A couple of years ago, Irish Ferries ran a competition.

They had bought themselves a new ship to sail between Ireland and France, and the competition was to think up a name for it.

They wanted a name that implied luxury and speed.  The name also had to reflect the Irish/French link.

I entered for the competition.  I can’t remember my suggestions, but they were damn good, and I should have won.

They never gave the result of that competition, but they did name their ship – Oscar Wilde.

Luxury?  Speed?  Irish/French connection?  There is logic there somewhere, but for the moment it escapes me.

I had my first trips on the Oscar Wilde, and I was impressed.

It is a very nice ship.  It has bars, cinemas, games rooms, a restaurant, cafes, a shop and lots more.  It is quite luxurious.

The cabins impressed me the most.  On previous sailings, our cabin was the size of a wardrobe with bunk beds so there was no room to move inside.  I have had roomier accommodation in Mountjoy.  The new cabins have beds, one of which doubles as a comfortable sofa.  They even have television.  Very comfortable.  I noticed there were a couple of containers welded onto the superstructure, presumably accommodation for immigrants, just to make them feel welcome.

Unfortunately, a ship is just a lump of steel.  It has to be run by a company, and here is where the trouble starts.

The staff [crew?] on the ship were very friendly and efficient.  I have no complaints there.

What I do complain about is the rip off factor.  Jayzus!  They are masters at it.

How would you fancy a cup of tea?  It will set you back something like €2.  For that you have to serve yourself with a paper cup, boiling water and a tea bag.  If you want a large cup of tea, you pay something like 30c extra, for a little bit more boiling water.  Fucking expensive water.

Food is excellent quality… if you are used to eating in truck-stop cafes, that is.

The Guinness wasn’t bad, but that was €4.50.

Of course they have the fucking smoking ban on board.  They have a big thing against smokers.

You can buy enough alcohol in the shop to float the ship.  They encourage you to buy as much as possible.  You can only buy 40 fags though.  Or two packs of tobacco.  Another piece of logic that has me stumped.

On the return journey, I was sitting having a pint.  There was a very attractive girl working in the lounge, and she spent a lot of time standing and counting.  She looked puzzled as her finger pointed from table to table and she whispered numbers to herself.  I asked her what she was doing.  ‘Counting the chairs’ she replied.  I can’t imagine they have much trouble with people stealing chairs, and I would assume that the number of chairs in the lounge was that same all the time.  ‘Why?’ I asked.  She put on a very helpless expression and told me that her manager told her to.  She looked very frustrated, as people kept moving the chairs around.  This sounded very like a bucket of steam or glass hammer job to me, so I told her to tell him there were 128.  She looked impressed.  ‘Are there?’ she asked, looking very relieved.  ‘I haven’t a clue,’ I said, ‘and I’m damned sure the manager doesn’t know either.’

Will I travel on Irish Ferries again?


They are the only company that sail direct to France on the days that I want to sail, and from the port I wish to use.

I’ll be bringing my own food though.

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Not Wilde about Irish Ferries — 23 Comments

  1. Sounds a far cry from the Holyhead ferries of my youth where are family of five were crambed into a shoebox cabin for the overnight crossing. Very no frills as I recall!
    Just pack your coolbox wisely next time!!

  2. I wonder why they don’t have the catamaran ferries that we build in Tasmania. They use them in Greece . .well and across Bass Strait – you take your car, food’s – ok the food’s shit – but the trip is twice as fast as a conventional ferry so you can live it up on baguettes and red wine once you arrive! Do what Adam and I did – get high on Travel Calm!

  3. You pesky customers, leave the chairs where they are!!

    I went on Irish Ferries once.

    That’s as interesting as my story gets.

  4. Kate – Don’t tell me you remember the Canberra and the Hibernia? Great ships!! Of course they were the Mailboat, not ferries!

    Baino – Irish Ferries do have catamarans, but they are for the short haul crossings. The Ireland/France route is too long and open sea. At least I can have a few pints and then sleep it off. It’s the best part of 18 hours.

    Maxi – Try it in a storm. Great fun.

  5. Somehow, I can’t match an image of “speed” with “Oscar Wilde”… and I don’t want to squeeze “French” into that picture either. (!)

    Glad you had a nice journey anyhow…and that I’m not the only one packing food for the crossing. We have five to feed, and even the vending machines are hair-raising.

  6. Yeah, I look forward to the cabins next year, but like yourself I’ll bring a flask and a couple of sambos for myself. Unfortunately the kids will want the novelty of seeing their parents ripped off in the restaurant, so I’ll have to fork out something to the rip-off merchants, but I’ll do my damnedest to minimise it. It happens everywhere there is a captive audience these days and the cynicism of it boils my blood.

  7. Oh yes my dear those names certainly ring bells – I also remember my big brother getting off his top bunk in the night to visit the loo and returning to the wrong cabin whereupon he woke up the guy sleeping in the bottom bunk with his shouts of ‘where’s my porthole gone? Somebody’s taken my porthole’.

    Yes – he was brought back to us with great speed – wonderful days arriving at Dun Laoghaire at first squawk and the short ride to Bray for a family breakfast of sausage white pudding and soda bread.

    We always went by several trains and the boat – it was a great part of the holiday but took forever.

    Last time – Keiron and I flew – we no sooner got in the sky but it was time to come down!!

  8. Susan – Apparently they decided to go with a litarary theme. No wonder no one won the competition!

    Thrifty – Whatever you do, avoid the restaurant. It’s the same food as the self service, but you pay a huge premium just to get it dished up by a waiter. [No offence, Manuel?]

    Kate – You’re giving away your age! 😉
    I used to love the Mail Train to Euston, but the long stop in Crewe was a bit of a pain [at about 2 in the morning]. Happy days!

  9. Yep I remember we had to go to Crewe – was that the last train before the boat? – The trains were all so packed I had to sit on our cases in the corridor. I have many photos of those ships and my family up on deck in storms and all weathers singing and having great fun!

    So I’m old – I don’t care – they were special times!!

  10. Kate – The Mail Train used to stop at Crewe for an hour or two so they could offload and load the mail. As far as I remember, the entire trip from Dublin to London took about twelve hours. Flying is boring by comparison! I wish I had photos 🙁

  11. they’re all on slides – I will look some out and get them printed off – my dad always took a photo of the boat! Then you can have some photographic memories of those times too! Its good to share!!

  12. At least they charged you everything in Euros. Every time I’ve taken a ferry to the UK, everything on board was always priced in Sterling, and then horrendously marked up for Euro…

  13. Didn’t Wilde end up in France after he got out of jail? Difficult to link speed to him, though, granted. Of course, it is also difficult to link speed to an Irish Ferries ferry, so that’s okay.

  14. I have no idea – we always looked at them through a viewer or on a projector and screen. Let me find them first then I will insult people on the matter.

  15. TheChrisD – The Euro is great like that. One currency from door to door. On return I realised just what a rip-off kip this is.

    Robert – He is buried in Paris, if you call that a French connection? As for speed – I messed around with the SatNav and we did a constant 20 m.p.h.!

    Kate – If you get them printed, you can scan them, though I think it is possible to scan a slide. You have all the experts in your family?

  16. And he is coming up to see me next weekend – I will insult him on the matter then – it gives me a week to find them in the midsts of confusion at Fairy Cottage!!!

  17. Oscar Wilde, eh. Were the bars gay bars?
    Have you seen Gavin and Stacey on TV? Uncle Bryn with his satnav. Reminded me of you.

  18. His tombstone, in Pere LaChaise cemetary is covered in lipstick. His, and Jim Morrison’s grave are favourite tourist attractions. I would think the bold Oscar was partial to a bit of “speed”

  19. TT – When I drink a pint, I don’t worry about its sexuality.

    Stipes – Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison is a strange mix? The big question now is – was Wilde luxurious?

  20. Stephen Fry played his character in his life story and was very dapper indeed! Oscar mingled with the elite so I would associate him with luxury. Great film not to be missed but we were miffed when we didn’t win the trip. Spent a whole evening, we did coming up with brilliant names for that bloody ship.

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