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July 2004
A peaceful summer’s evening, during the first weekend of the strike, with all four ships tied up at Stranraer harbour.   Dalriada is at the back, Neckartaal left, Ailsa Princess right, and almost masked from view Antrim Princess behind.

In May 1974 there was a general strike in Northern Ireland, organised by the Ulster Workers Council (UWC).   The strike – about power-sharing with Britain - started at the port of Larne which forced all the ferries from Stranraer to remain berthed in Scotland.   There were no sailings for two weeks between the ports, until the strike was settled by the ending of the Northern Ireland Executive and the re-imposition of Direct Rule.

strike-ailsa.JPG (29539 bytes) strike-neckartal.JPG (19569 bytes)
Sisters Ailsa Princess and Antrim Princess were rarely in port together.   They are seen here, side by side, with the bow of Neckertaal just visible on the right. Neckertaal had only been recently charted to provide additional freight capacity on the route.   Unlike sister Preseli, it never carried a British Rail logo on its funnels.
As the strike drew to a close, the ferries were shuffled at Stranraer to allow Dalriada and Neckertaal access to the car ramp.   Both these vessels started sailing as soon as the strike ended as they had non-British crews (Dalriada was on long term charter from Stena).   The Antrim and Ailsa returned to service later in the week.
 Larne Dock Strike
All photos taken in May 1974.   Click to enlarge.
UWC Strike information
Larne Ferry Web
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