As reported yesterday in the NI Ferry (and Shipping) Enthusiasts Facebook group, STRANGFORD FERRY, which operated on the lifeline ferry service between Strangford and Portaferry for some 47 years until the end of 2016, has been sold for further service. The purchaser is Irish company Cara na nOilean, who intend to run STRANGFORD FERRY on their Arranmore Ferry (also known as the Red Ferry) service from Burtonport to Leabgarrow (Arranmore Island), off the west coast of Donegal. The veteran ferry, which was the first purpose-built drive on vehicle ferry on the Strangford service, was replaced in early 2017 by the brand-new STRANGFORD II.
The Arranmore Ferry (Red Ferry) service has been running for over a quarter of a century, and is currently served by the bow-only loading former Caledonian MacBrayne ferries MV RHUM and MV COLL, which are of the same ‘Island Class’ as the former Rathlin Island ferry CANNA. The Arranmore Ferry competes with the Arranmore Blue Ferry (also marketed as Arranmore Fast Ferry), which also operates between Burtonport and Leabgarrow. There have been unconfirmed reports that CANNA has also been sold to one of the Arranmore operators as well.
Both Burtonport and Leabgarrow are located in Donegal’s Gaeltacht, and are officially known as Ailt an Chorráin and An Leadhb Gharbh respectively. Cara na nOilean also operate the Lough Swilly Ferry service from Buncrana to Rathmullan.
Title image: STRANGFORD FERRY at the ebbing dock in Strangford in the freshly applied livery of the Arranmore Ferry. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
With Thanks to Scott Mackey.