Aran Islands Ferries, Ireland’s largest and longest operating year round ferry service to the Aran Islands launches a brand new Aran Islands route from Galway City Docks to Inis Mór inclusive of a cruise along the Cliffs of Moher, on Friday June 4.
As part of the new route announcement, the company has announced that ‘Saoirse na Farraige – Freedom of the Sea’, a state of the art, purpose built, 400 seater passenger ferry, will join five other high quality vessels in carrying passengers on this new seasonal route complementing the existing business from Ros a’Mhíl. The new route will have a departure time of 9.30am daily from Galway City Docks to Inis Mór.
Offering a 90-minute cruise on Galway Bay, Aran Island Ferries luxury vessels will showcase the contrasting beauty and scenery of the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way coastline of Connemara and Clare along with all three of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr and Inis Meáin before docking in Kilronan on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands. The return journey to Galway City will bring passengers on a cruise along the iconic Cliffs of Moher. Galwegians and visitors to the city of the tribes are set to enjoy a safe, all-weather experience of the jewels in the crown of Galway Bay this summer.
One of five vessels to carry passengers on the new Aran Islands route, Saoirse na Farraige was commissioned by the O’Brien Family of an Ceathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht from the boat building yard of Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong to expand the high-quality fleet of Aran Island Ferries passenger ferries which they have operated for the past 38 years.
In the 1970s the O’Brien’s sailed with their first passengers in a traditional Galway Hooker boat An Tonaí, and went on to purchase their first passenger ferry the Dún Aengus in 1983 and today with a fleet of five ferries, the Saoirse na Farraige is of the highest passenger ferry specifications.
The vessel is tier 4 compliant and therefore, has the cleanest exhaust emission of any ferry on Irish waters. On board, passengers will enjoy a smooth and COVID safe, 90-minute cruise experience. Offering the contrast of upper open air deck space and an expansive inner cabin, which are complete with the ultimate safety, style and comfort features. Leather seating, charging points and plasma screens allow comfort and entertainment onboard. An audio guide, which can be downloaded upon booking will ensure an informed and entertaining cruise. There is an on-board bar which will open when COVID restrictions ease further.
The sixth ferry to be added to the Aran Island Ferries fleet, it too is complete with a COVID Safety Charter for all passengers embarking on a magical Galway Bay journey to Inis Mór and the Cliffs of Moher this summer.
“We’re very excited to launch our new route and state of the art passenger ferry,” says Director Susan O’Brien, “Saoirse na Farraige means Freedom of the Sea and in light of the recent pandemic we’re delighted to now set this vessel free on Galway Bay for what will be a memorable cruise and visit to Inis Mór, the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher in complete luxury and safety. It’s a huge investment which will enhance the tourism product of Galway and the West, create at least 15 new jobs and bring excitement to what has been a tough year for all involved in tourism," she said.
Critical features of Saoirse na Farraige include its control systems which are all touch screen technology and for optimum safety Aran Island Ferries have increased navigation equipment which is beyond Government safety regulations. While the ferry company continues to invest in its carbon energy strategy and the inclusion of a unique wastewater treatment system which combines two options, treatment on board or waste can be pumped ashore for treatment.
Saoirse na Farraige also has the largest life rafts in Ireland capable of carrying 150-person each on 4 rafts. Aran Island Ferries also ensure that all of their vessels have twice the required number of children’s lifejackets on board. Saoirse na Farraige also has a wheelchair lift which is a new addition to the fleet.
Saoirse na Farraige, Freedom of the Sea joins the extensive Aran Island Ferries fleet carrying passengers on all routes from Galway City and Rossaveel which includes Draíocht na Farraige , Magic of the Sea, Ceol na Farraige, Music of the Sea, Glór na Farraige, Voice of the Sea and Banríon na Farraige Queen of the sea, and combined Aran Island Ferries have a total capacity of 1,420. Aran Islands Ferries new route from Galway City Docks has been long in the planning and is another chapter in the company’s progressive history as it is the first time since 2005 that there’s been a sailing to the Aran Islands from Galway City.
Ticket prices for a return journey from Galway City Docks will be: Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25, Day Tours, Overnight Tours, Single Tours and Family Rates are available to purchase and the latest news on Saoirse na Farraige and all of Aran Island Ferries fleet and Ros a’Mhíl departures can be found on www.aranislandferries.com or Tel: 091 568903 or Email: [email protected] or follow our social media channels for the latest news.