West Cork ferry to transport Dutch royal couple

Shane Ó Drisceoil of Cape Clear Ferries

A West Cork ferry company has been chosen to transport the Dutch royal couple on a VIP river and harbour voyage in Cork City this week.

The crew of Cape Clear Ferries’ fast ferry, Dún na Séad II, said they hope King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, from the House of Orange, will feel at home on board their new vessel, which is painted in their company colours — orange and white.

“It was bought in Norway and brought back to West Cork in April 2018 and we repainted it from blue to our company colours,” said crew member Karen Cottrell. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming the royal couple and other dignitaries on board.

“But in reality, all our passengers are special to us. In a few weeks’ time, we will also welcome on board the chief of the O’Driscoll clan for their annual visit to Cape Clear Island.”

The 100-passenger vessel, with a comfortable indoor salon and a large outdoor viewing deck, plies the route from Schull and Baltimore to Cape Clear island and onwards on the Fastnet Rock tour, named by National Geographic last year as a highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Its two 495HP MTU engines, which give it a top cruising speed of 20 knots, were crucial in its selection for Friday’s VIP voyage.

The vessel will be skippered by Shane Ó Drisceoil, the main skipper on the ferry’s Baltimore service, with crew members Iain O’Driscoll, Ms Cottrell, her brother-in-law Cathal Cottrell, and his cousin, Niamh Ní Dhrisceoil, the main skipper on the Schull and Fastnet routes.

The king and queen will arrive in Dublin on Wednesday for the State visit. They will meet President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and visit the Garden of Remembrance, the Mansion House, the National Botanical Gardens, and TCD. The Dutch government will sign an agreement here on taxation.

On Friday, the couple will be welcomed at Cork City Hall by Lord Mayor John Sheehan, before boarding the Dún na Séad II for the trip to Cobh.

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