By Kyle Lehane
The fastest and most environmentally friendly passenger cruise ship to operate on the western seaboard sailed into Doolin for the first time today following a €3m investment.
The ship, designed with the environment in mind, has additional features to lower emissions and has a state of the art wastewater treatment on board.
Its main appeal is that it halves the journey time to the islands.
The two hundred seat cruise ship is also tailored for international tourists, with multilingual voice commentary to ensure visitors get the absolute experience and knowledge of the world-famous heritage sites.
The investment by Doolin2Aran, which is owned and operated by one of Ireland’s best-known sea families, the Garrihys from Doolin, is the biggest ever made in a single vessel on the west coast of Ireland.
Doolin2Aran is run by brothers Eugene, PJ, Joe and Donie.
Eugene Garrihy's famous daughters, actress Aoibhin and radio presenter Doireann, were among the well-wishers at the launch today.
Hundreds gathered on Doolin Pier to welcome the ship back in, led by legendary Clare concertina player and Eugene's father-in-law Chris Droney, who gave the boat its name.
“I was here 70 and 80 years ago and there was nothing. Now it’s a thriving pier but it didn’t happen overnight. It’s great to see progress like this,” Chris said.
The 93-year-old, who was in sprightly form, celebrated by dancing a set on the pier.
Locals who will benefit from the investment, due to shorter journey times and more tourists, got a preview of the vessel before it made its official voyage.
Skipper PJ Garrihy and his crew are delighted with the new ship saying how, “It’s a great day for Doolin, for West Clare and for the Aran Islands.”
“It’s such a comfortable ship and will be a great service to West Clare and the islands.”