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Isle of Inishmore | Irish Ferries

Isle of Inishmore Fast Facts

Current Name: Isle of InishmorePrevious Names: N/A
Shipyard: van der Giessen -de Noord [NL], #968IMO Number: 9142605
Current Operator: Irish FerriesCurrent Route: Dover - Calais (from June 29, 2021)
Length Overall: 182.5 mBeam: 27.8 m
Passenger Capacity: Up to 2,200 (as-built)Vehicle Capacity: 2,060 lm of freight and up to 855 passenger cars (depending on number of freight vehicles carried)
Tonnage: 34,031 gtSister-ships: None. STENA JUTLANDICA shares a common hull form

An overview of Isle of Inishmore

Irish Ferries ISLE OF INISHMORE is a Dutch-built Ro-Pax ferry which currently serves the Dover – Calais route. She was ordered by Irish Ferries as a replacement for the smaller ISLE OF INNISFREE on the Dublin – Holyhead service.

ISLE OF INNISFREE. © Ian Boyle.
ISLE OF INNISFREE. © Ian Boyle.

Following the arrival of ULYSSES in March 2001, ISLE OF INISHMORE was transferred to the Pembroke Dock service from May and ‘Innisfree’ was offered for charter.

Dover – Calais

Until 2021, ISLE OF INISHMORE had only served Irish Ferries’ services between Ireland and Wales. However, during March 2021 the company announced she would be transferred to a new route between Dover and Calais from June.

This is not the first time ISLE OF INISHMORE has been linked with the Calais route. During 1999, SeaFrance had considered chartering her for its Dover – Calais route as part of its fleet modernisation program. As the ship would not be available until well after ULYSSES delivery in 2001, SeaFrance opted to order a bespoke new-build ferry (SEAFRANCE RODIN) instead. During 2001, P&O Stena Line had also reportedly investigated chartering the vessel, but Irish Continental Group were reluctant to allow them to make the necessary modifications to the ship.

DFDS's CÔTE DES FLANDRES. Copyright © Gary Andrews.
DFDS’s CÔTE DES FLANDRES, formerly RODIN and SEAFRANCE RODIN. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

Capacity

ISLE OF INISHMORE was built to accommodate up to 2,200 passengers and up to 855 cars, or 122 x 16.2m freight units. Her actual passenger capacity was lowered in recent years, however, due to the removal of life rafts. Having been built for the three hour Dublin to Holyhead route, she has extensive passenger facilities on board. Please see below for further details on this vessel.

Name

ISLE OF INISHMORE is named after the biggest of the Aran Islands (located near the mouth of Galway Bay). Her name literally translates from Irish to English as “Big Island”.

Design

ISLE OF INISHMORE is based on STENA JUTLANDICA in terms of basic overall design 1. However, there were some significant changes made for the Irish Ferries vessel.

Differences to Stena Jutlandica

A common misconception is that STENA JUTLANDICA and ISLE OF INISHMORE are direct sister-ships. This is not the case. Although both ferries share a similar external appearance and were built by the same yard, there are significant differences between the two vessels. They do share a common standardised hull form though.

STENA JUTLANDICA arrives at Fayard for her 2019 dry docking. Image © Peter Therkildsen.
STENA JUTLANDICA arrives at Fayard for her 2019 dry docking. Image © Peter Therkildsen.

For their new ship, Irish Ferries opted for Sulzer (now Wärtsilä) engines in place of the MAN units fitted to STENA JUTLANDICA. ISLE OF INISHMORE also has a very different accommodation layout to Stena’s ship. This reflects the different demands of the Irish Sea trade she was designed for and her higher passenger capacity.

As Irish Ferries did not serve any ports with a shore-to-ship railway connection, they did not require railway tracks to be fitted as on the Stena vessel. Nor was ISLE OF INISHMORE fitted with side ramps like STENA JUTLANDICA.

Irish Ferries' ISLE OF INISHMORE. Originally built for the Dublin to Holyhead route, she moved to the Rosslare - Pembroke Dock (Milford Haven) route after being replaced by ULYSSES
Irish Ferries’ ISLE OF INISHMORE. Originally built for the Dublin to Holyhead route, she moved to the Rosslare – Pembroke Dock (Milford Haven) route after being replaced by ULYSSES. From summer 2021, she will serve the Dover – Calais route. Image: Irish Ferries.

Although STENA JUTLANDICA is around 2 metres longer than ISLE OF INISHMORE, the latter has a significantly greater gross tonnage. This is on account of ‘Inishmore’s’ extended superstructure which enables her to carry significantly more passengers than her part-sister.

In common with other Irish Ferries new-build ferries, ISLE OF INISHMORE is built to Ice Class 1A standards. This is to maximise potential charter opportunities should the ship become surplus to requirements in the Irish Ferries fleet.

ISLE OF INISHMORE. Image: © Scott Mackey.
ISLE OF INISHMORE. Image: © Scott Mackey.

As-built, ISLE OF INISHMORE was equipped with 49 4-berth passenger cabins and a total of 2,350 seats for passengers onboard. In contrast to many other van der Giessen new-build ferries, Irish Continental Group appointed their own interior designer of choice, Claus P. Horn, to design the interior of ISLE OF INISHMORE. As of March 2021, this interior design remains largely unchanged.

Dover – Calais Modifications

After she was released from the Rosslare – Pembroke Dock route by BLUE STAR 1 in April 2021, ISLE OF INISHMORE sailed to the Damen shipyard in Brest for dry docking. Whilst there, she underwent a thorough technical overhaul. On May 15, she arrived at the Fayard shipyard in Odense, Denmark.

While at Odense, modifications were made to both ISLE OF INISHMORE‘s bow and stern access arrangements for compatibility with the infrastructure at Dover and Calais. Her large stern ramp was removed and replaced with steelwork incorporating a door, and a ‘cow-catcher*’ was added to her bow.

A stern view of ISLE OF INISHMORE taken on May 26, 2021, showing the new steelwork added in place of her stern ramp to prepare her for Dover - Calais service. Image © Poul Erik Olsen.
A stern view of ISLE OF INISHMORE taken on May 26, 2021, showing the new steelwork added in place of her stern ramp to prepare her for Dover – Calais service. Image © Poul Erik Olsen.

These modifications were required as the shoreside infrastructure at both Dover and Calais requires shore-to-ship ramps to be used, rather than the ship-to-shore ramps commonly used elsewhere such as at Dublin.

On this view of ISLE OF INISHMORE taken on May 26, 2021, the new "cow-catcher" being added to the bow of the ship can be seen. Image © Poul Erik Olsen.
On this view of ISLE OF INISHMORE taken on May 26, 2021, the new “cow-catcher” being added to the bow of the ship can be seen. Image © Poul Erik Olsen.

* A cow-catcher is a steel framework added to the bow of a ship which allows a shore-to-ship ramp to rest on the vessel.

An image taken on June 8, 2021, showing ISLE OF INISHMORE's new sliding stern doors. Image: © Poul Erik Olsen
An image taken on June 8, 2021, showing ISLE OF INISHMORE‘s new sliding stern doors. Image: © Poul Erik Olsen
A close-up of ISLE OF INISHMORE's newly fitted "cow-catcher" taken as the ferry prepared to leave Fayard shipyard for Dover. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.
A close-up of ISLE OF INISHMORE‘s newly fitted “cow-catcher” with her bow ramp down, taken as the ferry prepared to leave Fayard shipyard for Dover, 16.06.2021. Image: © Peter Therkildsen.

Isle of Inishmore Passenger Facilities

The majority of the public facilities on ISLE OF INISHMORE are housed on decks 7 and 8. All passenger cabin accommodation is located on Deck 9 which also has outside deck spaces. The Club Class premium sky lounge is located on Deck 11 and has outside deck access.

Please note that ISLE OF INISHMORE was partially refurbished during 2021, and so the appearance of some areas may have changed. Some newer images are available in this article.

Isle of Inishmore, deck by deck

Deck 7

The forward part of ISLE OF INISHMORE‘s Deck 7 is dominated by the Kilronan Motorists Club, which also incorporates Café Lafayette. O’Flaherty’s Pub and the veranda occupy the aft part of the deck.

A lounge area and the reception desk/bureau de change occupy the midships space on this deck.

Café Lafayette, ISLE OF INISHMORE. Image: © David Faerder.
Café Lafayette, ISLE OF INISHMORE (2019). Image: © David Faerder.
Passenger Facilities – deck 7
  • Café Lafayette
  • O’Flaherty’s pub (seasonal)
  • Reception desk with bureau de change
  • Veranda
  • Gaming machines
Isle of Inishmore deck 7 plan
ISLE OF INISHMORE Deck 7 layout plan (2021) Image: Irish Ferries.
ISLE OF INISHMORE Deck 7 layout plan (2021) Image: Irish Ferries.

Deck 8

The main restaurant, Boylan’s Brasserie is located forward on Deck 8. Freight drivers are also looked after in a dedicated lounge to the port side of Boylan’s. ISLE OF INISHMORE‘s large Duty Free shop is located on the port side midships. The remainder of this deck is dominated by lounge spaces, with the veranda aft.

Part of the shop onboard ISLE OF INIISHMORE (2019). Image © David Faerder.
Part of the shop onboard ISLE OF INIISHMORE (2019). Image © David Faerder.
Passenger Facilities – deck 8
  • Boylan’s Brasserie (previously branded as the Burren Buttery)
  • Freight Drivers Club
  • Duty Free Shop / Click and Collect
  • Cyber Zone
  • Druids Delights (cafe)
  • Children’s Play Area
  • Veranda
Isle of Inishmore deck 8 plan
ISLE OF INISHMORE Deck 8 layout plan (2021) Image: Irish Ferries.
ISLE OF INISHMORE Deck 8 layout plan (2021) Image: Irish Ferries.

Deck 9

This is a cabin deck, although outside deck space is also available to passengers

Passenger Facilities – deck 9
  • Inside cabins
  • Outside cabins
  • Disabled cabins
  • Two outside deck spaces
  • Conference room

Deck 10

There are no passenger facilities on deck 10. Access is exclusively for crew members.

Deck 11

The only indoor passenger facility on this deck is the ‘Dun Aengus’ Club Class sky lounge. Outside deck space is also available.

The Club Class 'Sky Lounge' onboard ISLE OF INISHMORE (2019). Image: © David Faerder.
The Club Class ‘Sky Lounge’ onboard ISLE OF INISHMORE (2019). Image: © David Faerder.

The navigational bridge is also situated on deck 11. Please note that there is no lift access to deck 11.

A view of the bridge, ISLE OF INISHMORE. Image © Scott Mackey.
A view of the bridge, ISLE OF INISHMORE. Image © Scott Mackey.

Isle of Inishmore Technical Data

Side profile drawing of Isle of Inishmore. Image: IHC Merwede / NIFerry.co.uk.
Side profile drawing of Isle of Inishmore. Image: IHC Merwede / NIFerry.co.uk.
Isle of Inishmore
IMO Number9142605 2

Callsign

C4HQ2 3
Classvan der Giessen “second generation” (27.8m beam) Ro-Pax
Building Yardvan der Giessen- de Noord NV 3 1
5.8 m (moulded) 1, Krimpen aan den IJssel, The Netherlands
Hull Number#968 3
Designvan der Giessen- de Noord NV
Interior Design Claus P. Horn, Denmark
Contract Date 25.09.1995
Steel Cutting Started07.10.1995
Completion / Delivery 3
Hull Number#968 3

Certification

Lloyds Register of Shipping
100A1 ROLL ON – ROLL OFF CARGO & PASSENGER SHIP, *IWS, ICE CLASS 1A 3
Additional Class Notations LMC, UMS 3
OwnerIrish Ferries (Irish Continental Group PLC)
Current Operator Irish Ferries
Vessel Management Matrix Ship Management
In service (Stena Line) March 2, 1997 (Dublin - Holyhead)
Usual RouteDover - Calais (from June 29, 2021)
Length Overall 182.5 m
Length B.P.169.05 m
Beam27.8 m (moulded) 3
Draught6 m (scantling) 3 1
5.8 m (moulded) 1
Gross Tonnage 34,031 gt 3
Deadweight5,860 3
Number of Decks11
Main Propulsion4 x Sulzer 8ZA40S main engines, each producing 5,760 kW at 510 rpm
Each pair of engines drives a two-input-one-output gearbox, each of which drives a single propeller via a shaft at 150 rpm 1

2 x LIPS 4.8m diameter four bladed controllable pitch propellers 1
Other Machinery2 x LIPS bow thrusters producing 2,400 kW each 1

2 x Becker Rudders

2 x 11m-long Fincantieri retractable fin stabilisers 1
Power (Max)23,040 kW / 31,325 bhp 1
Design Speed 21.5 kts 1
Passenger CapacityUp to 2,200 (as-built)
Crew Variable depending on passenger demand
Berths for up to 140 crew are provided in 113 cabins as-built
Passenger Cabins Total of 186 berths

Vehicle capacity

122 x 16.2 metre freight units
Up to 855 passenger cars (depending on volume of freight carried)
Lane Metre BreakdownDeck 3 (main vehicle deck), 4.9m free height: 1,000 lm 1
Deck 5 (upper vehicle deck), 4.9m free height: 1,060lm 1
Deck 6 (mezzanine car deck), 2.1m free height: 830 lm (plus up to 1060 lm on Deck 5 below) 1*
*When the plates of Deck 6 are deployed, free height of the corresponding area on Deck 5 reduces as well.
Vehicle accessTwin-level-drive-through loading configuration with direct access via bow and stern doors on decks 3 and 5. 1

A 3.23m wide tilting ramp between decks 3 and 5 allows both decks to be accessed via single-level shoreside facilities if required.

A total of 40 Reefer sockets are provided
Access EquipmentKvaerner 1
Flag state (port)Cyprus (Limassol) 3
As-built sister-shipsNone. STENA JUTLANDICA shares a common hull form
Technical data for Isle of Inishmore. These details are believed to be correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.

Key Dates – Isle of Inishmore

Please note that this section is still under construction.

25.09.1995Contract date
07.10.1995Steel cutting started
08.12.1995Keel laid
04.10.1996Launched
Start of sea trials
Sea trials completed
14.02.1997 Delivered to Irish Continental Group
17.02.1997Maiden arrival in Dublin 4
02.03.1997Introduction to service, Dublin – Holyhead route replacing ISLE OF INNISFREE
08.02.1999 – ?Dry-docking at Sobrena, Brest 5
01.02.2000 – 15.02.2000Dry dock at Brest
25.03.2001Final sailing as a permanent vessel on the on the Dublin – Holyhead route having been replaced by the brand-new ULYSSES.
27.03.2001Dry-docking at A&P Appledore, Falmouth.
21.04.2001Left Queen Elizabeth dry dock but had to take shelter due to weather.
22.04.2001Berthing trials at Rosslare
24.04.2001Arrived at Dublin for layup whilst her future and that of fleet-mate ISLE OF INNISFREE was decided. P&O Stena Line had expressed an interest in chartering ISLE OF INISHMORE and reportedly spent two days onboard while the ship was in dry dock, but wanted to make significant modifications to the ship.
16.05.2001Replaced ISLE OF INNISFREE on the Rosslare – Pembroke Dock service after it was decided to charter out Innisfree instead of Inishmore following interest from a new Italian company and Stena Line Sweden.
23.01.2002 –Dry-docking at A&P Southampton 6
13.02.2003 –Dry dock at A&P Falmouth
22.01.2004 – 06.02.2004Dry dock at A&P Birkenhead
January 2005Dry dock at Harland & Wolff Belfast
28.01.2006 – 10.02.2006Dry dock at North Western Ship Repairers, Birkenhead.

ISLE OF INISHMORE also moved from the Irish to the Cypriot registry during this period, and her home port was changed from Dublin to Limassol.
January 2007Dry-docking with JONATHAN SWIFT at Harland & Wolff Belfast
30.07.2008A small fire, originating from the thermal oil heater, broke out in the engine room on arrival at Pembroke Dock. The fire was quickly brought under control and there were no casualties 7.
12.11.2008 – ?Dry-docking at Harland & Wolff Belfast
16.01.2010? – 21.01.2010Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
12.01.2011 – 27.01.2011Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
15.01.2012 – Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
January 15, 2013Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
January 2015Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
January 2017Dry dock at Falmouth
February 2019Dry dock at Cammell Laird Birkenhead
26.03.2020Irish Ferries announces that ISLE OF INISHMORE will be redeployed to a new Dover -Calais route from June. Her place on the Pembroke – Rosslare service is to be taken by BLUE STAR 1.
06.04.2020 (20:00 approx.)Left Rosslare for Brest having been released by BLUE STAR 1 earlier that day.
07.04.2021 (13:20 approx.)Arrived at Damen Brest for dry docking lasting around 20 days in dry dock no 2. Work to be undertaken includes maintenance to the bow thrusters, rudders, propeller hubs, ballast water treatment system, ventilation, and hull painting.
12.05.2021 (12:00 UTC+2 approx.)Left Brest with a rumoured destination of Odense for further work.
15.05.2021 (01:00 UTC+2 approx.)Arrived at Fayard, Odense, Denmark. Work undertaken included the removal of the stern ramp and the addition of new steelwork and watertight door to make the ship compatible with Dover. A “cow catcher” was also added to the bow for compatibility with the linkspans at Calais.
16.06.2021 (approx. 17:25 UTC +2)Left Odense for Dover (via Gothenburg)
16.06.2021 (approx. 23:30 UTC)At anchor in the Kattegat. Took on bunkers from the tanker AALBORG from 05:15 UTC approx. on 17.06.21)
19.06.2021First arrival at Dover and Calais
29.06.2021ISLE OF INISHMORE entered service on the Dover – Calais route
Please note that this table is still under construction and does not yet include spells covering on the Dublin – Holyhead route.

Acknowledgements

With special thanks to David Faerder, Poul Erik Olsen, and Peter Therkildsen for their assistance with this feature. Additional information was obtained from an undated IHC Merwede data sheet on Isle of Inishmore.

References and Further Reading
  1. Brogren, K. (Ed.). (1997). ISLE OF INISHMOREShippax Designs 97.[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
  2. https://classdirect.lr.org/. 2020. Lloyds Register Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/>> [Accessed 09 April 2021].[]
  3. https://classdirect.lr.org/. 2020. Lloyds Register Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/>> [Accessed 09 April 2021].[][][][][][][][][][][][]
  4. Humphreys, J. (1997, February 18). New ferry rides out stormy seas but falters at the ramp. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/new-ferry-rides-out-stormy-seas-but-falters-at-the-ramp-1.43780[]
  5. Person, & Télégramme, L. (1999, February 12). Le ferry irlandais : ” isle of inishmore ” en carénage. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.letelegramme.fr/ar/viewarticle1024.php?aaaammjj=19990213&article=19990213-5164105&type=ar[]
  6. Irish ferries dock with A&P Group. (2002, March 25). Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.marinelink.com/news/ferries-irish-group321457[]
  7. Marine Accident Branch. (2016, February 29). Fire in engine room of ro-ro passenger ferry isle of inishmore. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/fire-in-engine-room-of-ro-ro-passenger-ferry-isle-of-inishmore-in-pembroke-dock-england[]
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