A cruise with the Carlingford Lough Ferry is one of the more unique things to do in Louth.
With terminals at Greenore and Greencastle, you can enjoy two cruises, or just cross the lough with your car and explore.
With several different cruises to choose from, each of which offers stunning views of the Cooley Peninsula, Carlingford Lough and the Mournes, there’s plenty to look forward to.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from where the Carlingford Lough Ferry leaves from to how much it costs.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Carlingford Ferry
Although a spin on the Carlingford Lough Ferry is pretty straightforward, there are a handful of need-to-knows that’ll get you up to speed.
1. There are 4 types of trips
During the summer, there’s the Sunset Lough and Lighthouse Cruises, the brand new Carlingford Lough Gin Cruise or the Specialty Cruises (Private Charter). Throughout the year you can take the car ferry which leaves from Greenore or Greencastle – it offers stunning views!
2. How long they take
The car ferry crossings run hourly and take approximately 20-minutes each way. The summer cruises run for the same approximate duration; 2-2.5 hours. It’s the ideal length for you to be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy both the theme of the cruise, but also the incredible scenery from the vessel.
3. Where they leave from
All the cruises leave from the two dedicated ferry terminals, Greenore in Louth (Rep. of Ireland), or Greencastle in Down (Northern Ireland). You’ll be able to check-in and wait comfortably at either port of origin, and you’ll be returned there when the cruise is over too.
4. Why they’re well worth doing
The Carlingford Lough Ferry is the perfect way to explore the stunning scenery of the Cooley Peninsula; renowned as one of Ireland’s most scenic loughs with the majestic Mourne Mountains meeting the lough-side. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the views, and easy access makes it worry-free and affordable indulgence.
5. How much they cost
Prices vary quite a bit. If you’re in a car, a single journey is €15.50 and a return is €25.50. If you’re on foot, an adult single is €4.50 and a return is €7. More on prices below.
6. When they leave
The Greencastle Ferry leaves on the hour ,every hour from the terminal in Greencastle in Down. The Greenore Ferry leaves on the hour, every half hour from the terminal in Greenore in Louth. There’s additional sailings during the summer, too!
About the Carlingford Ferry
Renowned as one of Ireland’s most scenic loughs, the Carlingford Lough Ferry crosses the strait between Greenore and Greencastle. The two peninsulas help to form the lough and create a devastatingly beautiful landscape.
Cruising the lough will afford views of the Mourne Mountains, King John’s Castle at Carlingford and Greencastle Royal Castle that sits imposingly above the village of Greencastle. Pleasure cruises operate during the summer months, with themes of ‘Lough & Lighthouse’ or ‘Carlingford Lough Gin Cruise’.
The ferry runs two vessels, a larger vehicle ferry, and a smaller vehicle/passenger ferry. Both ferries criss-cross the waterway and are used for evening pleasure cruises.
Different routes you can take with the Carlingford Ferry
1. From Greenore or Greencastle
The shortest duration of all the trips, the standard Carlingford Lough Ferry crossing between Greenore and Greencastle, takes approximately 20-minutes each way. Both vehicles and passengers travel on the same vessel, loaded separately, and pets are welcome to travel with vehicles (but must be left in the vehicle).
During the crossing, you’ll be treated to dramatic views of Carlingford Lough, and take in the long and sweeping views of the beaches that guard both the Greenore and Greencastle approaches. In the distance, you’ll be able to spy the Mourne Mountains, and potentially castles just outside both Greencastle and Greenore.
Fairs start at €2.50 for passengers, €13 for cars and small vans (inc. passengers), up to €30 for coaches and mini-busses (inc. passengers).
2. The Sunset + Lighthouse Cruise
Set sail upon the spellbinding lough, and let the scenery float on by as you sit back and relax over the next 2.5-hours. During this pleasure cruise, you’ll sail along much of the shoreline of Carlingford Lough, and even within 400-meters of the stunning Haulbowline Lighthouse which sits just off Cranfield Point.
Board your evening cruise at either Greenore or Greencastle, and return to the same point by 9:30pm. Tickets start at €20 for single seats on the Upper Deck, and up to €65 for a family of 5 with a ‘picnic table’. You can also purchase a gift card of any value for any future sailing.
3. The Carlingford Lough Gin Cruise
Also departing from either Greenore or Greencastle on every evening in summer, the Gin Cruise slowly makes its way along the waters of Carlingford Lough, and takes in the magnificent views of the Cooley Peninsula, the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East. You’ll also see the Mourne Mountains whilst listening to live music by Henry Mac, and kick up your heels as you sip your way through premium gins from Woodlab Distillery, especially their Symphonia Gin.
Returning to the same terminal by 9:30p, tickets start at €20 for single seats, located on the Upper Deck, or a ‘picnic table’ for €65 for a family of 5. Gift cards are also available and can be used for any future sailing.
Things to do in Carlingford after
One of the beauties of the Carlingford Lough Ferry is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Carlingford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Greenore Ferry (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. A post cruise feed in the town
Only a 10-minute drive from the ferry terminal, Carlingford hosts a wide range of eateries where you can refresh and refuel. Choose from Kingfisher Bistro (contemporary cuisine), Fishy Dishy (amazing seafood!), Schooners Restaurant (classic dishes), or PJ O Hare’s for a pint. See our Carlingford restaurants guide or our Carlingford pubs guide for more.
2. Climb Slieve Foy
Directly west from Carlingford, the majestic Slieve Foye casts its shadow on the surrounding landscape. A part of a national walking series, these loop walks offer explorers a choice of four main suggested routes to navigate, so lace up your boots and choose from routes that wind through forests, over streams and along roads and tracks, skirt the edge or climb along the embankments of Slieve Foye, and always give explorers breath-taking views.
3. Cycle the Carlingford Greenway
Whether you choose to head from Carlingford to Omeath, Omeath to Carlingford, or to complete the journey both ways, the Carlingford Greenway runs along the edge of some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery. From the harbour and the Newry Canal, along the peninsula to Carlingford and on to Greenore, the 20km route winds its way along shoreline and disused railway lines.
4. Visit Skypark Carlingford
Feeling adventurous, or feeling the need to test your mental and physical prowess? Then a trip to Skypark may be exactly what you’re looking for. With activities to suit younger and mature adventurers alike, you’ll be able to climb, scramble, and explore a huge range of courses, including axe throwing, base-jumping, rock walls, archery, and even an accessible zipline!
FAQs about the Greenore and Greencastle Ferry
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is the Greenore Ferry worth taking?’ to ‘How long does the Greencastle Ferry take?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is the Carlingford Lough Ferry worth doing?
Yes! The Greenore or Greencastle Ferry is a brilliant addition to any visit to Carlingford and the views you’re treated to are stunning.
How long does the Greenore Ferry to Carlingford take?
The Greenore Ferry takes around 20 minutes in total. Keep in mind that the Carlingford Lough Ferry offer other, longer cruises too.