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Holyhead - Dublin ferry

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Holyhead - Dublin ferry
Location Map ( geo)
Leaving for Dublin - Geograph - 1470711.jpg
The Ulysses at Holyhead
Cameraicon.png View gallery (2)
From:  Holyhead
To:  Dublin
Distance:  108.5 km (67.4 miles)
Anglesey • Dublin
Opening Date
Current Operator
Irish Ferries & Stena Line
from £69 (Cars)
On road(s)
 • A55 • R131
Crossings related to the A55
Crossings related to the R131

The Dublin to Holyhead route is the major ferry crossing from Ireland to Great Britain. While not as short as Cairnryan to Larne, and not long enough to allow overnight rest (e.g. Birkenhead to Belfast or Liverpool to Dublin), it offers a short-sea route with excellent road connections to major destinations on both sides. For this reason the route is known in Ireland as the 'land bridge' route to Europe, as the route is a key road road for freight from Ireland to travel to the continent via Wales, England, and the channel ports.


The route is operated by Irish Ferries and Stena Line, and connects the M50 Dublin Port Tunnel with the A55 North Wales Expressway. It is also possible to travel by train, though there is currently no direct rail connection at the Dublin end - a bus service (most recently operated by Nolan Coaches) can take passengers to the R105 St George's Quay, close to Tara Street and Connolly stations.

At one time, the Irish Ferries ship Ulysses was the biggest ro-pax ferry in the world and was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary. Most sailings are under four hours, however, Irish Ferries also operate a high speed service which completes the crossing in under two hours, previously with the HSC Johnathan Swift and from 2018 using the Dublin Swift. This service only runs during March - September, and only then when the wave height is lower than 1m. If the Swift is cancelled, passengers are automatically put on the next crossing, however this may be several hours later, and use a slower (but more reliable) service. Consequently, the Swift has attracted complaints about its reliability.

In 2021, Stena Line reduced the service on this route, opening a new service from Holyhead to Belfast to cater for changing demand patterns on the Irish Sea as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Brexit.


The Holyhead - Dublin route has been the principal crossing between Britain and Ireland since Thomas Telford constructed an improved mail route in 1821-23 (which is now the A5) to allow a shorter ferry crossing than Liverpool. The original ferry loading point was at the Admiralty Arch, Holyhead, which was also the original end of the A5. From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, rail became the preferred mode of transport. After goods transport by road became popular, the port was redeveloped, and the current terminal meets the A55 further inland, while the ferries dock on Salt Island, further north. Similarly, the Port of Dublin has been redeveloped over reclaimed land and the Holyhead ferries dock towards the east of the port, while Liverpool ferries dock to the west.


British Side

Route To Notes


Holyhead, Bangor

Irish Side

Route To Notes


Dublin Airport, Drogheda, Belfast (M50), East-Link Bridge, Ringsend


Name IMO Operator Dates Notes
Stena Estrid 9807293 Stena Line 2020-date
Stena Adventurer 9235529 Stena Line 2003-date
HSS Dublin Swift 9243227 Irish Ferries 2018-date
Epsilon 9539054 Irish Ferries 2013-date Shared with Dublin to Cherbourg
Ulysses 9214991 Irish Ferries 2001-date
WB Yeates 9809679 Irish Ferries 2019-date Shared with Dublin to Cherbourg (typically operates this route during winter months)
Superfast X 9211511 Stena Line 2015-2020
Oscar Wilde 8506311 Irish Ferries Provides some seasonal operations to increase capacity temporarily, e.g. around Christmas
Isle of Inishmore 9142605 Irish Ferries 1997-2001
Isle of Innisfree 9107942 Irish Ferries 1995-1997
Leinster 7915228 B&I Line 1988-1993 Subsequently operated as Isle of Inishturk on Pembroke to Rosslare route
Stena Nordica 9215505 Stena Line 2009-2015
HSS Jonathan Swift 9188881 Irish Ferries ? - 2018
Stena Seatrader 7301491 Stena Line ?-2008
Stena Traveller 8917390 Stena Line 1995-?
Stena Cambria 7813937 Stena Line 1991-1996



Irish times

Holyhead - Dublin ferry
Related Pictures
View gallery (2)
Leaving for Dublin - Geograph - 1470711.jpgThe HSS Stena with the Jonathan Swift in the background - Geograph - 1458250.jpg
Other nearby roads
A5 • A55 • A5153 • A5154 • B4545 • E22 • E34 (Old System) • EuroVelo 2 • Ffordd Gogledd Cymru • Holyhead Road • NCN8 • T11 (Britain)
Dublin Port
Crossings of the Irish Sea
England/Scotland/Wales Irish SeaBallycastle to Cambpeltown (P) • Troon to Larne • Cairnryan to Belfast • Cairnyran to Larne • Stranraer to Larne • Stranraer to Belfast • Birkenhead to Belfast • Birkenhead to Dublin • Heysham to Warrenpoint • Heysham to Dublin • Liverpool to Dublin • Liverpool to Dun Laoghaire • Mostyn to Dublin • Holyhead to Dublin • Holyhead to Belfast • Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire • Fishguard to Rosslare • Pembroke to Rosslare • Swansea to Cork
Isle of Man FerriesStranraer to Douglas • Heysham to Douglas • Liverpool to Douglas • Birkenhead to Douglas • Belfast to Douglas • Dublin to Douglas
Other AreasIrish Sea • Inner Hebrides • Western Isles • Shetland • Orkney • North Sea • English Channel • Solent • Inland Crossings • Other Island Crossings

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