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Aran Islands ferry service is sold to rival operator as owner ships out

The service to the Aran Islands has been operated by the Garrihy family for more than 20 years

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The Star of Doolin

The Star of Doolin

The Star of Doolin

The Star of Doolin

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The Star of Doolin

The Liscannor Ferry Company, a family-owned business that operates a service between the Co Clare mainland and the Aran Islands, has been sold to a rival.

The firm, which trades as Doolin2Aran Ferries and is owned by the Garrihy family, is selling the business to Baid Farantoireachta An Chosta, which is owned by the O’Brien family.

The deal includes the sale of two 200-seater passenger ferries, The Star of Doolin and The Spirit of Doolin, as well as The Doolin Discovery vessel and other related assets.

The service to the Aran Islands has been operated by the Garrihy family for more than 20 years. They founded the ferry business in 1999, and grew to a position where it has been carrying more than 100,000 passengers a year.

Eugene Garrihy, a director and owner of Liscannor Ferry Company, also owns Dublin Bay Cruises, which he continues to own and intends to expand.

Accounts for Liscannor Ferry Company show that it made a profit of just over €40,000 in 2019 and had net assets of just under €1.5m at the end of that year.

Baid Farantoireachta An Chosta is controlled by the Ballyvaughan-based Liam and Erin O’Brien.

It has taken on mortgage charges with Bank of Ireland for The Spirit of Doolin and The Star of Doolin.

Mr Garrihy said the family felt the “timing was right” to sell the business, and acknowledged the “hard work” of his brothers and local staff in the firm.

“We have always had a competitive but strong working relationship with the O’Brien family throughout the years and we wish them the best for the continual growth of the business,” he added.

“As part of the agreement, we ensured that our employees who wish to, will transfer to the new owners.”

He added: “With the sale of the Doolin business, I look forward to devoting more of my time to expanding the Dublin Bay Cruises business.”

“Over the past decade, we have successfully established the first cruising business in Dublin and grown it to a position where it carries more than 40,000 passengers per annum and hope to significantly expand these numbers in the coming years, concentrating on the corporate and tourism markets,” said Mr Garrihy.

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