Former ferries of Belfast Car Ferries

Belfast Car Ferries operated the ferry service from Belfast’s Donegall Quay to initially to Liverpool’s Langton Dock, then from 1987 Brocklebank Dock.  The service was started to replace the P&O service which had ended the previous year in 1981.  Belfast Car Ferries ran the service from May 1982 to October 1990 when the service was closed by then owners Irish Continental Group.  The service was succeeded in the following year, first by a short-lived P&O service operating from Donegall Quay using Merchant Venture, and then permanently by the new Norse Irish Ferries service operating from Victoria Terminal 2 in Belfast (currently operated by Stena Line).  Throughout the 8 years of the service, St Colum I was the main vessel in operation.  She operated from Belfast overnight, returning from Liverpool during the day.  The other ships which operated on the route (covering for St Colum I) were St Patrick II, Gotland, and Earl William.

 

St Colum I. Originally Irish Continental Line's St Patrick and built at Schichau Unterweserr in Bremerhaven,1972. St Patrick was the ship that re-established the Ireland - France route abandoned by the joint venture between P&O Normandy Ferries and Saga line, so it was perhaps fitting that she re-established the Belfast to Liverpool service formerly run by P&O. Due to the size of the St Colum I,she used Langton Dock instead of the traditional Belfast ferry dock Princes Dock in Liverpool. By Albert Bridge (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1627468) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASaint_colum_i_belfast.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
St Colum I. Originally Irish Continental Line’s St Patrick and built at Schichau Unterwesser in Bremerhaven,1972, as a sister to Lion Ferry’s Prince of Fundy. She was originally ordered for Sweden’s Lion Ferry who at the time were partners in Irish Continental Line, but while she was still under construction it was decided she would enter service with ICL.  St Patrick was the ship that re-established the Ireland – France route abandoned by the joint venture between P&O Normandy Ferries and Saga line, so it was perhaps fitting that she re-established the Belfast to Liverpool service formerly run by P&O. Due to the size of the St Colum I, she used Langton Dock instead of Princes Dock in Liverpool, which had been used by the Belfast ferries until that point. It had originally been intended to rename her St Columb I, however following objections by Sealink British Ferries due to the similarity to St Columba (then operating Sealink’s Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead service), the B at the end of her name was dropped.  By Albert Bridge (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1627468) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
St Patrick II was the regular vessel to cover for St Colum I during her overhaul periods. She is seen here at Belfast's Donegall Quay in 1987. © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
St Patrick II was the regular vessel to cover for St Colum I during her overhaul periods. She is seen here at Belfast’s Donegall Quay in 1987. © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

Earl William. In this rare view she is captured alongside at Belfast, having been delayed by seasonal winds. She only served the route for 2 months in 1990 whilst covering for St Colum I. Albert Bridge [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AThe_%22Earl_William%22_at_Belfast_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1052029.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
Earl William. In this rare view she is captured alongside at Belfast, having been delayed by seasonal winds. She only served the route for 2 months in 1990 whilst covering for St Colum I. Albert Bridge [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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