Irish Ferries – Fleet

Isle of Inishmore

Built 1997
Van der Giessen, Rotterdam, Holland.
Size 34, 031gt
182.5M x 27.8M x 5.8M
Capacity Passengers: 2,200
Berths: 226
Cars: 886
Engines
Speed
4 x Sulzer (23,040kW)
21.5kts
Route Rosslare – Pembrook Dock

The Isle of Inishmore is the second of two high-capacity ferries completed in Holland by van der Giessen-de Noord. She was Europe’s biggest ro-pax vessel when introduced and the largest Irish flagged passenger ship. She replaced the 1995-built Isle of Innisfree (now on charter to P&O as Pride of Cherbourg) on the Dublin-Hollyhead route and increased both freight and passenger carryings until herself being replaced by the Ulysses during May 2001. She was then moved to Rosslare-Pembrook Dock and again succeeded in generating additional traffic, completing two round trips every 24 hours, with crossing times of three hours and 45 minutes.

Ulysses

Built 2001
Aker Finnyards, Rauma, Finland
Size 50, 938gt
209M x 31.2M x 6.4M
Capacity Passengers: 1,875
Berths: 228
Cars: 1,342
Engines
Speed
4 x MAK (31, 200kW)
22kts
Route Dublin-Holyhead

Irish Ferries claim that the Ulysses’ is the world’s largest and most reliable car ferry, and the marketing of this has helped Irish Ferries gain an increasing passenger and freight market share in the highly competitive Irish Sea central corridor. Named after the James Joyce book that immortalised life at each hour of June 16, 1904, the 12 deck high Ulysses offers passengers the chance to learn more about the book while exploring the many public rooms on a James Joyce walking tour. With a 22-knot service speed, she crosses the Irish Sea in just over 3 hours and completes two trips every 24 hours taking up to 2,000 passengers and almost five kilometres of vehicle space on three decks capable of swallowing-up 1,342 cars or 240 trucks.

Epsilon

Built 2011
Cantieri Navale Visentini, Italy
Size 26,375gt
186.50M x 25.60M x6.85M
Capacity Passengers: 400
Berths: 272
Cars: 70
Engines
Speed
2 * MAN 9L48/60B
24kts
Route Dublin-Holyhead
Dublin – Cherbourg

The Visentini built Cartour Epsilon was delivered in 2011 to Sicilian ferry operator Caronte & Tourist.

In 2013, the Epsilon was chartered to Irish Ferries to expand the Dublin – Holyhead route in response to Stena Line placing the Stena Superfast X on the route, as well as launching a new weekend Dublin – Cherbourg route at weekends.

On 11 February 2016, Epsilon made headlines after passengers were injured, and a number of her vehicles were damaged after sailing into Storm Imogen while en route from Cherbourg to Dublin.

W.B. Yeats

Built 2018
Flensburger Shiffbau-Gesellschaft, Germany
Size 51,388gt
194.8M x 31.6M x 6.7M
Capacity Passengers: 1,800
Berths: 440 (cabins)
Cars: 1,216
Engines
Speed
4 × MaK 8M43C
22.5kts
Route Dublin – Cherbourg

A new build ship, at the time unnamed, was ordered from German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG)in May 2016. At the time of the order, the vessel was planned to enter service in May 2018. When her keel was laid in September 2017, the expected delivery had slipped to July 2018. In October 2018, her name was announced to be W.B. Yeats, chosen in an online competition.

W.B. Yeats‘ hull was launched on 19 January 2018, but further delays during the fitting out led to Irish Ferries delaying her entry into service first to late July, then to September. Parts of her superstructure were built in a separate yard, and transported to Germany by barge. By August, it was being reported that her delivery would likely not take place until October, but work was further delayed and she did not begin sea trials until late in the month.

Irish Ferries eventually took delivery of the ship on 12 December 2018. She arrived in Dublin on 20 December 2018, following berthing trials in Cherbourg and Rosslare. W.B. Yeats finally made her much delayed first commercial sailing on 22 January 2019 when she struck the berth attempting to dock at Holyhead leaving a dent in the ship and bending the ramp in the impact delaying the offloading by some time.

As a result of the delays, ICG cancelled an order for a sister ship from FSG.

Fast Ferries:

HSC Dublin Swift

Built2001/2018
Austal Ships, Australia
Size8,403gt
101.4M x 26.65M x4.3M
CapacityPassengers: 900
Cars: 251
Engines
Speed
4 * Caterpillar 3618
36kts
RouteDublin – Holyhead

Built as a passenger and vehicle catamaran ferry, Westpac Express was demonstrated in 2001 to American Military Sealift Command, who signed a 3-year lease. The ship was converted to a military positioning ship.

In March 2011, the WestPac Express was deployed as part of the US response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In recognition of this service, Admiral Mark Buzby presented the ship’s crew with United States Merchant Marine Outstanding Achievement Medal at a ceremony onboard the ship in Yokohama, Japan. Her lease was renewed successively until the end of 2017.

In April 2016 WestPac Express was sold to Irish Continental Group, who maintained the lease to the Military Sealift Command until the end of 2017.

With her charter to the US Navy completed, in January 2018 WestPac Express sailed for Belfast, for conversion to a civilian hight speed ferry. She entered service on Irish Ferries Dublin – Holyhead route in April 2018.