Cork-Swansea ferry - A strategic necessity

The Cork-Swansea ferry operated relatively successfully from 1987 until 2006.

It carried cars, camper vans, and goods vehicles, and had on-board cabins for passengers.

The ferry was particularly important in providing a gateway for European tourists wishing to visit the Cork-Kerry area, one of the main tourist regions in the country. The Cork-Swansea route provided a significant element of the boost that the tourist industry received in the area during what was a golden period.

In its 19 years of service, the ferry transported 2.85m passengers and 700,000 cars to Cork. It was estimated that its demise cost the region 30% of its tourist trade.

The suspension of the ferry service in late 2006 hit hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and camping centres.

Those in remote areas not generally served by tourist buses were especially hard hit. It was estimated that it cost the Cork-Kerry region around €35m a year.

In March 2010 the service was revived by a new company which was largely funded by a co-operative of local business people who raised around €2.5m and borrowed a further €6.3m to purchase the MV Julia, which had the capacity for 440 cars, 30 freight vehicles and 1,860 passengers.

The commitment by the Cork City and County Councils and Kerry County Council to support the ferry is warmly welcomed, because it is imperative that the ferry should operate as an important tourist gateway to the area.

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