The main ports of entry to Ireland are, obviously, from the UK (Holyhead, Fishguard, Pembroke, Moyston, and Swansea in Wales; Heysham, Fleetwood, and Liverpool in England), but there are also ferries available from France (Roscoff and Cherbourg), Scotland (Stranraer and Troon). Departures from Douglas, the Isle of Man are available during the summer season only.
There are fast ships (99 mins from Wales to Dublin) and longer ships 8 hours from Dublin to Liverpool so be careful.
The following are the available Irish ferry options
Liverpool (England) to Dublin (Dublin Port)
P&O Irish Sea offers 18 crossing a week. The journey takes 7 hours and 30 minutes. The average price for the most common booking on this route (1 car and 1 passenger) is 150 €, depending on the season. The ships servicing this route are Norbay and Norbank. Both daytime and nighttime crossings are available. Overnight travelers can book an en-suite cabin, but all ferry tickets on these ships include meals served at the onboard restaurant. These P&O Irish Sea ferries don’t have lifts to the main passenger areas, access being made by staircases. They are, therefore, not accessible by wheelchair.
Holyhead (Wales) to Dublin (Dun Laoghaire)
Stena Line is the only cruise company servicing this route with 7 weekly sailings and a journey time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. Prices for 1 car and 2 passengers (the most common booking on this route) range from 120 € and 180 €, depending on the time of the year.
Holyhead (Wales) to Dublin (Dublin Port)
Irish Ferries offer two fast and two conventional crossings a day. The fast service ship operating this route is the Dublin Swift and the journey has a duration of less than two hours, while the standard crossing is operated by the Cruise Ferry and takes almost three hours and a half. The average price for the most common booking on this route (1 car and 2 passengers) is 180 €.
Stena Line has 4 daily crossings, each with a sailing time of 3 hours 15 minutes. The two ships servicing the route are Stena Adventure and Stena Superfast X. The latter offers luxury onboard facilities, including deluxe cabins, coffee shop, restaurant, outlet shopping, cinemas and playing area for the kids.
Larne (Belfast, Northern Ireland) to Stranraer (Scotland)
P&O Irish Sea is the only company offering ferry rides on this route. 7 crossings per day are available, with a sailing time of around 2 hours.
Fishguard (Wales) to Rosslare (Ireland)
Irish Sea - The fastest ferry route between the UK and Ireland, this crossing is operated by the ship Stena Europe throughout the year, with a sailing time of three hours and a half. Stena Express works during the summer season only and has a reduced sailing time of two hours. Prices range from 150 € and 200 €.
Dublin (Dublin Port) to Cherbourg (France)
Irish Ferries is the only company servicing this route connecting Ireland to France. There is one crossing per week, and the journey takes 18 and a half hours. The ship operating this route is The Epsilon.
Cork to Roscoff (France)
Brittany Ferries is the company operating on this route. They offer weekly rides of 14 hours, for average prices ranging between 180 € and 580 €. Ferries leave Cork on Saturdays, and reach Roscoff on Sunday morning. The ship servicing this route is the Pont-Aven, which features an onboard swimming pool.
Cork to Swansea (Wales)
Cork Ferries offer overnight crossing leaving Cork at 9 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and reaching Swansea the following morning. The return journey departs from Swansea on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays evenings at 9 PM.
Rosslare to Cherbourg (France)
Irish Ferries offer two ferry rides a week, each crossing having a duration of17 hour 30 minute. Their prices start at 170 € on the average and can go up to even 400 € during the peak season. The cruise ship operating this route is the Oscar Wilde. Aboard you can find luxury cabins and plenty of opportunities for entertainment.
Stena Lines offertwo crossing per week, and their prices are a bit lower than those of Irish Ferries. The journey with Stena Lines takes 17 hours.
Rosslare to Roscoff (France)
Irish Ferries is the only service on this route, offering weekly rides of a duration of 17 and a half hours, for average prices ranging between 200 € and 500 €. The ship operating on this route is the Oscar Wilde.
Domestic ferry rides:
Traveling by ferry from mainland Ireland to the surrounding islands is a unique experience. Many such rides are available all year round, but some work solely during the summer season.
The departure port for this route is Cleggan. There are 3 ships servicing this route. One of them is Dun Aengus, property of the island’s inhabitants, and the income support the island’s economy. During the summer season, there are 3 daily rides.
Island Ferries Teo offer round trip services to all three Aran Islands all year round. From November to March, there are two rides a day, but from April to October there is an additional daily crossing. The departure port is Rossaveal, County Galway, and the duration of the journey is of around 40 minutes.
Doolin Ferries have round trip ferry rides from Doolin and Galway. The sailing time when departing from Doolin is of 20 minutes. The number of daily crossing is supplemented during the summer months.
InisMor Ferries operates a daily crossing on Queen of Aran II, departing from Rossaveal. The duration of the journey is of about 40 minutes.
Tory Island and Arranmore Island
Donegal Coastal Cruises offer all year round ferry rides service between Bunbeg and Magheroarty and Tory Island. During the cold season, there are 5 weekly rides with sailing times of one and a half hours. During the summer, the journey takes less time, and there is an extra route departing from Portnabiagh.
Arranmore Island Ferry Service provides daily rides all year round. The crossings depart from Burtonport and take about 20 minutes to reach the destination.
Valentia Island Car Ferry provides ferry rides departing from Knightstown Pier. This 5 minute shuttle service is available from April to end of September. During winter, you can reach the island by car only, as it is connected to mainland by a bridge.
Bere Island, County Cork
Murphy's Ferry Service offers a daily crossing departing from the Pontoon Pier, in the proximity of Glengarriff. Weekend sailings are generally not available, but there is a Friday crossing from September through May.
Waterford to Wexford
Passage East Car Ferry Co. is the company operating this route between Passage East and Ballyhack, with daily sailings that take about five minutes to cross the distance between the two points.
Cape Clear Island
West Cork Coastal Cruises Ltd. offers a seasonal service during the summer season. Ferries are departing from, and take 45 minutes to reach Cape Clear Island.
Cape Clear Island Ferry Service has two ships (the Karycraft and the Naomh Ciaran II). While the latter provides ferry rides services departing from Baltimore all year round, the Karycraft sails only during the summer, departing from Schull. The sailing time is of about 45 minutes.
Sherkin Island Ferry Service has different schedule depending on the season and two ships. The offers Oilean Na nEan operates during the summer with 7 daily crossings. Miss Josephine operates during the winter months. Both depart from Baltimore, and take about 10 minutes to reach the island.
Garrigaloe and Glenbrook
Cross River Ferries Ltd. operates two ships for this 5 minute route across the River Lee.
Shannon Ferries offer ferry round trips to the Shannon Estuary. The crossing takes 20 minutes.