I am sure for many Red star Ferry boat holds many memories. If you go back to the 1800 there were many steam boats doing trade on the Lough. the most used method in early 1900 was by rowing boat, quickest way to get from Omeath to Warrenpoint. tourism was a major source of employment during these years. Warrenpoint Urban district Council had the responsibility of issuing licenses for boats and hackney cars.The first motor boat ro come along in 1912 was ‘Fair Play’ it belonged to the O’Neill family of Newry street. The number of boats increased between 1920 and 1930, it was decided to form a combine, it required each boat to fly a white flag with a red star. At the height of service during the war yeras 1939 – 1945 at least 15 boats were admitted. their was plenty of business for all, this went on until mid 1950. Lots of special trains brought people from Belfast , Lurgan and Portadown, they had one aim, to travel to Omeath. They came in their thousands.
Omeath traders were well stocked up, Sundays being the busiest day of the week. Tobaccos, cigarettes, and confectionery were big sellers. checkers were employed to count the number of passengers were on the boat. The boatingb season usually began at Easter and ended in late September. When food rationing came to an end in 1950 trade began to suffer. One boat after another wa taken of, some were broken up others were sold. Two of the busiest days of the years had been july 14th and august 15th. When the ‘troubles’ started all of this vhanged, no more large crowds to be seen, but the service continued each summer and sadly only one boat remained in 2003. then due to red tape and new safety regulations, it was no longer allowed to provide a service. A very sad day for Omeath and Warrenpoint.
In memory of the Red Star Boat here are some of the names of boats during their forty year service:
Fair play, Mary Og, Julian, Olive, Mourne, Marie Gorretti became St George late on, Evening star, Madonna, Girl Pat, st. Patrick, Little Flower, St. Anthony, Fairy Queen.
The last boat in active service was the Mary Og.
Omeath had three motor boats in operation owned by:
Anderson Family O’Hanlon Family McCarthy Family
Credit and thanks to Omeath Historical Society