Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

The Swansea-Cork Ferry Service

The first ferry service between Swansea and Cork in the Republic of Ireland was operated by the B&I Line from 1969 to 1979, and featured the company’s new purpose-built ship, the ‘Innisfallen’. Below is an invitation to a reception to be held aboard the new vessel on the 10th April 1969.

To see a timeline showing all the vessels used on the Swansea-Cork route, click here


Ferryport layout and details of the development

Innisfallen Diagram

Docks Staff of the First Swansea to Cork Ferry
Back Row:-  Barry Dean, Glyn Morris, F Collins, Stan Hinder, Jack Mulhoney
Middle Row:-   T Davies, ?, ?, Colin Rouse, ?,  Bernard Cornel, Billy Tucket, Bill Thomas, Sam Burrows
Front Row:-   Reuben Symons, Danny Jones, ?, George Grey, John Williams, Charles Grey, Chris Donovan
photo - Paul Smith

The Leinster making her way to Swansea to relieve the Innisfallen, passing at Mumbles

The ‘Stena Germanica’ was chartered for part of B&I’s final season between Swansea and Cork
 due to mechanical problems with the ‘Innisfallen’

Ferryport yard (photo-Allan Russ)

Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd. 1987-2006

The second company to operate a ferry link between Swansea and Cork was Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd., whose service began in 1987 with the ferry ‘Celtic Pride’. The ‘Celtic Pride’ returned for the 1988 season but was unavailable for charter the following year, so there was no service in 1989. The ‘Ionian Sun’ (formerly B&I’s ‘Leinster’) was chartered for the 1990 season, after which the refitted ‘Celtic Pride’ returned for seasons 1991 and 1992. The Japanese-built ‘Superferry’ was introduced in 1993 and operated through to the end of the service in 2006, other than during the 2001 season when the ‘City of Cork’ was chartered. Below is a selection of photographs of the ships operated by Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd:-

The ‘Celtic Pride’ on her inaugural visit to Swansea in April 1987

A stern view of the ‘Celtic Pride’ on the Ferryport berth at Swansea

Pictured in 1990 leaving Swansea Ferryport is the Strintzis Line ferry ‘Ionian Sun’, on charter to Swansea Cork Ferries. Built as the ‘Leinster’ for B&I Line’s Liverpool-Dublin service, she was later renamed the ‘Inisfallen’, but should not be confused with her sister ship, the original ‘Inisfallen’ which was built for B&I’s Swansea-Cork service which commenced in 1969. (Photo - Matthew Punter)

Ionian Sun at Swansea

Superferry 1993-2000, 2002-2006

M.v.Superferry on the Ferryport berth at Swansea

M.v.Superferry (photo - T Bevan)

The ‘City of Cork’ (a.k.a. ‘Egnatia II’) was chartered by Swansea Cork Ferries Ltd. for the 2001 season

The Fastnet Line

After an absence of three years, the Swansea-Cork ferry service was restarted in March 2010 by the Fastnet Line.

The Julia, built in 1982, has sailed several routes in the Scandinavian Peninsula. The vessel has 10 decks with maximum capacity for approximately 440 cars and 30 freight vehicles and the total passenger capacity of the vessel is 1,860. The Julia has a fine array of restaurants and bars, a childrens’ play area and a cinema, as well as over 300 passenger cabins, rendering her particularly suited to the night crossing between Cork and Swansea.

Below is a photograph of the ‘Julia’ at Swansea Ferryport on the 12th March 2010 after her inaugural sailing from Cork the previous evening.

Mini bus entering the car deck

Stern view of the Julia

If you found this explanation confusing, you can see a timeline showing all the vessels used on the Swansea-Cork route, just click here.