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Red Bay Pier (Glenariff Pier)

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Overview





Red Bay is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland approximately thirteen miles south of Fair Head and three miles northwest of Garron Point. The expansive bay offers a range of anchoring opportunities in a stunning location.

Red Bay provides the best anchoring on this part of the coast. It offers good protection from all winds between southeast, through west to northwest. Additionally, tucked into the bight of the bay it is out of the current and has excellent fine sand holding. Nevertheless it is an open bay that is exposed to the north and east. Access is straightforward thanks to the absence of offshore dangers or any tidal restriction. However expect poorly marked marine farms to be in the area.
Please note

In Red Bay even moderate south or southwest winds blow with great violence down the valleys, coming off in heavy squalls. Vessels working their way in should be prepared for this and when these conditions exist expect it to be a characteristic of any stay. This is typically not an issue owing to the bay’s highly reliable holding. The direction and velocity of the tide should be the central feature of any navigation planning in this area.




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Keyfacts for Red Bay Pier (Glenariff Pier)
Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.


Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityRemote or quiet secluded locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Now Force

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

LWS draught

3 metres (9.84 feet).

Today's tide estimates

HW 01:59 (1.7m) LW 07:14 (0.4m)
HW 13:55 (1.8m) LW 19:44 (0.4m)
Now approaching Neaps

Swell today




Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.


Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityRemote or quiet secluded locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Position and approaches
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Haven position

55° 3.940' N, 006° 3.170' W

This is the position Red Bay or Glenariff pierhead, where a light stands Fl 3s 10m 5M, at the north end of Red Bay.

What is the initial fix?

The following Red Bay Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
55° 4.071' N, 006° 0.592' W
This is situated a third of a mile northeast of the fish farm located between the Red Bay pier and Garron Point. This is set to keep southern approaching vessels clear of the fish farm and vessels approaching from other direction may approach directly as the fish farm is the only outlying danger in Red Bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the east and southbound Route location or north and westbound Route location sequenced 'Malin Head to Strangford Lough' coastal description. Approaches to the area can be found in the Glenarm Click to view haven entry.

  • Avoid the fish farm in the south side of the bay.

  • Approach on a bearing of 255° T of the seaward face of Lurigethan the unmistakable steep 350 metre high mountain that forms a long ridge on the north side of the inshore glen.



Not what you need?
Try our Advanced Havens Search tool to find locations with the specific attributes you need, or click the 'Next', coastal clockwise, or 'Previous', coastal anti-clockwise, buttons to progress through neighbouring havens. Below are the ten nearest havens to Red Bay Pier (Glenariff Pier) for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Cushendall - 0.4 miles N
  2. Cushendun - 2.3 miles N
  3. Carnlough Bay and Harbour - 3 miles SSE
  4. Glenarm Bay and Harbour - 4.2 miles SSE
  5. Torr Head - 4.7 miles N
  6. Murlough Bay - 5.5 miles NNW
  7. Ballycastle - 6.6 miles NW
  8. Ballygalley Bay - 7.4 miles SE
  9. Church Bay - 8.9 miles NNW
  10. Ballintoy Harbour - 9.5 miles NW
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Cushendall - 0.4 miles N
  2. Cushendun - 2.3 miles N
  3. Carnlough Bay and Harbour - 3 miles SSE
  4. Glenarm Bay and Harbour - 4.2 miles SSE
  5. Torr Head - 4.7 miles N
  6. Murlough Bay - 5.5 miles NNW
  7. Ballycastle - 6.6 miles NW
  8. Ballygalley Bay - 7.4 miles SE
  9. Church Bay - 8.9 miles NNW
  10. Ballintoy Harbour - 9.5 miles NW
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


How to get in?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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The extensive and picturesque Red Bay is entered between Garron Point and Limerick Point situated 3.25 miles to the northwest. It has the small Red Bay Pier, also known as Glenariff Pier, at the head of the bay which is capable of sheltering 4 or 5 vessels rafted up.


The pier sits at the foot of Glenariff which, being the biggest and most popular of the Glens of Antrim, is often called the 'Queen of the Glens'. Its hills rise immediately inshore to 350 metres in height, and are intersected by picturesque valleys running far into the interior. A small stream flows along the flat foot of the valley to empty itself near the small village of Waterfoot, a little to the west of the pier. The larger village of Cushendall is about a mile to the north of the pier.



Convergance Point The Glenarm Click to view haven entry provides directions for general approaches to the area as Red Bay is about five miles to the north of Glenarm, with Carnlough and Glenarm Bays being separated from Red Bay by Garron Point.

Garron Point is a bold and precipitous headland that rises abruptly to a height of 230 metres. It is a highly conspicuous headland with no outlying dangers and good depths close in. A berth of 400 metres clears all dangers here. Expect a poorly marked fish farm to be in the south side of Red Bay.


Initial fix location The Red Bay initial fix is 1.9 nautical miles from the pier on a bearing of 255° T set on the seaward face of Lurigethan. Lurigethan is an unmistakable steep 350 metre high mountain that forms a long ridge on the north side of the inshore glen. At first the pier may be difficult to pick out from seaward but when tracking in it will appear on the shoreline at the foot of Lurigethan.




Haven location Vessels may anchor in any part of Red Bay in depths according to personal preference. The most used options are as follows:



Off the pierhead in 4 metres with depths decreasing gradually to the shore. Vessels can temporarily come alongside the pier that has 2.9 metres at its head. However the wall is rough and is best avoided by vessels that do not have a fender-board. It is also possible to lie at moorings with stem warps out to the pier.

In west or northwest winds a good anchorage can be found to the southwest of Glenariff Pier. Depths of up to 2.5 metres will be found here with a sandy bottom shoaling gradually to the shore.

In strong south, or even southeast gales, the best anchorage is to be found in the southern-most corner about half a mile out for the head of the bay. This is inshore of the inner of the two ruined piers that are situated on the southern shore. The ruins of the pier run out 110 metres with a figure of some sort usually perched on the outermost portion. Anchor to the west of the ruin, and approximately 400 metres north of a white stone arch on the shore where 3 to 4 metres of water will be found.

Vessels that can dry out could explore the Glenariff River. It can be entered at half tide with good water obtainable from springs in the vicinity.


What's the story here?
The pier at Red Bay, in Irish Cuan an Deirg, close to its village of Waterfoot is known by two names, ‘Red Bay Pier’ and ‘Glenariff Pier’.

The place name’s ‘red’ element stems from the ancient Irish name Uaimh Dhearg ‘red cave’. This describes the exposed red sandstone cliffs that rise above the pier and continue along on the north side of the bay. Caves can be seen above the pier today, with the three main ones having been used as dwellings in the past. One of which called Nanny's Cave was last inhabited by a woman called Anne Murray as late as 1847, another cave was used as a smith's forge, and the third was an 18th century school. There is also another cave here that is believed to have been an escape route from the 16th-century MacDonnells castle situated above. In 1849 workmen found two bronze axes, a stone axe and some silver coins in this cave. The ‘red’ name extended to the bay as a result of eroded sandstone washing down from these cliffs and caves to cause residual reddish sands along the shoreline.


Situated at the foot of Glenariff the pier’s other name clearly comes from its close proximity to the impressive Glen. Glenariff is the largest and most popular of the Glens of Antrim and is fondly called the 'Queen Of the Glens'. The name ‘Glenariff’ stems from the Irish Gleann Airimh meaning ‘valley of the ploughman / arable valley’.


This describes the glen’s flat central plain that was formed some 10,000 years ago as the result of melting ice caps. The glen’s classic ‘U’ shape is that of a typical glacial cut valley. The area name for the valley’s wide foot where the village of Waterfoot is situated, also reflects the origins of the ‘Glenariff’ name. The townland is called ‘Foriff’ that is derived from the Irish word Foirbh meaning ‘pasture’.




This area is steeped in history as is well witnessed by Tievebulliagh, situated close northwest of Lurigethan, where a famed Neolithic flint factory existed as covered in the, see neighbouring Cushendall Click to view haven entry. The magnificent slopes of the Lurigethan, whose summit towers above Glenarriff, Red Bay, and the town of Cushendall, plays host to an Iron Age promontory fort. Lurigethan, also known as ‘Lurigedan’ or simply ‘Lurig’, drives its name from Irish where ‘lurga’, means a ‘shin’, often applied to a long low ridge or a long strip of land, and ‘eadan’ means the brow or forehead.




Lurigethan’s fort was called Dun Clan na Mourna and was believed to be manned from approximately 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. The name references the Fianna, that was dominated by Clan Bascna, led by Cumhal, and Clan Morna, led by Goll. After the Battle of Knock, Cumhal is killed by the Morna clan and Clan Bascna's treasure bag is stolen. The fort is also known as ‘Lignafenia’ meaning the ‘hollow of the warriors’ that refers to Fionn mac Cumhaill, or Finn MacCool, the leader of the i>Fianna. He was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish mythology who also occurs in the mythologies of Scotland and the Isle of Man. Tradition has it that at one time Lurigethan was the home of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his son the Celtic warrior-poet Ossian. The banks and ditches that outline early promontory ramparts can be clearly seen on Lurigethan’s slopes today. Enclosed within them are a series of oval-shaped barrows and sub-rectangular hollows that could be the remains of sunken houses. Archaeologists likened this to similar promontory forts, of the early Iron Age, in Western Britain and Brittany. Legend has it the megalithic court cairn on a hillside in Lubitavish,near the Glenaan River, is the burial place of Ossian.




The remains of the 16th-century MacDonnells castle overlooking the pier took its ‘red’ name from a cave in the red sandstone cliff underneath it. Situated on a headland that projects into the sea the location commanded magnificent views of the bay and coast. The site was originally a Norman motte-and-bailey built in 1224 by John and Walter Bisset who purchased the Glens of Antrim from the Earl of Ulster, Richard De Burgo. The Bissets ruled until 1399 when John Mor MacDonald, 3rd chief of Dunnyveg, married Margery Bissett of the Glens of Antrim, and acquired the castle of Red Bay as part of her dowry. His descendants known as the ‘MacDonnells of Antrim’ extended and rebuilt the castle in the 16th century. In 1565, it was burned to the ground by Shane O'Neill chief of the O'Neills of Tyrone. It was later rebuilt by the legendary MacDonnell clan leader ‘Sorley Boy MacDonnell’ who then let it fall into disrepair. In 1604 the castle was restored once again only to be finally destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1652, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, after which it was abandoned.


The pier was built in 1849 to provide a harbour for nearby Waterfoot and the larger village of Cushendall immediately north. The bulk of the harbour’s trade came from the extraction of iron ore at the Glenravel mines, south-west of Glenariff, and its shipment to Scotland and England. However business declined in 1876 when a railway linked the mines to Ballymena enabling the more capable larger ports of Larne and Belfast to take over the trade. The mines themselves failed a few years later. Vessels that anchor of Red Bay's southern shore will use the the White Arch, over the coast road, as a good marker. This is the remnant of a railway bridge constructed in the 1870s to carry iron ore from the Cloughcor Mines in Glengariff to the White Arch Harbour, the remains of which are on the shoreline. Between White Arch and Cloughcor, a distance of 6.4 km (4miles), ran a narrow-gauge railway line and the terrace of limestone houses near the arch were built by the company to house the miners.


Today the beautiful Glenariff, ably crowned by the magnificent peak of Lurigethan on the north side, is the main draw of the area. This is a walker’s paradise with countless spectacular walks ranging from flat walks along the coast, or the more rugged hill walks that provide stunning views over the bay. A highlight among the hill walks is a visit to the 1185 hectare Glenariff Forest Park. This features a number of walking trails with steps and bridges that take a visitor through scenery with waterfalls and crystal clear pools. Amongst these is Altnagowna, or the ‘Grey Mare's Tail’ as it is better known, which is one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in Glenariff and in all of Antrim. The diversity of topography, woodland and wildlife habitats formed here provide visitors with superb natural beauty, tranquillity and panoramic views of the Irish Sea and Scottish Coasts. The most popular approach is to follow the rivers Inver and Glenariff, and their associated waterfalls, where visitors can make use of the café situated in the park.


From a sailing perspective Red Bay provides the most sheltered anchorage on this part of the coast, out of the tide, and safe in winds between southeast and northwest. Access to the bay is straightforward as it is non-tidal and available at all times plus free of off-lying dangers except for the fish farm that is well lit. It is the ideal location to seek protection from these quarters on this coast.


Moreover with the Antrim coast enduring some of the strongest tides of the whole country, Red Bay offers the ideal stop off to await a tide for the next leg. It is also an ideal staging post for those wishing to cross the north channel to Scotland to the Mull of Kintyre and the Western Isles, which are visible all the way.




What facilities are available?
Some basic stores are to be found at Waterfoot which serves a small population of 500 people. The village is situated on the A2 coast road between the separately covered towns of Carnlough to the south and Cushendall that is situated immediately to the north. Cushendall offers the best choice for provisioning.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored off in Red Bay.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, New Ross, County Wexford. Photography with thanks to Eric Jones, Richard Webb, Burke Corbett, Imagea.org, Peter Dean, Keith Ruffles, Richard Webb, Albert Bridge, Anne Burgess, Kenneth Allen, Robert Ashby, Mat Tuck, Motacilla, Jennifer Boyer and Will Bakker.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




































The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with Red Bay.


This video presents some aerial footage of the bay.




This video shows Red Bay and the beach at Waterfoot.




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