Meet you at the flotel - Ireland could soon have its own floating hotel

Dun Laoghaire (Photo: Google Maps)

Alan O'Keeffe

Dun Laoghaire Harbour could soon have its own floating hotel under plans by the company that runs the port.

The idea of having a cruise liner with around 100 cabins  permanently berthed at a pier in the harbour is being actively explored by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

The company is seeking “expressions of interest” from firms that would like to provide and operate a large vessel as a floating hotel or ‘flotel’.

“We want to see what interest there might be in parking a cruise ship at the Carlyle Pier and operating it as a hotel,” said harbour company spokeswoman Carolyn Hanaphy.

The vessel would need to have around 100 double rooms, she said. The plan would mean the operators would pay rent for the berth.

“There is a huge shortage of hotel accommodation in the Dublin region and the harbour is only 20 minutes from the city centre,” she said.

“This would have a significant affect for tourism in Dun Laoghaire and bring many more visitors to the area,” she said.

Many international ports have flotels and an example of these floating enterprises can be seen in London on the Thames.

Flotels have also been used as accommodation for workers in industries such as offshore oil drilling or for emergency situations.

Fifteen years ago, the Irish Government had examined the possibility of using flotels for asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, the harbour company is hoping to get approval from Bord Pleanala next month for its application to undertake work in the harbour to allow cruise ships to berth at the old ferry terminal at Saint Michael’s pier.

The company would then be able to use both piers in the centre of the harbour with one pier for the regular arrival of cruise ships and the other as a berth for a flotel.

Making the harbour a regular destination for huge cruise ships would bring more prosperity to the borough with between 70 and 250 jobs created in the first two decades of becoming a cruise liner destination, according to the company.