I had seen Dublin Bay Cruises advertised a few times and it had been on my list of things to do for ages. Finally I picked up a couple of tickets (€22 adult) and set sail. They offer a few different cruise options as per below but for June Bank Holiday they have extra sailings from Dublin City to Howth and back.
Dun Laoghaire to City Centre at 9.30am / City Centre to Howth at 11am / Howth Roundtrip at 14.15 / City Centre to Dun Laoghaire at 11.00am and Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey Island Roundtrip at 17.30pm
I opted for a pre trip drink wearing my sailor hat of course, because I didn’t want to look stupid, turning up for the boat without it !
The boat has a heated indoor area as well as plenty of outdoor viewing areas so they have you covered if the sun is not splitting the sky. Pick up for the trip to Dun Laoghaire is across from the Ferryman pub on Sir John Rogersons Quay. Handy if you want to settle your pre sail jitters. You also get a great view of the Convention Centre on board and can really appreciate the sheer size of it.
The boat itself is a 26 metre steel hull vessel called St Bridget and can take up to 120 passengers at a time.
The boat also has a bar area on board which serves snacks and drinks, both alcoholic and soft drinks throughout the journey. The prices aren’t too bad either which is good to see.
We set off at 3pm and headed down the Liffey towards Dublin Bay. As we sailed a pre-recorded narrator gave us snippets of information about the areas we were passing. Did you know Dublin Port has a long history dating back as far as 1707 or that Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) carried out a survey of the tides which led to the construction of the Great South Wall which gave us Bull Island.
As we sailed along we got to see just how busy Dublin Port is. A mix of ferries, cargo ships, cruise liners and sail boats. As cliché as it may sound you get a completely different view of Dublin Port from the water and begin to understand just how important it is to Dublin in terms of trade.
We also got to see the East Link Bridge open up so we could sail through. The bridge was originally opened to vehicles in 1984 and estimates put 22,000 vehicles crossing it on a daily basis. It also opens 500 tonnes to an 80 degree angle in less than one minute. Pretty impressive.
Sights along the way included the Poolbeg Powerstation or ‘The Stacks’ as they are sometimes referred to. The two chimneys are among the tallest structures in Ireland with one standing over 680 feet and the other over 681 feet high. The chimneys are also a point of controversy with plans to pull them down raising objections from many who wish to see them given a preservation order.
The Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall is in operation since 1768. The wall itself extends four miles out into Dublin Bay and is one of the longest in Europe. Today the lighthouse is fully automated. Speaking of the Great South Wall and the lighthouse, I did visit it a few years ago along with hundreds of other naked people braving the elements to take part in the Spencer Tunick Art Installation (aka lots of freezing cold naked people). It was quite a liberating experience I have to say. You will see from the pictures below the passing ferries got quite an eyeful that morning.
The Odums Dublin Port mill was in operation between 1920 and 2012 and produced 17,000 tonnes of flour anually.
On arrival in Dun Laoghaire you get to see some impressive views of the harbour. Dun Laoghaire was originally known as Kingstown between 1821 and 1920.
The day we arrived in Dun Laoghaire there was also a funfair being set up which gave us some great views of the big wheel being erected.
If you are hungry when you arrive in Dun Laoghaire there is also a great fish and chips shop called Fish Shack right on the pier which will sort you out.
The trip lasts about 80 minutes in total and is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. As part of your booking you also get the added bonus of a return Dart fare back into town for only €2.00. I would recommend trying it out and I’m already planning my next trip to Howth.
Website here: http://www.dublinbaycruises.com/