The best routes for rigids and artics to travel to Ireland and Northern Ireland is on “long sea” freight crossings.
This includes routes such as Liverpool to Dublin and Heysham to Warrenpoint operated by Seatruck Ferries. These services only take 12 drivers on board, but there is a high level of service and an 8 hour crossing allows for an onboard rest break. Another popular long sea crossing is Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast with Stena Line. Although this takes a mix of passengers and freight, drivers get a good nights sleep and meals on board.
The shortest and most popular ferry routes to the Republic of Ireland are from Wales to Ireland. The most common route travelled is from Holyhead to Dublin. There are two operators on this route – Irish Ferries and Stena Line. Both ferry companies operate 4 sailings a day to Ireland on this route, taking about 3 and a half hours.
These ferry crossings are popular for vans, rigids, artics and trailers because they provide a quick, regular and efficient service. For vans Irish Ferries also offer a fast ferry service, known as the Swift, which takes less than two hours.
You can also travel from Pembroke to Rosslare, or Fishguard to Rosslare. These are ideal freight ferries to catch if you are travelling from the South West of England, or going to Cork. Both services operate twice a day.
The quickest and most popular routes to Northern Ireland are from Cairnryan, near Stranraer, in Scotland. Stena Line’s Cairnryan to Belfast is very popular with vans as it sails 6 times a day and takes just over 2 hours. It is often the cheapest way for vans to get to Northern Ireland. P&O Ferries operate a similar service from Cairnryan to Larne. These routes are also suitable for artics going from Scotland to Northern Ireland.