loyal and experienced crew with a core of lifelong seafarers from the locality and with a deep sense of commitment to the community they serve’, mar a deir an seanfhocal, ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’,”
Cape Clear Ferries’ recognisable orange ferries connect Baltimore and Schull (from June to August) to Cape Clear Island daily, navigating through the islands criss-crossing picturesque coves and ancient landmarks to arrive at the island’s sparkling harbour. While on the Island; Cape Clear Heritage Centre is a must visit.
Meanwhile in Cork City…
Meanwhile, a sister company, Cork Harbour Cruises, established to showcase the coastal areas along Cork City passing Blackrock Castle and on to Cobh, (and recently named ‘Best New Business’ at this year’s Cork Business Association Awards) also continues its scenic harbour tours. Docked at Custom House Quay at the centre of Cork city, it will also welcome passengers on board throughout the summer with
corporate packages and twilight tours available.
Further information on the summer schedule, current customised tours and reservations for the Cape Clear/Baltimore route, Schull/Cape Clear/Fastnet route see www.capeclearferries.com