Connemara will be chartered from Stena RoRo on an initial two-year trial basis (Image: Brittany Ferries)
Brittany Ferries is to introduce the first-ever direct ferry link between Ireland and Spain in April 2018.
The company will charter a new ship – to be named Connermara – to provide two return sailings between Cork, Ireland and Santander in northern Spain every week. Currently operating on routes between Italy and Greece, Connemara will be chartered from Stena RoRo for an initial period of two years. She will carry around 500 passengers and 195 cars, and also has 2,225 lane metres of garage space.
Onboard highlights will include a small shop and café-bar, passenger lounges, interior and exterior cabins with space for up to four passengers, several pet-friendly cabins, and dining options reflecting the destinations the ferry calls at.
Brittany Ferries expects a 50-50 split between passengers and freight.
“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork,” said Hugh Bruton, general manager of Brittany Ferries Ireland. “As a destination, so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow-covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland.”
The new route will also facilitate additional freight and tourist activity at the Pork of Cork.
“The Port of Cork wholeheartedly welcomes a service we have been trying as a port to establish for some time now,” said Michael McCarthy, the port’s commercial manager. “We are delighted that our long-term customer Brittany Ferries has committed to this new service, which will see an increase in tourism and freight.”
Brittany Ferries revealed the route as it marked its 40th anniversary of providing ferry services in Ireland. The popular Cork to Roscoff, France route opened on 17 March 1978 (St Patricks Day) and has been serving Irish tourists and haulage companies ever since. It has also brought millions of French passengers to Ireland, boosting the local and national economy. From late April, the new Connemara will also be used to add much needed capacity to this route.
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