Pictures: Cross-border ferry route linking Down to Louth set to open Friday
A new ferry route linking Greencastle in Co Down with Greenore in Co Louth is set to disembark for the first time this Friday.
Plans to link the two ports across Carlingford Lough have been in the pipeline for the past 10 years, and the project has come in at a total cost of around £8.5 million.
The route has been privately funded by Frazer Ferries Group, which will also operate the service.
In a statement, the company's managing director Paul O'Sullivan said that the launch of the service had come after a "long and exhaustive permitting process in two jurisdictions".
The first crossing will set sail from Greencastle at 12 noon Friday.
The ferry will have space for 44 vehicles and will have an average journey time of 15 to 20 minutes.
Commuters will now be able to cut out a 35-mile route drive around the lough, and a spokesperson for Frazer Ferries Group said that they had received particular interest from motorcycle and cycling groups who felt the new route will allow them to better navigate routes through the area.
An economic impact assessment carried out in 2013 found that the service could potentially bring million to the area, and potentially generate hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the region.
There had been some opposition to the new , specifically related to the construction of a ferry terminal and environmental issues connected to this.
Last month Appeal judges in Belfast upheld a High Court dismissal of a case challenging the granting of planning permission and a marine licence for the new service.
The service will run from 7am to 9.30pm during the summer, and from 7am to 7pm from October to March.
Belfast Telegraph Digital