Irish Ferries – Past Vessles

St. Patrick

Built 1973
Schiffbau Gesellschaft Unterweser AG, Bremerhaven, Germany
Size 7,819gt
117,99 x 18,19 x 5,32 m.
Capacity Passengers: 1,822
Berths: 560
Cars: 230
2 x Pielstick 12PC2V
Route Rosslare – Le Havre (ICG)

Belfast – Liverpool (Belfast Car Ferries)

St Patrick was delivered to the newly formed Irish Continental Shipping company on May 29th 1973, and on June 6th, open the company’s first route between Rosslare and Le Havre, and remained on the route until May 1982 when she was transferred to Belfast Car Ferries (another ICG company), and was renamed St. Columb and placed on their Belfast – Liverpool route. Later in 1982 she was registered to First Dallas Ltd, Belfast and charted back to Belfast Car Ferries as St. Columb I, a year later she was sold to Allied Irish Banks and again charted back to Belfast Car Ferries. In 1987 she covered the B&I’s refits over the winter, and returned to Belfast in January 1988. However due to the service only having one ship, St Columb I had to make a round trip every twenty four hours, and engine trouble was making this difficult (as well as the growing number of trucks wanting her limited car deck space), and on October 14, 1990 she left Liverpool for the last time, and later that night, left the Irish Sea for Le Havre to be laid up. She was sold to Arkadia Lines, Greece and renamed Dimitrios Express and refitted in Pireus. In April 1991 she entered service between Igoumenitsa and Bari. Over the next few years she went through a number of names, Kadia Express in 1993, Dimitrios Express in 1995, Poseidon Express 2 in 1996 and Express Poseidon in 1999 all for Arkadia Lines who sold her in 2005 for breaking up in India.

St Killian

St Killian II

Built 1973 /1981 (rebuild)
Brodogradiliste Titovo, Yugoslavia
Size 7.125 / 10.256 (rebuild)
124,75 x 19,54 x 5,12. m156,85 x 19,59 x 5,21 m (rebuild)
Capacity Passengers: 1.500 / 2.000
Berths: 873 / 1.374
Cars: 250 / 380
2 x Pielstick 18PC2 V
Route Rosslare/ Cork – Cherbourg/ Le Havre

Cork/ Rosslare – Roscoff/Cherbourg/ Le Havre

Built in 1973 as the Stena Scandinavica for Stena’s Göteborg – Kiel route which she sailed for 5 years, St. Killian joined the Irish Continental Fleet in April 1978 after the late Captain Coleman Raftery said she was a perfect vessel to expand the Ireland France routes she was purchased for IR£9 million to join the St. Patrick. Before entering service she was briefly chartered back to Stena Line, and made a visit to Dún Laoghaire to promote the route. In her first month she ran along side the St. Patrick from Rosslare, and also started sailings from Cork to Cherbourg and Le Havre.

By the early 80s Irish Continental needed more capacity on the Ireland- France routes, and instead of getting new tonnage, it was decided to lengthen St. Killian. On November 12th 1981 St. Killian entered ADM shipyard, Amsterdam and emerged 15 weeks later 31.85 meters longer, and with accommodation for 517 extra passengers and 98 extra cars, while also being renamed the St. Killian II and was placed back on her Ireland – France routes. On Christmas Eve 1986 with 300 passengers onboard a fire disabled the ship off the coast of Cornwall. The vessel was taken under tow to Falmouth for initial repairs, and in January 1987 moved to Blohm & Voss, Hamburg to be returned to service. In February 1987 she resumed service. In 1997 the Saint Killian II was withdrawn from service after fourteen years of service, following her final departure from Ringaskiddy, to Le Havre on September 27th 1997, where she was laid up pending sale. In October 1998 she was sold to Cape Enterprise Ltd, Panama. And renamed Medina Star, and set sail for the Black sea. In 2003 she was again sold, this time to Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, Panama and renamed Egnatia III operating between Patras – Igoumenitsa – Korfu – Brindisi. In June 2003 she was charted to Algerie Ferries and sailed between Algeria and France, and is currently laid up in Laid up in Eleusis Bay, Greece.

St. Patrick II

Built 1973/1983

J.J. Sietas KG Schiffswerft GmbH & Co, Germany

Size 7,984gt
125.22 x 21.53 x 5.27M
Capacity Passengers: 1,500
Berths: 450
Cars: 420
2 x Stork-Werkspoor 16TM410
Route Rosslare/Cork – Roscoff/Cherbourg/ Le Havre

Orgionally built as M/S Aurella for Viking Line services between Kapellskär (Sweeden) – Mariehamn – Nådendal (Finland), ICG purchased the St. Patrick II to provide extra capacity on the Ireland-France route in the summer months. The lack of traffic during the winter saw her chartered to other operators, including the B&I Line, P&O, Sealink and Tallink. However falling passenger numbers saw the route suspended in September 1997, and the St. Patrick II was put up for sale. She headed to Greece and sailed for 2 years as Egnatia II. In 2000 she entered service with BalebarExpress between Sete in France and Palma (Majorca), as Ville de Sete. 2001 saw her return to Irish waters and one of her former irish ports, when she sailed as the City of Cork for Swansea-Cork Ferries. 2002 saw her acquired by the Canadian government, and she now sails as C.T.M.A. VACANCIER between Montreal and Cap-aux-Meules

Isle of Inishmore

Isle of Inishturk

Built 1981

Verolme Cork Dockyard Ltd, Ireland

Size 9,700gt
122,05 x 18,83 x 4,99 m.
Capacity Passengers: 1,500
Berths: 534
Cars: 362
4 x MaK 8M551AK
Route Dublin – Holyhead

Rosslare – Pembroke

The Irish built Lenister was built for Dublin – Holyhead services with the B&I. She was the last ferry to sail from Trafalgar Dock with the B&I. Following the privatisation of the company, she continued on Dublin-Holyhead services, and was renamed Isle of Inishmore in April 1993 (with ICG replacing the B&I brand with Irish Ferries). With the order for the new Isle of Inishmore was made in 1995, the former B&I ferry was renamed the Isle of Inishturk in November 1996, and a few months later took up Rosslare – Pembroke Dock services after being displaced by the Isle of Inishfree. With the arrival of the Isle of Inishmore she was again displaced by the Inishfree, and was sold the the Canadian government, and currently operates between Souris and Cap-aux-Meules for C.T.M.A as the M/F Madeleine.


Built 1982
Gotaverken-Arendal, Gothenburg
Size 24,872gt
149M x 26M x 6.1M
Capacity Passengers: 2,060
Berths: 1,152
Cars: 450
4xWärtsilä (15,360kW)
Route Rosslare-Roscoff

Designed for the Gothenburg-Frederikshaven crossing, the Normandy spent most of her career on far longer routes maintaining year-round services from Rosslare to France since 1989, initially on charter and purchased by Irish Ferries in 1999. Delivered to Stena Line as Prinsessan Brigitta, she was briefly on the Sweeden-Denmark route until fitted out with extra cabins to be chartered to Sealink as the St. Nicolas from 1983 until 1991. Between 1991 and 1996 she ran from Southampton to Cherbourg as Stena Normandy and spent much of 1997 on Talink’s Helsinki-Tallinn route with the name shortened to Normandy until she moved to Irish Ferries the next year.

In December 2004, Irish Ferries suspended the Normandy’s sailings to France and sent the vessel to Harland and Wolfe shipyard, Belfast ahead of schedule (leaving 200 passengers stranded in France) to prevent the vessel becoming strikebound. She was the first Irish Ferries vessel to be flagged outside of Ireland (she was registered in Nassau), and her crew were outsourced when she returned in 2005. Following her first arrival in Rosslare, she was boarded by Irish Department of the Marine inspectors, who issued a detention order on the ship for failing an inspection. She returned to service 3 days late. Throughout the summer of 2005, French seamen blocked port linkspans in Cherbourg and Roscoff, preventing the vessel from unloading for a number of hours. December 2005 saw industrial relations worsen for Irish Ferries with the remaining Irish Sea crews being offered redundancy. SIPTU issued strike notice on all sailings, and dockers in Rosslare refused to handle the Normandy on November 27th, and she headed for Dublin, where SIPTU dockers again refused to handle her, but managers tied her up. She returned to Cherbourg the next day until the strike ended. In early 2007, she went through an extensive refit again in Harland and Wolff and days later, her replacement, Kronprins Harald from Colour Line was announced. November 4th 2007 saw her final arrival in Rosslare, and the next day she sailed for layup in Fredericia, Denmark, pending sale.

February 6th 2008 saw the announcement by ICG that the Normandy had been sold to Equinox Offshore Accommodation Limited for use as an accommodation and repair vessel (ARV) at Singapore ’s Sembawang shipyard. However, her new life never materialised, in mid March she left Denmark for Cherbourg, where she was given a refit for a summer charter to Algerie Ferries, who operatered her between Almería—Nador from April. She finally left for Singapore on October 19th, however, on arrival, her new owners abandoned her, resulting in the ships condition detorating rapidly. On 31 October 2012, the Normandy left Singapore for Alang, India and was scrapped.

(Olympia) – Princess Anastasia

Built 1986
Oy Wartsila AB, Turku, Finland
Size 37,583gt
181,60 x 23,40 x 5,60 m
Capacity Passengers: 2,553
Berths: 2,379
Cars: 600
Wärtsilä-Pielstick 12PC2-6V (23,000kW)
Route Portsmouth – Bilbao

Built by Oy Wartsila AB, Turku, Finland as Olympia for Rederi AB Slite of Sweeded for Viking Line service between Stockholm and Helsinki. In 1993 she was chartered to P&O European Ferries to open a new service between Portsmouth and Bilbao, with a round trip to Cherbourg in summer. In 1994 she was purchased by ICG and re-registered in the Bahamas. P&O later returned her to the British registry. In 2002 her charter was extened for another 5 years, and she finished French sailings in 2004 when P&O ended Cherbourg operations. The charter was extended for a further 3 years in 2007.

On 15 January 2010, P&O ferries announced that the Portsmouth–Bilbao route would be closing, with the last crossing from Bilbao 27 September 2010, when the lease for MS Pride of Bilbao expires. P&O announced that the route was loss-making and could not fund a new-build replacement for the Pride. Equally, no other existing ships are available for purchase/charter.

Following the closing of the P&O route “Pride of Bilbao” was renamed “Bilbao” in October 2010. The ship left Portsmouth for the last time on 30 September 2010, after all P&O merchandise and other equipment had been removed, and sailed to Falmouth for refurbishment. Whilst at Falmouth in December 2010 ICG sold the vessel to St Peter Line who acquired the ship for a new service between St Petersburg and Stockholm to commence in May 2011 after a further refit of the vessel is complete, she re-entered service in the Baltic under the name SPL Princess Anastasia .

Isle of Innisfree/Chalanger

Oy Wartsila AB, Turku, Finland
181,60 x 23,40 x 5,60 m
CapacityPassengers: 1,650
Berths: 132
Cars: 600
4 x Sulzer 8ZAL40S (32,040 kW)
RoutePicton – Wellington

The Isle of Innisfree was delivered to Irish Ferries in January 1994 for Fublin-Holyhead service. Following the introduction of the Isle of Innismore in 1997 she headed south to Rosslare to take up the Rosslare-Pembroke Dock service in April. When the Ulysses was introduced in Dublin in 2001, she was again replaced by the Innismore, and laid up, firstly in Dublin May, and then in Le Havre in June. In March 2002 she was chartered to P&O Ferries, and sent to A&P Falmouth for refit, and was renamed Pride of Cherbourg. In May 2002 she took up Portsmouth – Cherbourg service, but following P&O’s business review, was displaced as a result of the clousure of all services to/from Cherbourg in Janurary 2005. Following her final sailing and destoring she headed to Poland for re-fit, and a sub-charter to Stena Line and renamed “Stena Challenger” operating between Karlskrona and Gdynia until June, when she was again sub-chartered by P&O to New Zeland (via Panama) for service with Interislander as “Challenger” sailing in the Cook Straight between Picton and Wellington.

In April 2007 the ship was officially renamed Kaitaki (The Māori translation of Challenger). In 2009, it was announced that the initial five-year lease would be extended and that she would have to be returned to Stena Line on 30 June 2013. The lease has been renewed again on 16 April 2013 until 2017 with the option to extend another three years afterwards. In 2017 she was sold to Interislander.

Jonathan Swift

Austral Ships, Australia
86.6M x 24M x 3.2M
4 x Caterpillar (28, 800kW)
39 knots

The Jonathan Swift is named after another one of Dublin’s famous writers. Her deliverer voyage took 24 days travelling 10,354 nautical miles and taking in Indonesia, Suez, Greece and Gibraltar before her arrival in Dublin.

The introduction of Jonathan Swift was delayed due to an industrial dispute between Irish Ferries and the trade union SIPTU, who represented officers that had been transferred from the company’s conventional ferry operations to man the new high-speed ferry. The transferred officers refused to operate the vessel at lower manning levels which had been proposed by Irish Ferries. Irish Ferries threatened to sell or charter Jonathan Swift if the issue was not resolved.

On her entry into service in July 1999, Jonathan Swift increased Irish Ferries’ passenger capacity on the Dublin-Holyhead route by 73%, and its car capacity by 50%. The vessel has spent its entire career on this route, crossing the Irish sea in 1 hour 49 minutes, and operating alongside the company’s conventional ferries.

On 30 January 2018, it was announced that Jonathan Swift was to be sold to Balearia Balearia. In April 2018 it was renamed Cecilia Payne prior to delivery to her new owners.

Oscar Wilde

Oy Wartsila AB, Turku, Finland
166,26 x 28,40 x 6,70 m
CapacityPassengers: 1,458
Berths: 1,458
Cars: 580
Sulzer-Wärtsilä (19800 kW)
RouteRosslare – Roscoff/Cherbourg)

The Kronprins Harald was built in 1987 by Oy Wartsila AB, Turku, Finland for Jahre Line of Norway for their Oslo – Kiel service. In 1991 she was transferred to Colour Line ownership. In January 2007 ICG announced that they had bough the vessel for Irish Ferries to replace the Normandy. She was chartered back to Colour Line for the summer of 2007 after which she was handed over to Irish Ferries in October, who and refitted in Fredericia, Denmark prior to entering service on November 30th.

Unlike other Irish Ferries ships, Oscar Wilde kept most of her Colour Line paint scheme, and sailed with blue hull and white funnel. On 21 November 2007 the she arrived in Rosslare for the first time, and entered service on the Rosslare – Cherbourg route on 30 November 2007.

On Tuesday, 2 February 2010 the engine room caught fire upon leaving Falmouth dockyard where the she was undergoing her annual refit. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished, but the ship returned to Falmouth for an investigation and repairs.

By early 2019, Oscar Wilde was surplus to requirements at Irish Ferries following the closure of their Rosslare to Cherbourg route in favour of the Dublin to Cherbourg route to be operated by the new build W.B. Yeats. ICG announced that the Oscar Wilde had been sold, to MSC while under refit in Belfast, she was renamed  GNV Allegra and placed into service on their Genoa – Olbia route.

Blue Star 1

Van der Giessen, Rotterdam, Holland.
176.09M x 25.7M x 6.35M
CapacityPassengers: 1,600
Berths: 161 (cabins)
Cars: 640
4 × MAN B&W 8L58/64 diesel engines
RouteRosslare – Pembroke Dock