A HICCUP in the Suez canal has caused the postponement of the fast ferry link to Ireland between Fishguard and Rosslare, that was due to start this week. Stena Sealink was planning to switch the catamaran Stena Sea Lynx I, currently operating the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire route, to the new service. But the replacement, Stena Sea Lynx II, is still en route from the manufacturer in Tasmania. After crossing the Indian Ocean, she was delayed at the entrance to the Suez canal while waiting for a convoy to form. She got through last weekend and is expected to arrive at Holyhead tonight.

The Fishguard-Holyhead service is now expected to begin on 8 July. Stena Sealink (0233 647047) predicts a journey time to Ireland of 99 minutes. The opening bargain is a weekend return fare of pounds 118 for a car and up to five passengers.

Travellers hoping to use the new service with a railway connection are out of luck. A Stena Sealink spokesman said: 'British Rail has not been able to find the resources to offer through services, so we are looking at working with an express coach operator.'

On the Irish side, prospects are more promising. Irish Rail has two existing services which will connect the new vessel with Dublin. So one solution for the car-owner who does not want to take a vehicle across is to drive to Fishguard and park at Fishguard Harbour Garage, opposite the port, which charges pounds 2 a day for parking.