The Peoples’ Ferry - “My Story”
In a way - this is where it all began. When the old ferry stopped in October 2006 - everybody believed that a new ship would soon be purchased, and the service would resume in time for the 2007 tourist season.
Sadly - it didn’t happen, and when, in early 2008, there was no prospect of the service re-starting - Adrian Brentnall and John Hosford decided to do something about it!
This ‘My Story’ page helped to add a human dimension to the campaign - and focussed media attention on the plight of people in South-West Ireland and South Wales - whose businesses were being badly affected by the continuing absence of the vital ferry link.
Because we don’t want to be accused of infringing anybody’s trademark or ‘passing off’ - please be aware that any mentions of the name-of-the-company-that-used-to-run-the-service-until-2006 are shown in the following text as S****** C*** F****.
(That’s F****, mind you - not in the Gordon Ramsey ‘F-word’ sense!)
“Mayday, mayday - we have been scuttled and are sinking!”
- Jim Kennedy - Atlantic Sea Kayaking - Skibbereen, West Cork
A large percentage of our business was English, Welsh, and Scottish . Hop in the car in Swansea get off at Cork . Drive down to Skibbereen . How easy!
Especially as in our case we are dealing with groups.
Now I miss those duty free presents that our clients used to bring me .
In fact I also miss the clients......
.........taken from me after years of hard marketing in the UK .
Travel agents , school and college groups have a limited memory . West Cork was easy place to have a vacation thanks to the S****** C*** F**** . It is not any more .
So why even mention it ?
Unless of course you live there and rely on visitors!
“The S****** C*** F**** was so convenient”
Yvonne Pierik - Cottage Centre & Book an Irish Bed. tel: 029-52048
“I am Dutch and I have a self catering letting agency in Holland. I have a second office in Nad, County Cork. I used to have many clients for the former Ferry services and I myself used it frequently.
We loved the prospect of a good pint in the pub (with the white bearded man behind the bar) after a day of traveling through the UK, paying for our snackbar meal with the sad Polish woman behind the till, a good night sleep and the oh so welcome view of Cobh Harbour in the morning. If only we could have that back again!!I
Many of my clients/tourists entered County Cork this way. I always promoted it as being the shortest and best service for tourists from the Continent. (The departure times for Irish Ferries from Pembroke and Sealink from Fishguard making it impossible to be there in time, so an extra B&B or hotel had to be booked in Wales)
Many of my clients are families. They hate to travel by air because of the waiting, the restricted luggage etc. They would love to be offered better services to the most beautiful part of Ireland.
I offer many properties in County Cork, Kerry, Limerick and some in Tipperary. These owners would all, again, gain from the new services to Cork. Many of my good owners went for long lets after the former services halted, but as these people are now also going back to their countries of origin, these owners will return to my books, I am sure”.
"Where are the newly-wed and the nearly-dead ?" -
Rosin McCarthy - Schull Country Market, West Cork
Schull Country Market usually runs from Easter to Christmas - and features a number of local food producers, crafters and artists who are all selling items that they have made themselves. The Market has become quite a feature of the Schull scene, with locals and visitors coming for far and wide to experience this unique Sunday market.
In 2008, the Committee took the unusual step of closing the market for the entire month of April - largely because the visitors who used to come to West Cork early in the season - (the "newly-wed and the nearly-dead" as one stall-holder affectionately christened them) - are simply no longer coming.
Cheap fares on the S****** C*** F**** , coupled with discounted accommodation outside the main holiday season, used to bring a very useful boost to local economy from these visitors, who could take their holidays when they wanted - unfettered by the restrictions of school holidays.
These visitors also tended to have a little more spare cash and didn’t mind spending it with local businesses.
Whereas the 'season' used to run from March to the end of September - last year, in the absence of the ferry, most of the activity was concentrated into the school holiday months (June, July, August) so the season has been cut from seven months to only three months.
Local businesses who have spent years steadily building up their restaurants, b&b's and hotels are now faced with a dire situation.
West Cork is still very much ‘open for business’ - we have a unique mixture of rugged landscape, beautiful beaches, cosy bars, fine restaurants, and wonderful local markets - but we can only survive so long without the necessary visitors.
The Ferry should be reintroduced without further delay - and if S****** C*** F**** aren't able or willing to run it then an alternative consortium should be allowed to take over.
Please sign the e-petition on this site today
- and do come and see us at the Market!
”I rang up to book a crossing - and they said We’re closed!”
Ron Penney - Compact Courier - Ballydehob, West Cork - 086 8888167
Ron has been running Compact Courier for about ten years now, providing a light transport service for clients in the Republic and the UK, and as far afield as Barcelona and the continent.
A large part of his business was transporting artworks for overseas dealers and for exhibitions at the Skibbereen Arts Centre. All was going well, until the day in October 2006 when Ron rang S****** C*** F**** to book another trip to the UK.
Ron says “I had been a frequent traveller on the S****** C*** F**** - they were even sending me letters addressing me as a ‘Preferred Customer’.
I was astounded when I rang up to book another trip for a London art dealer - and they said ‘We’re closed - the ferry’s stopped!’ - no warning - just like that!
I phoned to get the prices for the Rosslare crossing - and discovered that the ticket was going to be nearly twice the price - and that it would add an extra two days to the job. Needless to say - the customer was not amused - and cancelled my contract.
The Ireland-UK business used to be 25 - 30% of my business - but, without the S****** C*** F**** , I simply cannot offer my customers a competitive quote, Since the ferry stopped, I have been able to replace some of the business with work within Ireland, but it has not been easy.
I still get enquiries for UK-Ireland work - but, with the ferry situation and the sterling-to-euro exchange rate it’s simply not worth my while to quote.
The ferry should be reinstated as soon as possible - there must he hundreds if not thousands of small businesses like me in the Southwest - and the loss of this vital ferry link is having a tremendous impact on all of us.”
“No Swansea-Cork Ferry means that the cost of doing business
in Ireland is no longer sustainable...”
Chris O’Shea - ppa training - Bantry & London
I've been using the S****** C*** F**** for the last 15 years, originally as a tourist but in 2002 I decided that there was a good business case for establishing a branch of my business ppatraining - in Cork.
The S****** C*** F**** was instrumental in my decision to locate the business in Cork, providing easy access by car - which was essential for me to do business in Cork.
Since the S****** C*** F**** route closed, I now have to use Pembroke-Rosslare. This involves an additional 60 miles of driving on not particularly good roads in Wales, and an additional 110 miles when I arrive in Ireland - a total of 340 miles per return trip. With the soaring cost of fuel, and taking into account that the Irish Ferries and Stena sailings are actually more expensive than S****** C*** F**** was even though it's only a 4 hour sailing as opposed to the 10 hour S****** C*** F**** crossing, the cost of doing business in Ireland is fast reaching the point where it's no longer sustainable.
Add to this the environmental cost of all those additional road miles, and the human cost of leaving Bantry at 04.30am in order to arrive at Rosslare for an 08:45am sailing, or the alternative of taking the 21:15 sailing arriving in Pembroke at 01:00 and then beginning a four and a half hour drive to London, and it simply isn't worth the cost or risk.
"Our guests do not make the Rosslare crossing twice!" -
Nichola Kirkwood - Ardnavaha House Apartments
- Clonakilty, West Cork
I was delighted to see that at last something is being done about the lack of the S****** C*** F**** . If they cannot put one on this year, then the operators should lose the contract (which I assume they have) and it should be given to another operator.
We have 15 luxury self-catering apartments, near to Clonakilty in West Cork.
UK visitors make up 99% of our business – extending from March to November. Many of these come from the mid to southern part of the UK and found the S****** C*** F**** to be both useful and restful.
Many of our guests are retired, and if they want to drive, they have to get to Pembroke or Fishguard, undertake a 4 hour journey and then have to drive for a further 4 hours to get to us. All in all it takes them an extra day of driving, when they could happily have been asleep or resting on the S****** C*** F**** . Quite frankly, they do not do the Rosslare crossing twice.
Apart from not booking again (and we did have a fantastic amount of repeat business with some guests on their 5th visit), we find that they leave early in order to stay somewhere overnight before catching the ferry at some.
Our guests eat out nearly every day and every evening. They visit all the local attractions, and spend money on expensive produce. Therefore the loss to the local economy, as well as to us, is quite staggering.
We also endorse Phemie Rose’s view regarding the West Cork Garden Trail of which we are also part.
Finally, of course, because we visit the UK and Europe quite a lot – it is a painful journey for us personally!
“Stuck in the rough at the Bantry Golf Club!”
John O'Sullivan - Bantry Bay Golf Club, West Cork
Our beautiful 18 Hole Championship Course, open all year, towers above the head of Bantry Bay, in the far west of County Cork.
UK visitors to Bantry Bay Golf Club have dropped by more than 40% since the S****** C*** F**** ceased operation in 2006,
We simply no longer see UK registered cars in Bantry Town.
At last someone is doing something about it!
We wrote to some very prominent politicians on the issue last year including a government minister and only got one genuine response from an opposition TD.
It looks like most of them just do not care!
“Business down 50% since the closure of the ferry!”
Claire Barrett - www.marconihousecrookhaven.com
- Crookhaven, West Cork
Located here at the furthest south-west village of County Cork, the loss of the S****** C*** F**** has been a massive blow to us at Marconi House.
We have been here in business for the last 30 years, supplying top-quality accommodation to the tourists, and without the Ferry we are for sure feeling the pinch.
Our figures are down 50%, since the cancellation of the ferry.
It is the early and late parts of the year that hits us most - May, June, September and October - the months of July and August are always busy and take care of themselves.
We in Crookhaven are prepared to do anything we can to get this ferry back up and running again, to save our businesses
Positive action is needed before it is too late !
“It’s doubled the driving time for visitors to West Cork”
- Brigitte Shelswell-White - Bantry House & Garden, Bantry, West Cork
Bantry House has been open to the public since the end of the Second World War.
Myself and my husband Egerton have been living and caring for this historic house and beautiful gardens for over 30 years.
During this time we have obviously seen good times and survived bad, but inevitably it can be a constant battle maintaining Bantry House and the time and money this takes. During recent years we have seen visitor numbers decline for a variety of reasons.
The infrastructure to West Cork has never been particularly easy for the weary traveller, but with the cessation of the S****** C*** F**** it at least doubles their driving time to reach our beautiful area.
Surely this makes a potential guest think twice about visiting?
We hope that the S****** C*** F**** company reconsiders its decision not to operate and reinstates this route as soon as possible.
“ A dramatic decline in UK Visitors”
- Malcolm & Phemie, Kilravock Gardens, Durrus, West Cork
For a number of years we had a considerable number of UK garden visitors who very much appreciated the beauties of West Cork & Kerry.
We found it hard to credit the dramatic decline in the number of these UK visitors that coincided with the loss of the S****** C*** F**** . Some visitors who we met since then say they will not be returning to this area because of the long drive from both Rosslare & Dublin.
It would appear that the government is totally unaware of the effect that such a loss is having on the tourist industry in this area.
From their own figures it is evident that they are happy to have an increase of tourist to the east coast regions without any concern for the south west.
A “Moving” Experience!
- from Adrian @ Inspired-glass, Ballydehob
We moved out to the far South-West of County Cork in September 2006 - just before the S****** C*** F**** was suspended.
It was a long journey - all the way from the East coast of England, with a car, a caravan, an enormous removals lorry and two little white dogs.
We arrived in Cork at 7am after the overnight crossing, were brewing tea in our new home by 10am, and the removals men were back to England on the Ferry that same evening.
The removals company charged us an eye-wateringly large amount for their services - but - were it not for the S****** C*** F**** , we’d have had to pay them for at least an extra two days of their time - and we’d have been even more exhausted than we were.
At least ours was a ‘one-off’ journey - spare a thought for anybody trying to import or export goods from this part of the world on a regular basis.