A warm welcome awaited Queen Elizabeth 2 on her history-making maiden call to Killybegs today.
The Cunard Line cruise ship berthed at Killybegs this Friday to much fanfare, as it was the largest ever liner to visit the pier.
The new 300m pier was just perfect to accommodate the 92,000 tonne ship, which at 294m is twice as long as Croke Park.
Donegal Cathaoirleach Seamus O’Domhnaill greeted the 1,200-strong crew and 2,000 passengers on their arrival, while tourism officials were ready to guide the disembarking visitors on making the most of their day in Donegal.
Bus fleets whisked hundreds of eager tourists away to locations such as Donegal Town, Glenveagh, Glencolmcille Folk Village, Crolly and The Rosses. Visitors come here for an experience and to see the Irish landscape, sea and culture, according to Sales and Loyalty Manager Petra Staffen. However, there was no shortage of high-end shopping bags from Donegal Town when guests arrived back in the afternoon.
The Queen Elizabeth is the youngest of Cunard’s three ships. She has sailed around the world since her launch in 2010. This week, she had collected passengers from Rotterdam and Southampton before setting sail for Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands and England.
The new pier opens a world of opportunities for Killybegs, which was well-represented by today’s visit. Thanks to its deep water harbour and the stunning natural scenery of the surrounding areas, Killybegs is asserting itself as the cruise capital of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Queen Elizabeth has now departed on its next adventure to Greenock, but it is hoped that visitors are leaving with lasting memories and a desire to return for a second helping of the delights of Donegal.
See a picture special of the ship’s interiors here: