A FERRY link between the island of Islay and Northern Ireland is to be launched in the summer.
The new service will allow residents of Ballycastle in Antrim to visit Islay on day trips, and will be run by the Campbeltown-based firm Kintyre Express.
“Our aim is to develop Islay as a day trip destination from Northern Ireland and develop a second revenue stream”Colin Craig
The firm already runs a daily passenger service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle, with the Islay link set to start at the beginning of June, running on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Colin Craig, managing director of Kintyre Express, told the Herald: “We’re going to add a leg from Ballycastle to Islay that is going to be marketed as a ‘Taste of Islay’ via our West Coast Tours portal that we launched last year to sell our growing portfolio of tourism related products online.
“What this means is we will have a boat leaving Campbeltown at 07.30 for Ballycastle. Then at 9.30 it will head from Ballycastle to Port Ellen and stay until 15.00, giving folk over four hours on Islay. Tickets will include lunch, a whisky tasting and distillery tour at Ardbeg.
“Then it is back to Ballycastle for the return sailing to Campbeltown leaving at 16.30. Our aim is to develop Islay as a day trip destination from Northern Ireland and develop a second revenue stream and accelerate growth within our Kintyre Express operation.”
Mr Craig established the ferry service in 2011, over ten years since the last Campbeltown/Ballycastle car ferry service sailed.
Kintyre Express’s two ferries can carry up to 12 passengers on the hour-and-a-half long journey.