A NEW €6m pier has been opened at Doolin, Co Clare, which is expected to double the number of passengers departing from the harbour.
Fair City actor Aoibhin Garrihy - whose father operates a ferry to the Aran Islands was at the opening, as was Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin.
The new facility will end the practice where those travelling at low tide had to be shipped to ferries using currachs.
The completion of the pier could see passenger numbers from the harbour grow to 200,000.
"The practice of 'trans-shipping' is not acceptable and puts lives at risk," Mr Howlin said.
"We have seen, after really dark days, a change in the public mood as the economy has improved, but it is important that that is shared everywhere."
The initial plan for the new pier was lodged in 2010, but a fresh planning application was made after surfers raised objections that the plan would damage 'the jewel in the crown' of Irish surfing - a wave breaking off nearby Crab Island.
"I think the new pier doesn't have any effect on the wave and there are facilities provided for the surfers now - a launch area and showers so it is safer for them entering the water," ferry operator, Eugene Garrihy said."
His daughter Aoibhin - who has starred in TV's the Fall said the new pier was a boost for the village.
"This is a great day for the village and for the neighbouring towns in Clare as it is going to really drive business," she said.