TOURISTS visiting Lough Erne this summer will now once again be able to return to Fermanagh’s most important island church settlement.
Almost two years after suspending the service due to “budgetary pressures”, the Department for Communities has just resurrected the ferry service to Devenish Island.
Access to the ancient monastic island ended in August 2015 but in April of this year, the Department’s Historic Environment Division (HED) sought to conduct a trial operation of a licensed public ferry service.
After several private companies previously expressed an interest in taking on the service, the Department has confirmed that the service is now being provided by Barry Flanagan of Erne Water Taxi following his “successful tender in an open competition”.
The service began on Saturday last, July 1st and will run until November 5th, operating from the Waterways Ireland Jetty at Trory. Throughout July and August, the ferry will operate daily from 10am to 6pm, reducing in September to Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm but additional days may be provided, subject to demand. From October to November it will run from 11am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays only.
Cllr Howard Thornton has previously criticised the Department’s “incompetence” in making a decision about the future of the ferry service, which he says has compromised local tourism.
He told the Herald this week: “Two years ago after it was abruptly taken off service, I received a lot of complaints because visitors had arrived here trying to find the ferry which had been advertised internationally and it wasn’t running. It is encouraging to now see the service being operated again.”
“Devenish Island is one of our main sights. Hopefully the new operator can generate some interest in the venture once again.”
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