A ferry service to Dursey Island will start running this week, as a temporary replacement for the cable car which has been closed for essential repairs.
Cork County Council and the Department of Community and Rural Development have contracted LCF Marine to commence a ferry service for islanders, which will start running this Friday, 20 May.
The service will be provided under an Interim Licence issued by the Department of Transport, and will operate three days a week.
An announcement in February that the cable car service between Dursey Island and the mainland in Beara would be closed for repairs was met with much opposition from locals, who said it was a “nightmare” decision.
The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow sound with a very strong tidal race. There is also a reef of rocks in the centre of the channel that is only submerged during high tide. The conditions mean that Dursey Island is often inaccessible by boat.
The Dursey Island Cable Car is the only cable car in Ireland, and the only one in Europe which crosses open sea.
The cable car is used by over 20,000 people annually, from tourists, to the small number of people who reside on the island for certain periods, to farmers who keep livestock on island land.
The cable car closed in April for essential repairs, following the advice of structural consultants. The work relates to the cable car’s towers, which need to be reinforced following storm damage.
It is anticipated that the cable car service won’t be up and running again until November.
A solution was required during the closure, particularly for farmers who needed to tend to their livestock. There are approximately 700 sheep and 60 cattle on the island, with lambing and calving season having started last month.
The new ferry service will operate for one hour each side of high tide, three days a week, currently Friday, Saturday and Monday.