Irish Ferries has celebrated the first sailings for its newest addition and the Irish Sea’s largest and fastest cruise ferry, the Oscar Wilde.
Originally built as the Star for Tallink Group in Finland in 2007, the vessel was acquired by Irish Ferries earlier this year and can carry over 2,000 passengers on its Pembroke to Rosslare route.
Andrew Sheen, managing director of Irish Ferries, an operating division of Irish Continental Group, stated that the company was looking forward to welcoming passengers and freight customers on board the vessel.
Sheen said: “We are delighted that Oscar Wilde is officially in service, offering customers an enhanced Irish Sea journey on board a ship featuring the very best in terms of comfort, speed and amenities.”
Capable of reaching 27.5 knots, the ferry was built in the same dockyard as Irish Ferries’ Ulysses and contains 134 cabins and 2,380 lane metres for cars, coaches and freight vehicles. It also contains a 17,000ft² duty-free shopping space.
According to the company, the new ferry has been named after the famous Irish poet and playwright with the aim of living up to his quote “I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best”.
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Oscar Wilde is replacing the Blue Star 1 vessel, which had been chartered since 2021, on the route between the UK and Ireland in time for the peak summer season with the new ferry operating the twice-daily service.
The Irish Ferries fleet, including the Dublin Swift and W.B. Yeats, operates 16 sailings daily for around 1.5m passengers and 400,000 cars every year.
Irish Continental Group acquired Irish Ferries, previously known as B&I Line, in 1992 and began a significant €500m ($533m) investment into modernising its ferry fleet including the building of the Ulysses in 2001.
The company also previously operated a ferry known as Oscar Wilde in the past before it was replaced by the W.B. Yeats in 2019.