3,500 passengers flood into town

by Gazette Reporter

MORE than 3,500 passengers spilled out of the Royal Princess – the first cruise liner of the summer – after it pulled into Dun Laoghaire Harbour on May 12.
The visit was part of the summer cruise programme for 2015, which was launched last week by Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group (DLCSG).
The group comprises Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, the council and the local Business Improvement District (BID) company.
Some 100,000 passengers and crew are expected to arrive into the harbour over the next five months.
The first cruise visit of the season took place on Tuesday, May 12 with the arrival of the Royal Princess. This cruise ship stopped off in Dun Laoghaire on its maiden voyage.
A total of 21 visits will be made to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, including Splendida on May 21, Celebrity Silhouette on June 14, Star Legend on June 26, Britannia on July 14 and Mein Schiff 4 on September 18.
According to the harbour company, there was a good mix of people from the UK, Australia, America and Canada that disembarked from the Royal Princess, with entertainment featuring Irish band Celtic Hearts from 1pm to 3pm in the LexIcon Library gardens.
For the arrivals, eight local volunteers will act as ambassadors, greeting each cruise arrival, and cruise passengers will be transported by four 16-seater Mercedes mini-coaches from the harbour to the welcome event in the Lexicon’s gardens.
On May 12, some of the passengers made their way into the city centre, while others stayed around Dun Laoghaire town.
The chairperson of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Eithne Scott Lennon, said: “The forthcoming cruise season will give us a small insight into the potential which the cruise business has for Dun Laoghaire and the greater [Dublin] hinterland.
“The harbour company has been working collectively with the council and local businesses to ensure that visitors get a taste of the local area through our welcome programme. Increased cruise visitors should provide a welcome boost to the local economy.”
Cllr Maria Bailey (FG) said: “It’s great to see the council, businesses and the harbour come together to provide a real welcome to tourists, providing entertainment and information ambassadors to promote our town.”
Cllr Michael Merrigan (Ind) said: “This year’s programme has the potential to provide a much needed economic boost to the town of Dun Laoghaire and, with local heritage assets such as the DLR Lexicon [library], the National Maritime Museum, the Genealogical Archive and Research Centre on the Carlisle Pier and the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove, we have a lot to offer passengers and crew.”
Cllr Patricia Stewart (FG) said: “Congratulations to the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholders Group for having been so successful in attracting no fewer than 22 cruise ships to Dun Laoghaire this year.”
However, Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP), who organised a meeting against the introduction of a proposed cruise berth in the harbour, said: “The cruise berth plan should be shelved and we should focus on protecting our public amenity harbour and revitalising Dun Laoghaire town.
“Save Our Seafront are holding a Save Our Harbour – Save Our Town March on Sunday, May 24 at 1pm, meeting at People’s Park,” he said.

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