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
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
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
Larne...is 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
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"
Eileen: Sept 04
The Stena Nordica was if I
remember correctly was built for a calmer crossing
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.