Last week I had the opportunity to take a trip on board the ‘Star of Doolin’, the new cruise ship operated by the Garrihy family from North Clare to the Aran Islands.
The 25-metre Star of Doolin represents a 3 million investment to bring in the fastest, largest and most eco-friendly vessel that halves journey times and double capacity on the route.
This investment by Doolin2Aran, which is owned and operated by one of Ireland’s best-known seafaring families, the Garrihys, is the biggest ever made in a single vessel on the west coast of Ireland.
On its arrival into Doolin recently from La Rochelle in France, the ship was welcomed by legendary concertina player Chris Droney (93), who gave the boat its name. Chris is the father in law of Eugene Garrihy, who is involved in the business along with his brothers PJ, Joe and Donie.
The one-off designed, 200 seat cruise ship is also tailored for international tourists, with multi-lingual voice commentary to ensure visitors get the absolute experience and knowledge of the world-famous heritage sites.
On our voyage, we took a sight-seeing tour that brought us to the base of the beautiful Cliffs of Moher. On board the atmosphere was joyful and the crew were most helpful.
A group of local traditional musicians provided the entertainment with box, fiddle, banjo and pipes and there was plenty to eat and drink as we took in the spectacular scenery that County Clare is famed for.
The Star of Doolin is a state of the art cruise ship with comfortable seating on two levels, both below and above deck. The best views for the photographers and tourists among us were to be got on deck.
This is definitely a trip I would recommend to anyone, it’s an amazing experience that you are sure to enjoy especially during these summer days and you will have terrific memories for years to come.
During my visit, I met some old friends including Joe Queally who I knew for many years when he worked with the council. Joe has an abiding love of the sea and has been associated with the RNLI in Clare for as long as I can remember.
Our tour to the Cliffs lasted about an hour, which was way too fast, so I’m already looking forward to going back again!
Doolin2Aran Ferries operate a number of boat tours including the Cliffs of Moher Cruise which costs just €15. You can also travel to the Aran Islands for as little as €20.
By Cathy McCafferty