Dog-Friendly Sea Crossings on the Irish Sea

A picture of the main street in the beautiful Scottish town of Pitlochry

Dog-Friendly Sea Crossings to Northern Ireland/Ireland

Taking your dog to Northern Ireland or Ireland is easy as 1,2,3 when you prepare in advance. Our guidance is your first step to making that crossing a memorable one!

An escape break to Northern Ireland or Ireland with your four-legged friend for a few days or a long weekend couldn't be easier! With a hop, skip and a wag of the tail across the Irish Sea, you can be there in 2-3 hours. It's great to see that transport companies really have started to move with the times allowing pets to travel with their owners and offering a variety of options in which to do so.

Dog Friendly Scotland will be adding a number of dog-friendly holiday accommodation options over the coming weeks/months in Northern Ireland and we'd love to share them with you via our newsletter, which you can sign up for at the bottom of this page. We verify all our accommodation before it can be seen on our platform. Plus, when you book direct with the accommodation, you won't pay all the booking fees you pay on other sites.

From the UK mainland and Isle of Man, there's a great choice of departure points from which to travel and the choice of more than one ferry line to take you on to your port of destination. Another plus point is, many of the carriers run several crossings per day.

You can depart from:

  • Holyhead – Belfast = Stena Line
  • Cairnryan – Belfast = Stena Line
  • Cairnryan – Larne = P&O
  • Liverpool (Birkenhead) - Belfast = Stena Line
  • Isle of Man – Belfast = IOM Steam Packet Co
  • Isle of Man - Dublin = IOM Steam Packet Co
  • Fishguard - Rosslare = Stena Line
  • Holyhead - Dublin = Stena Line

All of our listed ferry companies allow your doggy to travel onboard and cater really well for them. It's worth noting that some carriers allow dogs to travel free, whilst others have a small charge per crossing. 

There are other routes available from the main carriers we have listed, though we've only listed those routes that are dog-friendly. 

Below we have listed some of the main points taken from each of the carrier’s conditions for these specific routes, which are relevant to anyone considering the journey. For full doggy information, we include the links to each of the shipping lines' web pages.


All dogs on the P&O route can travel free of charge but must be contained in your car at all times during the journey. Dogs are only permitted with those taking a car. Foot and coach passengers are not permitted to bring dogs on board with them. Only registered assistance dogs are allowed in the public deck spaces.

Information on - P & O 

Stena Line

All dogs travelling on the Stena Line route may travel free of charge, though they must stay in your car or one of the ship's free pre-bookable kennels (which are subject to availability). All dogs (pets) must be pre-booked prior to travel. Stena advises using the kennels where possible.

Pet cases may be used to carry your dog and can be placed in the Kennel area on the car deck. Foot passengers may bring dogs on board provided they pre-book one of the free kennels or bring their dog in a carry on case.

Guide and assistance dogs are allowed in any area of the port or ship.

Information on - Stena Line

Isle of Man-Steam Packet Company 

All dogs travelling with the Steam Packet Line can travel free of charge provided they are kept in the car for the duration of the journey.

You may book places in the pet lounge, where the cost is £10 per dog or, if you are booking a pet cabin, the cost per dog is £10. You must pre-book all required places for you and your dog. If you have more than one dog, you will have to add each one. The Line has strict rules in place, if your dogs are not booked, they will not be permitted.

Foot passengers, as above, will be permitted to bring dogs on board and exercise their dogs on the outside decks. Foot passengers will only be permitted onboard when their dogs have been pre-booked into either the pet lounge or a pet cabin at a cost of £10 per dog. Dog owners must clean up after their dogs at all times.

Guide and assistance dogs are permitted in all areas of the ship and must be accompanied with all their relevant paperwork.

Information on - The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Special Note

Since the UK's departure from the EU, your dog must have an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to travel to Northern Ireland/Ireland and the EU. Dog owners travelling from the EU are required to have a Pet Passport. An AHC is not required if your dog has a Pet Passport issued in the EU or Northern Ireland. Find out more and how to obtain an Animal Heath Certificate - Click Here! 

Looking to take your dog abroad on holiday? No problem, but it requires you to start the preparation as early as possible. Find out all you need to know here 


Our top five dog-friendly places to visit in NI

Rowallane Garden 

Silent Valley Mountain Park 

Castle Ward 

Murlough Nature Reserve 

Lagan Towpath 


We'd like to hear from you - If you can recommend other dog-friendly attractions/places to visit in Northern Ireland, please leave us a comment, we'd love to share this information with our other readers.  

Author - Tara Oakwell

(This post was first published in April 2019. Reviewed June 2020. Updated June 2021)

NOTE - Information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be used for guidance only. Whilst we make every effort to keep our information up to date, public information is constantly changing and therefore, no responsibility will be accepted if this information becomes out of date or which warrants this information to be inaccurate.

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Saturday 14 November, 2020. 5.52pm

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