Photo: mv Julia, hopefully soon to be the new Innisfallen.
Got another update via the Bring Back the Swansea Cork Ferry website and it seems that it's still all systems go for the return of the ferry link between Cork and the port of Swansea in Wales.
According to the latest bulletin from the group they have now received just under €3 Million in pledges, with €2.3 million of that already in the bank and are very hopeful of securing a deal to purchase the Julia, a Russian-owned ship which previously operated out of Finland. A co-operative is in the process of being formed and will be launched in mid-April according to the website. If all goes to plan and the deal on the Julia goes ahead she will be renamed m.v. Innisfallen - a historic name held previously by five ships which operated the Cork to South Wales route beginning in 1896. The company, interestingly is to be named the B+I Line, resurrecting the name of a company once owned by the Irish government and was itself a successor to the City of Cork Steampacket Company.
The Julia has a gross tonnage of 21699 and was launched in 1982. She is being sold by her owner Stella Naves Russia OY Ltd based in Finland. She was built by Weser Seebeckswerft of Bremerhaven, Germany and originally named MS Olau Britannia. The ship originally sailed on the Sheerness (UK) to Vlissingen (Netherlands) route.
I have fond memories of the last Innisfallen which sailed on the Cork Swansea route from 1968 to the late 1970s. I sailed on her around half a dozen times. I am just about old enough to remember the 4th Innisfallen which operated until around 1968 although I never sailed on her.
Let's keep all fingers and toes crossed and hope that the new Innisfallen and the Swansea-Cork route rises from the ashes very soon.
Photo Innisfallen (No.4) passing Carrigaloe on her outbound journey. Pic from Jack Phelan via Irish Ferries Enthusiasts website.