A new ferry operator has been appointed to Scattery Island and the new service will commence next May.
West Coast Marine, based at Kilrush Marina boatyard, has been awarded the contract as the exclusive service providers to the island and will introduce a regular scheduled service with multiple departures daily .
West Coast Marine, was launched in April this year by Kilrush natives Irene Griffin and her business partner Gerard Hamilton.
The new ferry service, called Scattery Island Tours, will operate a minimum of three scheduled trips daily with increased runs expected in the peak summer months. The service will depart from Kilrush Marina through a dedicated ticket sales office located to the side of the existing marina building.
Historically, access to the island has been affected by low tides, however, the new service will use a specially designed shallow draught passenger vessel, which will offer increased access to the island throughout the day.
Irene Griffin of West Coast Marine said they were delighted to have secured the tender for the new service.
“My father, Brendan Griffin, comes from the island and my uncle Gerald has run the services there for many years, so there are strong family ties with the island and it’s a real pleasure to be able to carry on the tradition.
“We believe Scattery is the undiscovered gem on the West Coast of Ireland and we want to do our part to build awareness for the island by actively marketing the service and in doing so build tourist numbers to Kilrush,”she added.
Scattery Island as a tourist destination has remained a hotly debated subject by Kilrush locals, who believe the island is not being promoted to its true potential. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on developing the island by both the OPW and the people of Kilrush, many of whom have volunteered their own time to develop the Island by clearing away the overgrowth and making it a more attractive for visitors.
Only recently, the OPW announced that they have commissioned a conservation study to be carried out on the island and from this, a development plan will be put in place.
Local Councillor Gabriel Keating has described the appointment of the new ferry service as “a very positive development in our quest to develop Scattery Island as a visitor and tourist centre can continue. This service will have a major impact in the local economy and will create additional jobs for West Clare. It will also be a major asset for the town of Kilrush. The improved accessibility will see Scattery Island become the first off land destination on the Wild Atlantic Way. This additional tourism offering will enhance the visitor experience along the Pennisula providing a further boost for our towns and villages.”