We have our own “hard border” …

In our ongoing travels, we managed to cross the Irish Sea to Dublin – a few years ago.

As always, we were foot passengers and took the Stenaline ferry across from Liverpool to Dublin. Unlike our experiences with numerous crossings to the Netherlands, as foot passengers on this journey I had to stay in a rather cold and soulless kennel located on the car deck. It wasn’t a very long crossing but I felt very alone.

All by myself …

But we made it. The rest of the journey to Cong, County Mayo was also “eventful” but we shall leave it as that and not dwell.

But we have yet to make it to Belfast – and have been considering it. There are two ferries that cross the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland – P&O Ferry and Stenaline Ferry – but not the most comfortable of situation.

The P&O Ferries do not allow dogs on the passenger decks at all. They have to stay in the car. Then on the 18th December, there was a worrying incident on the P&O ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast. Some of the lorries toppled onto the cars!!!

What if …?
What if …?

What if? Yes, what if there were dogs in those cars!!! Squashed tomato!!!! 🙁

Thankfully Stenaline do allow pets on board – they can stay in the car, in the kennel facilities or on board if they can stay in a crate – yes, we’ve heard that passengers have been on board with Labs but they have to stay in a crate. If I need a crate, then we will have to be driving – as that would be cumbersome to carry around on trial journeys.

May’s comment: In view of the recent incident, P&O Ferries were asked what steps have been taken to safeguard dogs that must be in cars. And this was their response …

Just a few alarm bells – they “are not obliged to carry dogs on any route.”

Our Irish friends (Dog Lovers NI) are fearful that Northern Ireland (and Ireland) being an island, this could potentially limit their accessibility to the rest of Britain. Given that dogs cannot fly except in cargo, ferries are meant to give them an alternative to travel. Pets are family not freight – they should be allowed on board in some designated areas where they can stay safe with their family.

We’re lucky that in England, Scotland and Wales, we travel freely in most public transportation. So looks like we could potentially have our “hard border” for pets. 🙁

They make it so difficult for us to travel with our pets in NI and that is why we haven’t been. Our one experience travelling to Ireland was not without incident. And we would so love to explore the beautiful Irish countryside.

The best ferry we’ve ever taken was with the Red Funnel Ferries to the Isle of Wight! There were dog friendly lounges – and we all got on well. The commotion was caused by noisy children.

Someone suggested – an business opportunity – run a ferry cruise around the British Isles that can carry pets all year round and even in half the cabins!


  1. Peter

    Poor Darcy, she looks like she is in prison…

  2. Anne McCormack

    We travelled from Liverpool to Belfast and the kennels were horrid. Cold, damp, horrid and Ben cried all the time. We could sit outside with him but it was very cold as it was a night crossing. As Ben was only young we did smuggle him under my coat into the cabin and tried to keep him quiet over night. He’s too big for that now at 12 kg.
    It was the same from Holyhead to Dublin Port. In future we may travel during the day and sit outside the kennels but for the time being we won’t be going outside mainland Britain.

    • Miss Darcy

      The photo of Darcy behind bars is on that trip from Liverpool to Belfast. You described it exactly! I hated every minute Darcy was in there. But you need to be able to travel by car to have a crate to bring them on the deck.

  3. Maureen

    Thank you Miss Darcy fur highlighting our plight in NI
    Sometimes it feels like we are trapped on this Island and at the mercy of ferry companies P & O in particular adopts an approach
    No dogs onboard and if this means you can’t travel as a foot passenger tough !!
    And if you want reassurance that they take safety seriously you won’t get if
    Their response if you are concerned don’t travel hardly lends comfort

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