Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales

Has anyone ferried from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales? Their website is about as clear as mud. You buy tickets, but then you buy more tickets for a seat?? When a berth is booked, does it accommodate 2 persons? Plus, we'd like to rent a car from the Holyhead area and drive north though Wales, north though England (Lakes District) and end up in Scotland. We'd then like to take a "return" ferry, from Scotland, to Belfast. The "directferries" website doesn't seem to allow that. We'll be doing this in very late November so, would these crossings be "rough"? Or is the boat(s) mostly stable?
Anyone done something similar? How did you go about it? Any tips, hints or suggestions?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Taking it in some kind of order: a. Depending on which company you use, it's either a two or a three and a half hour trip - - no need for a berth. b. Tickets are for fancy seats, you don't need one and you wouldn't stay in it that long, anyway. There's plenty of places to park your tail. c. You can't go north in Wales from Holyhead - - you're already at the top. d. Before settling on a return from Cairnryan make sure that identical rental agencies are there and at Holyhead. e. I've never tried it, but what happens if you use the 'choose different return' box on the Direct Ferries page? If not, just make two one-ways. You could also try using the Stena site. f. The weather can suck like hell. I came across The Minch about that time last year. It has far less fetch and it was hold-on-tight lumpy.

Posted by Mary
Peachtree City, GA, USA
2 posts

Thank you, Ed. Yes, I've been looking @ too many ferry schedules, ports & maps! Originally, I'd thought Fishguard, which is a bit further south than Holyhead. Yes, I tried clicking on that "other" or "open" option and it really didn't provide an airline-style "open jaw" kind of planner; so, yes, we'll probably do 2 one-way trips. However, may be cheaper & faster to just fly. The idea of a ferry sounded good; but, it may be a bit too problematic.
Do up visit Wales & the Lakes District often? Have any B&Bs or small hotels that you prefer? What about (dare I say it?) ferrying from Scotland to Belfast? Any tips for that part of Scotland?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

I haven't been across the Irish Sea in winter for many a year, thank goodness, but when I was only a bairn I used to do it fairly frequently on liner journeys between Southampton and New York. The Irish Sea can give you quite a ride. It is probable that with modern technology they may make the ride a little more comfortable. We had stabilizers on the ships but when we had 40 foot seas it didn't help much. We just ploughed on and got through. Lots of people do it every day so it can't be too bad, and they will cancel the service if the weather is too bad. A luxury we didn't have.

Posted by Mary
Gulfport, FL
179 posts

We took the Irish Ferries from Holyhead to Dublin and return last month. I agree, the website is confusing but with some time I did manage to muddle through. The crossing from Dublin to Holyhead was "interesting"...5 to 10 foot seas and driving rain (the later ferry had already been canceled before we boarded). As for northern Wales, we loved the B&B we stayed at in Ruthin...
Plas-efenechtyd Cottage. A little gem of a place high on the hill with a most gracious host and hostess along with a flock of free range chickens! Close to Chester, Conwy, and Mt Snowden. http://www.plas-efenechtyd-cottage.co

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

I know Wales and Scotland much better than I do my own little chunk of Florida. No maps, no gps, just screenshots of isolated pieces of topo maps. I try to hit both a couple of times a year, but I mostly stumble along hiking or hunting megaliths in the far beyonds. Therein lies the problem. All of the tourist spots are so far back I haven't seen them in years (except for the Welsh castles). If you line out what you want to see, I can connect the dots and point out stuff along the way that doesn't show up in much of the literature, otherwise, I'm just blowing in the wind. I'll duck on places to stay since nobody likes my picks, Pamela is great at that for Scotland and she'll chip in when she sees exactly what you're about. Some of the distances aren't as bad as you'd think. Back in the spring I made it from Tarbert to Caernarfon easily in daylight with a million coffee stops plus a couple hours dorking around outside of Keswick. I've also made it from Stornoway to Edinburgh in about the same amount of time, but detouring to running the length of the Caledonian before doubling back. The reason for the above boring crap is that I'm leary of the Belfast ferry. I haven't ridden it since they moved the ferryport from Stranrqaer up to Cairnryan, but there's just not much up there and I think it'd be hard to find a car from Holyhead that you could ditch in Cairnryan. Where it I, I'd look at making a big loop and ending up back in Wales and take the same ferry. Alternatively, I've seen RyanAir flight crews in both Edinburgh and Manchester.