The Doolin2Aran ferry company, which runs daily trips to the Aran Islands and scenic trips around the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin in north Co Clare, has said it is selling its ferry business to a rival company which also operates ferries from the Clare village.
In a statement today, Liscannor Ferry company Limited, known as the Doolin2Aran ferries and owned by the Garrihy family, has agreed to sell its ferry service to the rival O'Brian ferry company, known as Baid Farantoireachta An Chosta, for an undisclosed sum.
As part of the deal, two 200-passenger ferries – the Star of Doolin and the Spirit of Doolin – along with the 70-seater Doolin Discovery vessel, offices and equipment will transfer to the new owners. The company employs 20 people at its Doolin base.
Doolin2Aran ferries has been owned and run by the Garrighy family, brothers Joe, PJ, Eugene and Donie, for over 20 years, and had a long family association fishing in the North Clare area prior to establishing the Cliffs of Moher cruises and the Aran islands ferry service in 1999.
The business has grown over that time to carry over 100,000 passengers over its April to October service, on its daily services from Doolin. The company now wants to concentrate on growing its tourism and corporate ferry business in Dublin.
Director and owner of the Liscannor ferry company Eugene Garrighy said: "We felt the timing was now right after discussions within our family. My father and brothers are steeped in the traditions and connections between the Aran Islands and Doolin, starting with fishing and ultimately moving on to the ferry business 23 years ago.
"I'd like to recognise the hard work of my brothers Joe, PJ and Donie, along with our loyal employees, in building a business that carries over 100,000 passengers per annum and contributed strongly to the economy of North Clare and the Aran Islands. It was also a pleasure to have played a role in the development of the new pier at Doolin.
"We have always had a competitive but strong working relationship with the O'Brien family throughout the years and we wish them the best for the continual growth of the business. As part of the agreement, we ensured that our employees who wish to will transfer to the new owners.
Mr Garrihy said that with the sale of the Doolin business, he looks forward to devoting more of his time to expanding the Dublin Bay Cruises business.
"Over the past decade, we have successfully established the first cruising business in Dublin and grown it to a position where it carries more than 40,000 passengers per annum and hope to significantly expand these numbers in the coming years, concentrating on the corporate and tourism markets."