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Cape Clear new ferry is fit for King & Queen’s visit

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 7:10am

Story by Jackie Keogh
Cape Clear new ferry is fit for King & Queen’s visit

Cape Clear’s new fast ferry is to be used to transport the King and Queen of the Netherlands on a visit to Crosshaven on Friday, June 14th next.

THE mystery surrounding a garda convoy that was seen trialling a trip from Cork Airport to West Cork two weeks ago may have been solved.

Rumours abounded who could have the power and influence to warrant a convoy of two 171D white BMWs, along with at least four garda outriders, which was recently seen travelling from Cork Airport to Inchydoney Lodge and Spa.

After a brief stop in the hotel car park, the convoy turned around and went back the way they came.

But this week it was confirmed that the Royal Family of the Netherlands is to visit Crosshaven.

Although it was not revealed where they will be staying, it has been confirmed that their Royal Highnesses, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, as well as President Michael D Higgins, and other dignitaries, are to travel from Cobh to Crosshaven on Friday, June 14th next on board the West Cork island ferry, the Dún na Séad 11.

Authorities from the Port of Cork requested use of the vessel, which went into service last August, as the new fast ferry to Cape Clear Island.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil of Cape Clear Ferries told The Southern Star the company is proud of the fact that the ferry is ‘one of the best available vessels’ and that its use for the State visit is an endorsement of the investment that they made in the boat.

To make sure everything is, as Séamus said – ‘in ship shape and Driscoll fashion’ – they have polished the Dún na Séad 11 until it has gleamed, replaced the seat covers especially for the visit, and even put in new windows.

The vessel is now truly ‘fit for a King’ and Mr Ó Drisceoil expressed the hope that last year’s 7% increase in the number of visitors travelling to the island, as well as their Fastnet Rock tours, will benefit from the high-profile visit.

Mr Ó Drisceoil confirmed that ‘appropriate security precautions have been put in place and there will be a security presence on the day. There will, for example, be no other unapproved vessels permitted on the river during this time.’

The vessel – like the garda convoy – recently underwent trials on the river to ensure its suitability for the operation and its presence was noticed by those familiar with the ferry service to Cape from both Schull and Baltimore.

Mr Ó Drisceoil confirmed that three of the four crew members will be O’Driscolls – namely Shane Ó Drisceoil, Niamh Ní Drisceoil, Iain O’Driscoll – as well as Cathal Cottrell, who are from Cape Clear, Baltimore and Skibbereen.

According to Mr Ó Drisceoil: ‘The O’Driscolls and the O’Malleys from Co Mayo are the only two maritime clans in Ireland, so it’s appropriate that it will be mostly an O’Driscoll crew transporting the king and queen of a friendly maritime nation.’

The fact that the orange and white colours of the ferry company tally with those of the Royal Family, which is historically known as the House of Orange, is just a happy co-incidence.