M/V Connemara

Brittany Ferries M/V Connemara seen entering Brest's harbour, on her first commercial sailing between Ireland and France.
M/V Connemara. Picture Loïc P.

Connemara is a RoPax vessel operated by Brittany Ferries on its Economie routes linking Cork (Ringaskiddy) to Roscoff and Santander. She takes her name from a famous Irish region located in Galway. Connemara is the first vessel of the company to be named after a region which is not located in France.


Technical Specifications of M/V Connemara
M/V Connemara (2018 onwards)
The Ship
Launch  2007
Shipyard Cantieri Navale Visentini, Donada, Italy 
Owner Stena RoRo AB
Operator Brittany Ferries 
Routes Roscoff (FR) - Cork (Ringaskiddy, IE)
Santander (ES) - Cork (Ringaskiddy, IE) 
IMO 9349760 
MMSI 209236000 
Call Sign 5BEQ4 
Port of Registry Limassol, Chyprus 
Technical Datas
Length  186.46 m
Breadth 25.60 m 
Draught 06.80 m 
Gross Tonnage 26,904 GT 
Net Tonnage 7,000 t 
Engines specifications
Engines  2 diesel engines MAN B&W 9L48/60B
Power 21,600 kW 
Propulsion 2 controllable pitch propellers 
Maximum Speed 24.50 knots (max) - 23.50 knots (service)  
Passengers & Cargo
Passengers  518 passengers
Accommodations 121 cabins and 36 seats
Garage 195 cars and 2 255 freight lanemeters 

Service History

Connemara's early years

Stena Ausonia sailing out of Barcelona when operated by Balearia.
Stena Ausonia under Balearia service. Picture Manuel Hernandez Lafuente, via DoverFerryPhotos

Connemara is one of 17 sisterships built by the Cantiere Navale Visentini in the late-00s for Epic Shipping Ltd. However, the vessel was sold during completion to Swedish company Stena RoRo AB, which would charter her to other operators.

Launched in 2007 as Stena Ausonia, the vessel began service on 20th May 2007, when she was chartered out to Balearia. The company introduced her on its route linking Barcelona to Palma.

In 2010, the vessel was chartered to AVE Line for service between Travemünde (DE) and Ventspils / Riga (LV) as Baltic Amber. As the service didn't last long, she was later chartered to DFDS Seaways for service between Kiel (DE) and Klaipeda (LT) during winter 2010-2011.

Norman Asturias serving the Motorways of the Sea

Norman Asturias berthed in Gijon.
Norman Asturias. Picture prieto, via ShipSpotting.

In March 2011, the vessel was chartered to LD Lines, the company which would operate her for the next 4 years. She began operation on the Marseille (FR) - Tunis (TN) route before shortly been moved to the Montoir de Bretagne (FR) - Gijon (ES) route. She replaced Norman Bridge on this EU-subsidised "Motorways of the Seas" service. She became Norman Asturias in June of the same year.

In 2013, replaced by Norman Atlantic on the Montoir-de-Bretagne - Gijon service, Norman Asturias was moved to a new Santander / Gijon (ES) - Poole (GB) service. However this service lasted only until September 2014, when LD Lines stopped operation and was took over by DFDS Seaways.

The vessel then sailed back to the Mediterranean, where she has been operated on the Algeciras (ES) - Tanger (MA) (2015) then Valletta (MT) - Patras (GR) (2016 - 2017) routes. The later was an ANEK Line service, for which the vessel was renamed Asterion.

Connemara between France, Ireland and Spain

An artist impression of M/V Connemara, made after a picture of Brittany Ferries chartered Etretat, which is a sistership of Connemara.
An artist impression of Connemara. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.

On 16th January 2018, Brittany Ferries announced it was to launch a new service linking Cork (Ringaskiddy) to Santander. This was the conclusion of a 14 year-long lobbying of the Commercial Manager of the Port of Cork, which was supporting a new direct link to Spain. This new link enables hauliers to make significant savings on their Spain - Ireland operations, especially after the Brexit which will make harder transit to Spain via Great Britain.

For this new service, Brittany Ferries signed a two-year chatering agreement with Stena RoRo, with Asterion being the vessel retained for the service.

After having been slightly refitted in Patras in February 2018, the vessel arrived in Santander for further works and repaint on 26th April 2018. Named Connemara, the vessel is due to operated a twice-weekly service between Santander and Cork as well as an additional mid-week service on the popular Roscoff - Cork service. Such service has not been proposed on this route since the late-1990s and the sale of Duchesse Anne. By the way, Connemara's introduction celebrate the 40th anniversary of Brittany Ferries' operations from both ports. 

In order to "reconcile development and risk control to protect the shareholders and the current employees of the Company", Brittany Ferries however decided to register Connemara under the Cyprus' flag. This makes the ship the first since 2006 not to be operated under French Maritime Regulations by French crews. However, would the service be successful, Connemara would immediately be reflagged in France.

Connemara made her first commercial sailing on 6th May, when she cast off Santander bound to Cork. She arrived the following day in Cork, where was undertaken an inspection by Maritime Authorities. After that, Connemara was allowed to sail to Roscoff for her first service to France. However, due to a strike in Roscoff harbour, she had to be diverted to Brest.

Aboard Accommodations

Aboard Dining and Bar

  • Bar ; Deck 05 ;
  • Self-service Restaurant ; Deck 05.

Aboard Shopping

  • The Shop ; Deck 05.

Passengers Accommodations

  • 44 outdoor cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 66 indoor cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 01 wheelchair-friendly cabin with 2 berths ;
  • 05 pet-friendly outdoor cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 05 pet-friendly indoor cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 36 allocated seats (only available on the Roscoff - Cork services).

Photo Library


  • "Ouverture d'une nouvelle ligne entre Cork et l'Espagne". In Brittany Ferries, B.A.I. SA, 2015. [retrieved 21st May 2018]. Available at corporate.brittany-ferries.com ;
  • "MV Connemara, Past and Present". In Dover Ferry Photos Forum, Goodfellow, R. ; Thornton N. ; Cloke P., 2015. [retrieved 21st May 2018]. Available at www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk ;
  • Roche, B.. "New Cork-Spain ferry will allow hauliers to avoid UK after Brexit", The Irish Times, 09.05.2018. Available at www.irishtimes.com.