BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
your place and mine
Your Place & Mine Radio Ulster Website

BBC Homepage
BBC Northern Ireland
greater Belfast
contact ypam
about ypam

print versionprint version

Contact Us

Larne -
Short Sea Crossing

Larne is well known as the Irish port for the Short Sea Crossing to Scotland.

P&O Superstar Express Ferry

writeAdd a new article
contribute your article to the site



Chris Thorne (Basingstoke) UK - June '08
To Mr Sweeney: Its been a long time since you posted your comments reguarding the former Larne vessel Stena Antrim (ex St Christopher) but if you, or anyone else is still looking for the answer to that question, i can happily tell you that Stena Antrim is still going strong, & since she left British shores, she now plies her trade in the Spanish Port of Algerciras under the new name of IBN Batouta. She sails to Tangier for her owners Comanav & she is not alone as one of her former sister ships also leaves the same port, an old Larne favourite called Stena Galloway (now known as Le Rif)

Jim McFaul - June 08
Trains were never carried on the Larne-Stranraer route as passengers left the trains on both sides at the stations adjacent to the berth and joined again on the other side. The loading ramps were always intended for road vehicles and never carried rails. However during the Second World War three train ferries, the sister ships Hampton Ferry, Shepperton Ferry and Twickenham Ferry which normally operated on the Dover - Dunkerque service were used to carry troops and vehicles between Larne and Stranraer along with a number of other southern ferries unable to operate on their usual runs following the German invasion of France.

After the Princess Victoria was sunk the Hampton Ferry came north in 1956 as a relief vessel and was used for a number of years off and on, the Shepperton Ferry was also used but don't remember ever seeing the Twickenham Ferry at Larne. Later another train ferry the Cambridge Ferry built for the Harwich-Zeebrugge route was also used as a relief vessel at Larne. While in use as car ferries the rail lines on the vessels were filled with wooden planks to provide a flat surface for the cars.

emlyn from wrexham - Feb '08
Hi there. Christmas on board the Bardic Ferry it was a memorable experience as I became captain for the day.The captain came into the galley where I was starting to work and said Emlyn as marritime custom the captain hands over his role to the youngest member of the crew which was me.From that moment on I was given his jacket which was like an oversized overcoat.He informed me that only for the day I could give him orders.The captain asked the chef to fill him in on my duties which he did .My first task was to visit the bridge and communicate with the officers on watch later went to sit at the captains table it was a wonderful experience.

Emlyn Foulkes - Apr '07
Thankyou for publishing my article on the bardic ferry as a catering boy of just 17yrs.My favourite place of all the ports I visited was Larne maybe because of the people there and most of all I met my first girlfriend in larne.If I was to write a book it would be called the leaving of larne as it was a time to remember.The ships crew attended a dance in the orange hall I danced the night away with a beutiful girl called Elizabeth with lovely blond long hair.The band played now is the hour and shortly after that it was good bye as the ship was about to leave the harbour the all the ships sounded there horns and the lights over the harbour were going on and off with the town folk waving good bye.We headed for tilbury for the tilbury to antwerp run shortly after that I decided to go on the larger ships and sail round the world.Crew mates I remember Gill Wagget Danny Murphy Henry Reed (chef) Ron Duxbury the lemon drop kid.I wonder where they all are today I am now 67yrs old .

Emlyn Foulkes - Mar '07
The short sea crossing by Atlantic steam Navigation Co started in 1957 with the Bardic Ferry I joined the ship in Oct 1957 from the National Sea Training School at sharpness.Before this time the old LST ships from the war days were bought by Kernel Bustard ASN and used on the preston to northern ireland route which included Larne and Belfast. in 1959 the bardic ferry left larne for the tilbury to antwerp crossing it was then that the sister ship the ionic ferry took over the irish run it was a sad time for me when II left the irish run as I had made many friends in Larne.

Gary TJ Playforth - Mar '07
Does anyone know where there may be records of passengers (for family history) travelling between Northern Ireland and Scotlnd through the years?


Emlyn Foulkes - Feb '07
The Bardic Ferry was my first ship after leaving the National Sea training School Sharpnees Glouster.I joined it at Preston docks it was almost new and I was to be a catering boy in the galley.The ship sailed from Preston to northern Ireland Belfast and Larne. By the end of 1959 we left Larne for the last time for Tilbury to Antwerp run then after six months I went on to other ships and travelled round the world. The experience of leaving Larne for the last time was something I shall always remember. The ships in the harbour sounding there horns the lights on the hill were going off and on and I said goodbye to the most beutiful girl II have known her name was Elizabeth from Gardenmore place. The Ionic Ferry the sister ship took over the run.


McCavs - Oct' 06 awesome. I love the place; the scenery, the history, the prospects, the baby lion on the loose, the bridge...under the bridge, the Co-op, Larne FC, Dan Campbell's, Grammar School, the roads, the Glynn, Main Street, Subway, the Banks (up the AaL) **Alliance and Leisceter**, the bandstand, Murrayfeilds, the Craigyhill gang, Antiville Playing Fields, the Book Nook, Carriages, the park outside council buildings, the council buildings, housing exec., courts, police station, train station, roundabouts...the hills, the surrounding farmland

But we need a hockey pitch of Astroturf!! At Sandy Bay!! Or the Grammar School!! Come on Council, and don't knock down the flats. They is 'leefal', and make the town look fuller, and cooler (ha, rhyme). But I is a youth, a Grammar student, and the town is very enjoyable!! Town Park rules, with the park, tennis, mini-golf, big green.

Wicked, and 'Lefal'

Robert Mc Ilhatton - Sep '06
I found this article very good. I worked at the harbour in the sixties, on the Stranraer Ferry. Had many good days at the harbour. Also the article on the train that ran between Larne and Ballymena. I was born and raised at the Kilwaughter Halt. As a child I loved those trains. Nice to read about them now as it has been many years since I have been in Larne. I now dwell in New Zealand but hope to return and visit the old places. Keep up the good work

Scotmum - July '06
Hello -What a fascinating article.
Regarding "the cross-channel steamer between Larne and Stranraer was withdrawn in 1863", can anyone suggest where I may find any historical records about the steamer? It was rumoured that a distant ancestor may have worked (or even been captain?) on the Ireland/Scotland route. His name was John Henderson.
Thanks, in advance, for any input.

Glen Brown - Dec '05
In recent weeks media reports once again intimates that Stanraer Port is to close and shipping from there will be relocating to an enlarged/improved Cairnryan Port.
During my recent crossing from Cairnryan to Larne (29/11/2005) and being a regular Larne ferry passenger for over half a century. I praise the Captain for his seamanship in choosing our course. (Stranraer shipping was already cancelled due to bad weather). Having hugged the coast to make a better crossing was worth the extra sailing time for we arrived in Larne safe, well and only a few hours late.
If it had been a similar action on a aircraft flight, its Flight Officers would have received thunderous applause from their passengers on a safe landing (arrival). WE disembarked sheepishly without a clap. Only to be met with the thunder of a heavy Hail shower on exiting car deck and into the following snow storm.
Two days later in Carnlough I was in the large crowd attending the 100th annniversary of the sinking of SS Peridot organised by the local Lions. A fitting memorial service to those seamen that loss their lives.
The following Monday I visited the newly refurbished/reopened Carnegie Centre, Victoria Road, Larne. This gave me further opportunity to learn more of Larne seafaring related history.
The present displays are very good and informative, however the number of items on display are limited because of lack of space.
The Larne Historical archives have a treasure of local history but will require regular display changes and regular VISITS to let the Larne residents and visitors view them.
However, I congratulate all those that had an input in obtaining at least the present structure and wish it every success to flourish in the future.

Glen Brown - July '05
In 2002 Larne craftsman model maker George Bouma made an exact replica of MV Princess Victoria. Built on a scale of 1:96 from brass, plywood and wood taking him over six months (600-800 hours)to complete meticulously in every detail. George and I were among the invited guests that attended the book launching of 'Death in the North Channel' Where his model was greatly admired by relatives of those who sadly perished, survivors, the books author, press, official representatives from Dumfries & Galloway (Stranraer) and Larne Borough Councils. Later, Larne Borough Council wisely bought the model for the people of Larne. A fitting tribute to mark the 50th Anniversary of the tragedy. Very well done George.

I have personally travelled as a passenger, via Larne Port for fifty six years, first on the Larne-Stranraer route with it's earlier occasional alternative Scottish ports when Port of Stranraer was out of service, the Larne-Cairnryan route and most recently the Larne-Troon sea route. The younger generation may not be aware how improved the passenger comfort became with the development& introduction of stablisers in the modern ships of today.

Michael Sweeney: Nov '04:
Wasn't there once a competition on Blue Peter to design a picture to go in the St Christopher (later Stena Antrim). I think the winner was a 5-year old. Where is the "St Christopher" nowadays?

Eileen: Sept 04
The Stena Nordica was if I remember correctly was built for a calmer crossing and was not popular when it was introduced on the Larne/Stranraer crossing. I travelled on it in numerous times and it was hinted that some of the crew were not in favour of it as it was more flat bottomed than previous vessels and was therefore more inclined to make the passengers sea sick.

Ian this is a great article. My father worked on a Larne/Stranraer boat which I'm certain was called Stena Nordica and would have run around the early 70's but it's not mentioned in your piece. Have I got the name wrong maybe? Just interested you know. Also the stuff about the railways is brilliant. I'm sure many people will remember some of those services. You sure know your stuff mate. I don't suppose you have any old pictures of the railways? I'd love to see them on the site if you have. Keep up the good work.

What an interesting article. I remember travelling on the Victoria and its sinking. It took me a long time not to feel nervous about car ferries. Does anyone remember the Hampton Ferry on the route. I have photos somewhere of Larne Harbour Station. (Black and white slide mainly. Also I have a photo of a mixed gauge wagon turntable at Larne. They will take a bit of finding, but I do have them. They were taken about 1960.

Use the form below to post comments on this article
Your Comments
Your Name (required)
Your Email (optional)

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy