About us

Ní neart go cur le chéile – Stronger together

locally-owned business run by families

About Cape Clear Ferries

Cape Clear Ferries is an independent, locally-owned business run by families based in Baltimore and Cape Clear Island.

The Cottrell Family, living in Baltimore, has deep roots on the Island and the business is owned by the family along with shareholders who are based on Cape Clear Island itself.

nearly 100 years in the ferry service

proud seafaring family

The family has a proud tradition of seafaring going back for generations with nearly 100 years of service alone in the ferry service to the Island. Many members of the wider family have or continue to work for the service.

Spearheaded by Master Mariner Brendan, his wife Karen Cottrell and islander Séamus Ó Drisceoil, Cape Clear Ferries works closely with many other local service providers to provide the best possible experience for all our customers.

Our permanent crew are all lifelong seafarers and being on the waters around Cape Clear Island is like a second home for them. The crew are supplemented by seasonal staff, also drawn from our tight-knit coastal communities, during the busy periods of the year.

The Cottrell family are also strongly associated with the Baltimore Lifeboat Community providing many past and current volunteers and crew.

Oilean Cléire (Cape Clear Island) is a Gaeltacht Island and many of our crew are fluent Irish speakers.

Cape Clear Island is also the ‘Gateway to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse’, one of the most iconic landmarks on the Wild Atlantic Way. Cape Clear Ferries works closely with Comharchumann Chléire Teoranta-Cape Clear Co-Op to develop this important amenity.

We are here to stay, and sustainability is key to everything we do at Cape Clear Ferries. We work to play our part in ensuring the survival of our unique island and its community. We are passionate about our area and want to share it with as many people as possible.

Cape Clear Ferries tours have been recognised domestically and internationally, winning the 2018 award for Outstanding West Cork Tourism Experience at the West Cork Business & Tourism Awards while also being named among the top tours on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by National Geographic. Cape Clear Island was itself named in the top 10 most beautiful islands in Europe by Vogue Australia in 2019.

In 2020, a sister company – Cork Harbour Cruises — was established to showcase the beautiful and historical area around Cork City and Karen Cottrell’s home town of Crosshaven.