Richie Saunders, of Ringsend, one of the original crew back driving Dublin’s historic No.11 Liffey Ferry. Picture by Shane O'Neill, SON Photographic
Richie Saunders, of Ringsend, one of the original crew back driving Dublin’s historic No.11 Liffey Ferry. Picture by Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic

Pól Ó Conghaile

A new water taxi service will allow members of the public to “cross the Liffey in a jiffy” for the grand sum of €2.

Or perhaps ‘new’ is the wrong word.

The historic No.11 Liffey Ferry, which was decommissioned in 1984, is officially returning to the capital after a 35-year absence.

The water taxi, which stopped operating after the opening of the East Link Bridge, has been restored in a joint project by Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council and, from February 11, will enter public service once again.



Dock workers on the original Liffey Ferry

Dock workers on the original Liffey Ferry
The new No.11 Liffey Ferry route
The Liffey Ferry’s Final Crossing Programme in 1984
Richie Saunders, of Ringsend, one of the original crew back driving Dublin’s historic No.11 Liffey Ferry. Picture by Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
The No.11 Liffey Ferry aka the “dockers’ taxi” is back in service after 35 years following a restoration project involving Richie Saunders of Ringsend, the Irish Nautical Trust, Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Today is is the first time the boat has been in service since 1984. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
The No.11’s last sailing in 1984
Liffey Ferry Number 4 collecting dock workers in Dublin (archival photo)

The old ferry, a feature of many Dubliners’ lives, linked the North and South Docks at a time when the Seán O’Casey and East Link bridges did not exist, and Butt Bridge was the communities’ closest crossing point.

The new No.11 taxi, which will cost €2 per three-minute crossing, will taxi customers between three points – the 3Arena to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to MV Cill Airne at North Wall Quay and back (see map below) .

It will run Monday to Friday from 7am and 7pm, carry up to 18 people at a time, and can accept both Leap Card and cash fares.

Operated by the Irish Nautical Trust, all proceeds from fares will be used to help fund a training programme aimed at giving practical sailing and maritime experience to young adults from the inner city and docklands areas.



The new No.11 Liffey Ferry route

The new No.11 Liffey Ferry route
Dock workers on the original Liffey Ferry
The Liffey Ferry’s Final Crossing Programme in 1984
The No.11’s last sailing in 1984
Richie Saunders, of Ringsend, one of the original crew back driving Dublin’s historic No.11 Liffey Ferry. Picture by Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
The No.11 Liffey Ferry aka the “dockers’ taxi” is back in service after 35 years following a restoration project involving Richie Saunders of Ringsend, the Irish Nautical Trust, Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Today is is the first time the boat has been in service since 1984. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Richie Saunders, of Ringsend, one of the original crew back driving Dublin’s historic No.11 Liffey Ferry. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Liffey Ferry Number 4 collecting dock workers in Dublin (archival photo)

A ‘dockers’ taxi’ for 300 years

The No.11 Ferry dates back to 1665, when it was given a Royal Charter by King Charles II. For years, it was known as “the dockers’ taxi”, transporting dock workers to and from communities like Irishtown and Ringsend.

It exited service in 1984, a year when Ronald Reagan visited Ireland, the DART was inaugurated and RTE’s Morning Ireland broadcast for the first time.

The boat was bought by Dublin Port Company in 2016, and preserved by Richie Saunders (pictured above) – who worked on the No.11 as a coxswain, and is back at the helm to ferry a new generation of passengers across the river.

“The ferry will be returning to a very different Dublin than the one she left,” said Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, at the boat’s official launch today.

“But I have no doubt that a new generation of Dubliners will enjoy this very welcome addition to the city just the same.”

“There is also a new generation living and working in the port and docklands, and I am confident that the No. 11 Liffey Ferry will create new traditions and memories on the river,” added Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company.

“I would encourage everyone in the city to support the service, knowing that this will in turn help the Irish Nautical Trust in its work to train and create employment opportunities for young people in the maritime industry.”

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