There is a regular service to Rathlin from Ballycastle harbour. Sailings are more frequent in summer than winter but always subject to the weather conditions. Cork businessman Ciaran O’Driscoll took over the ferry service in July 2008 after 12 years of operation by Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac).
O’Driscoll is from Cape Clear, Ireland’s most southerly island, while Rathlin is its most northerly. The company operates two boats daily, with the MV Canna – capable of carrying cars, though visitors can’t bring vehicles onto the island – taking 45 mins to make the crossing. MV Canna has been on the Rathlin route since 1997.
A new boat for up to 97 passengers entered service in July 2009. The Rathlin Express is an alloy catamaran that runs at more than 17 knots, cutting the crossing down to 25 mins.
The Spirit of Rathlin – built by Arklow Marine Services County Wicklow at a cost of £2.8 million – will replace MV Canna during the summer of 2017.
Tel: +44 (0)28 2076 9299