Monday, 17 December 2007

City goes back to future with harbour ferry plan

AN IRISH city is to go back to the future with a novel new transport project which aims revive its historic harbour ferries.

Cork is now considering a special ferry service to link the city with booming harbour towns -- for the first time in more than 100 years.

The proposal has been hailed as a 'green' transport initiative that might also create a major tourist attraction.

Harbour Cat Ferries is proposing to contract for a speedy vessel to link the city quays with Cobh, Crosshaven, Passage West, Monkstown and even Haulbowline Island.

Cork is also considering a proposal to reinstate its famous 19th century tram-cable car service to link the city centre with Patrick's Hill.

The tram-cable car proposal has been tabled as offering a potentially huge tourism attraction similar to San Francisco's famous trams.

However, the harbour ferry has been endorsed by both business groups and politicians, who have hailed it as a practical answer to transport needs. Green Party senator Dan Boyle said Cork should seek to exploit the enormous potential of its waterways to ease traffic on busy city roads.

Under the new proposal, Harbour Cat Ferries would provide a privately-funded vessel, and the local authorities would supply docking facilities.

The last ferrymen disappeared from Cork harbour and the River Lee in the late 1980s after a crackdown on unlicensed operators -- who ferried GAA fans across the river to Pairc Ui Chaoimh for major matches.

Ralph Riegel
Irish Independent

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