Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tour sets sail despite the choppy recession waters

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

The fascinating history of Dublin Bay, from the sinking of the RMS Leinster by a German submarine in 1918 to the building of sea defences by the infamous Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty, is being brought to life for tourists and locals alike.

Setting sail on a new tourism venture during the choppy waters of a recession is not for the faint-hearted -- but Sea Safari Tours Limited has identified opportunities to expand the sea tour market in Dublin Bay, the River Liffey and Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The company offers a range of different tours -- from exciting and challenging boat rides on high-speed Rigid Inflatable Boats (Ribs) to more gentle tours around Dublin's seaways.

Last month the firm entered a new expansion phase to operate around Dun Laoghaire and the venture, in conjuncton with Dun Laoghaire Harbour company, has already proven a big hit.

Running commentary aboard tells of the rich tapestry of Irish history including the infamous sinking of the RMS Leinster. The vessel was operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company and served as the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead mailboat.

But on October 10, 1918, it was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank just outside Dublin Bay about four miles east of the Kish light.

More than 500 people, including postal workers, a large force of military personnel and civilians perished in the sinking -- the greatest single loss of life in the Irish Sea and the highest ever casualty rate on an Irish-owned ship.

For those daytrippers who want a more leisurely trip on the ocean waves -- rather than the frenetic and adrenalin-charged high-speed jaunt on the rigid inflatables -- there is the more sedate option of a trip which sets off from the East Pier and takes in the Boyd memorial and East and West Pier lighthouses. Seals and other wildlife are also an important element.

The harbour tour operates Friday to Sunday from 1pm on the hour, and the cost is €10 for an adult, €5 for a child and €7.50 for students and OAPs.

Trips on one of the 11.8-metre Red Bay Ribs to explore the Dublin Bay area and Dalkey Island depart on Saturdays and Sundays, subject to weather conditions.

Pre-booking is recommended and tickets cost €20 for an adult and €10 for a child. A family ticket for 2 adults and two children is €50. Contact: www.seasafari.ie.

Sunday Independent

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