Four cruise liners deliver 13,000 tourists to Dublin Port

Staff dressed as a leprechaun and pint of stout welcome visitors to city

Dublin Port has had it's busiest day ever for cruise ships with four luxury cruise vessels arriving early this morning within a four hour window, bringing over 13,000 passengers and crew to the city. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Four luxury cruise liners arrived in Dublin early on Wednesday bringing some 13,000 tourists to the city.

Dublin Port Company said the passengers from the four ships - the Celebrity Silhouette, the MV Horizon, the Magellan and the Royal Princess - are likely to spend an average of €100 each, which would amount to a €1.3 million boost for the Dublin economy over the course of the day.

The largest of the four ships, the Royal Princess, arrived in Dublin Port at about 3am. The ship, which carries some 3,500 passengers, is 330m and narrowly missed out on being the longest ship to ever berth in Dublin Port. That record remains with the 333m MSC Splendida which arrived on May 11th.

The passengers disembarked at 8am and were greeted by two crew members dressed in not entirely traditional Irish garb - one as a leprechaun and the other as a pint of Guinness. Céilí dancers, traditional musicians and drummers - all hired by Dublin Port to create an atmosphere - were also on hand.

The leprechaun, Katie Mickunas, originally from North Carolina in the US, is a member of the seventeen member dance company providing nightly entertainment for the ship’s patrons. Carlos Cartegna from Chile (the pint) is one of the ship’s photographers.

“It is what it is,” says Cartegna of his costume. Mickunas adds that “this is actually the better of the two leprechaun costumes I’ve had to wear on this cruise.”

In a suitably Ulysses-esque arrangement, the passengers have a single day to take in the city before departing. Flying visits are the standard for these holidays which in this case started in Southampton on Monday before stops in Guernsey and Cork.

Dozens of chartered buses were waiting at Dublin Port to take whisk passengers away for the day. One freelance tour guide hired by the cruise organisers says the standard package for each passenger is a “panoramic” bus tour of the city, seeing the Custom House, the GPO, St Patrick’s Cathedral and other historical and architectural highlights. After a late-afternoon walking tour of Trinity College, passengers must be back on board by 6.30pm.

Some have made alternative arrangements. John Thomason, from San Diego, traveling with his wife, children and mother-in-law, had arranged a tour of Glendalough in CoWicklow for the family. He said the Dublin Port staff had been “amazingly friendly and helpful this morning.”

It has been a record year for cruise tourism according to Dublin Port, which is working to bring in further business through a €200 million redevelopment plan, which will allow larger ships to routinely visit the port.