M/V Ulysses

Ulysses arriving in Dublin.
M/V Ulysses. Courtesy Gary DAVIES (Maritime Photographic).

Ulysses is Irish Ferries' flagship. She is the biggest RoPax ferries in service worldwide in terms of garage capacity.

She has been introduced in 2001 on the Holyhead - Dublin route.

Ulysses' name comes from a novel written by the Irish writer James Joyce (1882 - 1941).


Technical Specifications of M/V Ulysses
M/V Ulysses (2001 onwards)
The Ship
Launch 01st September 2001
Maiden Voyage 26th March 2001
Shipyard Aker Finnyards Oy, Helsinki, Finland
Cost 100 Millions €
Owner Irish Continental Group
Operator Irish Ferries
Routes Dublin (IRL) - Holyhead (GB)
IMO 9214991
MMSI 209952000
Call Sign C4HP2
Port of Registry Dublin (IRL) (2001-2006)
Limassol (CHY) (2006 onwards)
Technical Specifications
Length 209.02 m
Breadth 31.20 m
Draught 06.40 m

Gross Tonnage

50,938 GT

Net Tonnage

15,173 NT


10,722 DWT
Engines specifications
Engines 4 MaK M43 engines
Power 31,200 kW
Maximum Speed 22.00 knots
Passengers & Cargo
Passengers 2,166 passengers + 121 crew
Cabins 117 cabins
Seats 1,938 seats
Garage Capacity 1,340 cars /or/ 240 lorries
Garage Linear Length 4,076 m

Service History

Ulysses' Genesis

In the 90s, the Irish Continental Group, Irish Ferries' owner, decided to replenish the fleet of its subsidiary. Therefore was ordered Isle of Innisfree (2), introduced in May 1995 on the Dublin - Holyhead service. However, Isle of Innisfree (2) soon appeared to be too small for this route, and therefore was commissioned in 1997 the larger Isle of Inishmore (2) to replace her on this service, in a joint order with Stena Line.

However, Isle of Inishmore (2) soon proved to be too small for this service, and Irish Ferries decided in 1999 to commission an even larger RoPax ferry, which was to be the worldwide biggest in terms of garage capacity (Color Line's Color Magic remains the largest in terms of tonnage) for €100 millions. Therefore, Irish Ferries has spent an overall €457 millions to replenish its fleet, enabling the operator operating the most modern fleet in Western Europe. Meanwhile, the introduction of this new ship was to enable the company offering twice more capacity on its route.

The vessel was built in Aker Finnyards shipyard and launched on 1st September 2000. Irish Ferries was delivered the ship on 22th February 2001.

Ulysses' Introduction

On 28th February 2001, Irish Ferries' Commodore, Peter Ferguson, mastered the new ship on her departure from her shipyard, heading to Dublin where she arrived on 04th March. She then undertook berthing trials in both Dublin and Holyhead.

The new ship was christened as Ulysses on 21st March 2001 by Mairead Berry, a gold medalled sportwoman during the 2000 Paralympic Games. Ulysses' names comes from the title of a novel written by the Irish writer James Joyce and has been chosen by Irish during an open competition.

During her first year of service, Ulysses knew little teething issues. However, Ulysses had to be operated in harbours, especially in Holyhead, whose harbour facilities were not adequate to a ship of her size, impacting her service speed.

Ulysses operational history

In early-January 2002, Ulysses was overhauled in Southampton. On 25th March, one year after her maiden voyage, Ulysses has been able to boast about her reliability, having operated all of her 1,395 scheduled crossings, and having sailed 76,725 nautical miles. Her reliability enabled Irish Ferries carrying 13% more freight from Dublin during 2001.

She was overhauled again the following year. However, on 23rd February 2003, Ulysses collided with Holyhead's linkspan in inclement and windy conditions. Therefore, several crossings had to be cancelled to enable repairs to be carry out in the harbour, with Ulysses replaced by Jonathan Swift and the charter of Mersey, which operated a service between Dublin and Liverpool.

In 2004, Ulysses was overhauled in Birkenhead. After three years of services, Ulysses was able to pride herself on that she has not been cancelled once due to technical issues or to weather-related reasons. Until January 2016 when her overhaul was made in Falmouth at the A&P shipyard, the annual overhauls of Ulysses have been made in Belfast in the Harkand & Wolff shipyard.

However due to the strong competition on the Ireland - Great Britain maritime services and due to the competition made by the low cost airlines, Ulysses became soon less profitable to Irish Ferries. Therefore, the company decided to make the company Dobson Fleet Management the manager of Ulysses, which was re-registered in Limassol, Cyprus. Therefore, Ulysses' Irish crew was replaced by staff from other European countries, that could be paid at wages lower to the Irish average wage.

Aboard Accommodations

Aboard Dining and Bar

  • Boylan's Brasserie - À la carte Restaurant ; Deck 9
  • Café Lafayette - Self-Service Restaurant ; Deck 9
  • Leopold Bloom's Bar - Bar ; Deck 9

Aboard Shopping

  • The Shop- Shop ; Deck 9 ;

Passengers Accommodations

  • Outside Plus cabins with 2 berths ;
  • Outside cabins with 2 berths ;
  • Inside cabins with 2 berths ;
  • Inside cabins with 1 berth ;
  • Cabins with 2 berths destined for person with reduced mobility ;
  • Club Class Lounge.


  • Bureau de Change - Deck 9 ;
  • Cyclops Family Entertainment - Deck 9 ;
  • Silly Milly's Fun House - Deck 9 ;
  • Bon Promenade Sandycove - Deck 11;
  • "Volta Picture Théâtre" - Cinema ;
  • Cyclops - Inside playground for childrens ;
  • James Joyce Balcony Lounge - Lounge.

Photo Library

See Also


  • "Ulysses". In Irish Ferries Enthusiasts, Irish Ferries Enthusiasts Group, 2014. [retrieved 06th November 2015]. Available at irish-ferries-enthusiasts.com ;
  • "MV Ulysses (2000)". In Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation and its writers, 2015. [retrieved 06th November 2015]. Available at en.wikipedia.org.