England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes
Boat
Maintenance
Comfort
Handling
Safety
Other


NextPrevious

Western Ireland Coastal Description - The River Shannon

Tides and tools
Overview







Be the first
to comment

What is the route?
This is the primary description and set of waypoints for the estuary, entrance and main features of the River Shannon as far Limerick. The sequence of description is west to east, passing upriver:

  • • Through the inner entrance and along the southern shore

  • • North of Foynes Island

  • • Past The Middle Ground via the North Channel

  • • South of Beeves Rock

  • • West of Battle Island
The preceding southern coast's set of waypoints and coastal description is available by clicking 'Previous', above, and vessels planning on continuing northwards, beyond Loop Head, can find the following set of waypoints and its coastal description by clicking 'Next'.

Why sail this route?
Many cruisers enjoy inshore coastal sailing and particularly so between close situated locations. This coastal description assists planning by highlighting key characteristics and immediate dangers that may be encountered whilst sailing in this area.

Tidal overview
Today's summary tidal overview for this route as of Sunday, February 18th at 06:57.

The Ebb (out-going) Tide

(HW Dover -0515 to +0045)


Starts in 00:16

(Sun 07:14 to 13:14)

The Flood (in-going) Tide

(HW Dover +0100 to -0530)

Now

 


Ends in 00:12

(Sun 01:15 to 07:10)

What are the navigational notes?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the route. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Clicking the 'Expand to Fullscreen' icon opens a larger viewing area in a new tab.

Expand to
new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out (-) if all of the waypoints are not displayed.
The above plots are not precise and are indicative only.

The 240 mile long River Shannon, the largest river of the British Isles, is an outstanding sailing destination in itself. Its wide entrance, located between Loop Head and Kerry Head, provides easy access and, containing major ports, is well marked. Within the entrance, the river will be found to be spacious and it offers relatively secure anchoring.

Vessels with a draft of over five metres may progress forty-five miles inland to the river’s commercial port of Limerick. The tide flows as far as the city with the vast majority of it navigable by pleasure craft at all stages of the tide. It is only above the conjunction of the Fergus River, in the final lengths to Limerick, that the Shannon shallows and becomes somewhat obstructed by rocks and flats. In these sections, a least depth of just over a metre can be found in the fairway requiring vessels of any draft to navigate with the benefit of a tidal rise.

Upriver from Limerick the Shannon effectively becomes an inland waterway. An un-stepped and shallow-draft vessel may continue to navigate these waters by passing through its seven locks and under its several bridges, almost to its source in County Caven. Those intending upon such a cruising plan would be best advised to contact the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) voluntary organisation that advocates the use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland.

Protection from adverse conditions along this coast is best found in the Shannon. The outer coastal anchorages of Smerwick, Brandon Bay, or tucked into the Magharee Islands, can be exposed to the Atlantic Swell and do not offer protection from all quarters. Likewise, Tralee Bay is also open and affords little shelter, except for at Fenit Harbour in its southeast corner. The Shannon however, is free from outlying dangers and its well-marked wide open entrance is accessible at all times. Within the river, vessels can safely anchor and find protection from any condition. As such, in thick weather, or with a westerly gale, vessels are best advised to run for the Shannon.


Tidal streams in the Shannon are strong, up to 4 knots on the ebb, and the prevailing winds blow upstream. This makes the ride upriver very fast and efficient and an ebb tide downriver beat fast but somewhat wet. The tidal range in the Shannon estuary is appreciably higher than anywhere else on the west coast attain about 5.5 metres during Springs at Limerick. The Flood (in-going) tide begins at +0100 Dover at the entrance attaining a rate of 2½ knots. The Ebb (out-going) tide commences at -0515 Dover and attains a rate of 4 knots.

It should be noted that the spring ebb tide sweeps round the entrance’s Kilcredaun Head at the rate of from 3.5 to 4 knots. So entry, at this time, requires a commanding breeze or the support of a stalwart engine. The nearest tide wait anchorage is Kilbaha Bay Click to view haven, three miles inside Loop Head. It is a fair weather haven where holding is poor and it is sheltered in winds from west around to northeast, but is exposed to swell from the southeast. Carrigaholt Bay Click to view haven, situated immediately inside the entrance on the north bank of the Shannon, provides the first safe haven.

This entire length of the river, from a line drawn between Loop Head and Kerry Head to Limerick, is managed by Shannon Foynes Port Company who use VHF Channel 11 as their working channel. It is strongly recommended that leisure vessels maintain a listening watch on this channel.

The waypoints provided lead up through the main shipping channel but it should be noted that leisure craft are obliged to give way to Commercial Shipping that cannot move outside the limits of the marked Channel. This should not present a problem as the vast majority of the river has ample deep water outside of the marks. In the event of uncertain with regard to shipping movements, contact the vessel on Ch. 11 to indicate your intentions. Most shipping movements between Shannon Airport and Limerick take place 2 hours ± High Water.

LISTED WAYPOINTS

The complete course is 46.31 miles from the waypoint ' ¼ of a mile south of the Ballybunnion North Cardinal ' to 'The Pool' tending in a easterly direction (reciprocal westerly).

¼ of a mile south of the Ballybunnion North Cardinal , 52° 32.300' N, 009° 46.940' W
The Ballybunion North Cardinal, VQ Fl. 6m, that marks the mouth of the River Shannon.

       Next waypoint: 3.08 miles, course 64.28°T (reciprocal 244.28°T)

River entrance leading lights aligned on 046½°, 52° 33.635' N, 009° 42.375' W
Lights in line 046°T from a position of just over a mile south of Kilcredaun Head. Front light, Oc 5s (24hr), on Corlis Point, Rear light, Oc 5s (24hr), at Querrin Quay. This lead through the river entrance, passing close north of the Tail of Beal, Beal Spit and Beal Bar markers.

       Next waypoint: 2.45 miles, course 46.73°T (reciprocal 226.73°T)

End of 046½° entrance alignment , 52° 35.310' N, 009° 39.445' W
¾ of a mile northwest of Beal Bar.

       Next waypoint: 2.17 miles, course 89.19°T (reciprocal 269.19°T)

200 metres south of Letter Point Port Buoy, 52° 35.340' N, 009° 35.870' W
Letter Point, Fl R 7s.

       Next waypoint: 0.87 miles, course 110.99°T (reciprocal 290.99°T)

200 metres south of Asdee Port Buoy, 52° 35.030' N, 009° 34.540' W
Asdee. Fl R 3s.

       Next waypoint: 2.98 miles, course 77.26°T (reciprocal 257.26°T)

200 metres north of North Carrig, 52° 35.685' N, 009° 29.760' W
North Carrig, Q, marking Carrig Shoal situated on the southern shore.

       Next waypoint: 2.36 miles, course 93.75°T (reciprocal 273.75°T)

South of The Bridge, 52° 35.530' N, 009° 25.890' W
The Bridge is a rocky ridge that runs across the river. Located immediately south of Money Point power station it has 16 to 19 metres of water over it and with from 27 to 35 metres on each side. In bad weather, especially with a spring ebb, this causes a heavy breaking sea.

       Next waypoint: 2.43 miles, course 82.42°T (reciprocal 262.42°T)

Tarbert Island leading lights aligned on 128¼°, 52° 35.850' N, 009° 21.920' W
This is a little over a ⅓ of a mile north of Tarbert Island on the 128¼° T alignment of the leading lights on Ballyhoolahan Point front, Iso 3s, rear, Iso 5s, that lead between Tarbert Island and Kilkerin Point.

       Next waypoint: 1.77 miles, course 128.32°T (reciprocal 308.32°T)

Bolands Buoy - end of 128¼° alignment, 52° 34.750' N, 009° 19.630' W
This is ¼ south of the Bolands Buoy, Fl R 3s, and at end of 128¼° Ballyhoolahan Point leading lights.

       Next waypoint: 2.26 miles, course 74.55°T (reciprocal 254.55°T)

200 metres north of Carraig Fada Green Buoy, 52° 35.350' N, 009° 16.050' W
Carraig Fada Green Buoy, Fl. G. 5s, marking Long Rock composed of boulders that uncover at half-tide and projects about 600 metres into the river from the high water mark.

       Next waypoint: 2.23 miles, course 61.00°T (reciprocal 241.00°T)

200 metres north of Loghill Green Buoy, 52° 36.430' N, 009° 12.840' W
Loghill Green Buoy, Fl. G. 3s, marking the Carrigeen Rocks. Lying on the outer edge of this mud flat, about 600 metres from the high water line, these are composed of drying boulders that uncovered at low water springs.

       Next waypoint: 1.93 miles, course 85.23°T (reciprocal 265.23°T)

½ a mile south of Rinealon Point , 52° 36.590' N, 009° 9.670' W
South side of the river and ½ a mile south of Rinealon Point that exhibits a light Fl 2.5s.

       Next waypoint: 2.08 miles, course 44.13°T (reciprocal 224.13°T)

200 metres north of Sturamus Green Buoy, 52° 38.085' N, 009° 7.280' W
Sturamus Green Buoy, Fl(2)G 6s.

       Next waypoint: 1.66 miles, course 55.21°T (reciprocal 235.21°T)

200 metres north of Aughinish North Cardinal, 52° 39.030' N, 009° 5.037' W
Aughinish North Cardinal, Q.

       Next waypoint: 0.94 miles, course 87.57°T (reciprocal 267.57°T)

200 metres south of Cannon Red Buoy, 52° 39.070' N, 009° 3.485' W
Cannon Red Buoy, Fl(2) R 6s.

       Next waypoint: 1.33 miles, course 102.15°T (reciprocal 282.15°T)

¼ of a mile south of Beeves Rock Light, 52° 38.790' N, 009° 1.345' W
Beeves Light, Fl WR 5s, is a dark stone tower that resembles a Martello Tower. It is located on the north side of the main channel near the southern edge of the Beeves Rocks.

       Next waypoint: 2.93 miles, course 58.30°T (reciprocal 238.30°T)

200 metres north of Flasts Green Buoy , 52° 40.330' N, 008° 57.230' W
Flasts Green Buoy, Fl G 5s.

       Next waypoint: 1.35 miles, course 74.51°T (reciprocal 254.51°T)

200 metres south of the head of the Dernish Island Aviation Fuel Jetty, 52° 40.690' N, 008° 55.085' W
Dernish Island Aviation Fuel Jetty, 2F. R (vert).

       Next waypoint: 0.36 miles, course 66.28°T (reciprocal 246.28°T)

200 metres north of Carrig Bank Green Buoy , 52° 40.835' N, 008° 54.540' W
Carrig Bank Green Buoy Fl(2) G 6s

       Next waypoint: 1.36 miles, course 80.03°T (reciprocal 260.03°T)

250 metres south of Fergus Rock, leading lights aligned on 093°, 52° 41.070' N, 008° 52.330' W
250 metres south of Fergus Rock lights aligned on 093° T, front light Tradree Rock Fl R 2s, rear light on the west side of Quay, or Cain's, Island, Iso 6s.

       Next waypoint: 1.28 miles, course 92.64°T (reciprocal 272.64°T)

200 metres north of Bird Rock light beacon, 52° 41.011' N, 008° 50.230' W
Bird Rock light beacon, Q.G.

       Next waypoint: 0.24 miles, course 107.55°T (reciprocal 287.55°T)

200 metres south of Tradree Rock light beacon, 52° 40.940' N, 008° 49.860' W
Tradree Rock, Fl R 2.

       Next waypoint: 0.34 miles, course 95.88°T (reciprocal 275.88°T)

200 metres north of Bunratty Green Buoy, 52° 40.905' N, 008° 49.300' W
Bunratty Green Buoy, Fl G 3s.

       Next waypoint: 0.60 miles, course 120.33°T (reciprocal 300.33°T)

400 metres north of Grass Island light beacon, 52° 40.600' N, 008° 48.440' W
Grass Island light beacon, Fl. WG 2s.

       Next waypoint: 0.32 miles, course 154.32°T (reciprocal 334.32°T)

200 metres southwest of the Logheen Rock Light Beacon, 52° 40.310' N, 008° 48.210' W
Logheen Rock light beacon, Q R, uncovers at last quarter ebb.

       Next waypoint: 0.33 miles, course 126.86°T (reciprocal 306.86°T)

200 metres south of Battle Port Buoy, 52° 40.110' N, 008° 47.770' W
Battle Port Buoy, Fl R4s.

       Next waypoint: 0.39 miles, course 91.45°T (reciprocal 271.45°T)

100 metres south of Slate Port Buoy, 52° 40.100' N, 008° 47.130' W
Slate Port Buoy, Fl (2) R 6s.

       Next waypoint: 0.44 miles, course 74.00°T (reciprocal 254.00°T)

100 metres south of Graig Port Buoy, 52° 40.220' N, 008° 46.440' W
Graig Port Buoy, Fl R 2s.

       Next waypoint: 0.53 miles, course 50.90°T (reciprocal 230.90°T)

100 metres north of Scarlets Starboard Buoy, Crawford leading lights aligned 061°, 52° 40.555' N, 008° 45.760' W
The Scarlets is an extensive spit of rocks with a round tower on the southwest side, resembling that on the Beeves. It projects from the southern mud bank to nearly ¾ of the distance across the river channel to the mud banks of the northern shore thus obstructing the southern half of the navigable channel. The Scarlets Starboard Buoy, Fl(2) G 6s, is on the bank's northwest end and Crawford leading lights, aligned 061° T, passes to the north.

       Next waypoint: 0.27 miles, course 62.14°T (reciprocal 242.14°T)

End of 061° Crawford alignment, 52° 40.680' N, 008° 45.370' W
End of 061° Crawford alignment where the course tends eastward.

       Next waypoint: 0.17 miles, course 79.98°T (reciprocal 259.98°T)

100 metres north of the Ball of the Whelps beacon, 52° 40.710' N, 008° 45.090' W
Ball of the Whelps beacon, Fl G 3s.

       Next waypoint: 0.26 miles, course 98.94°T (reciprocal 278.94°T)

100 metres north of the Newtown Starboard Buoy, 52° 40.670' N, 008° 44.670' W
Newtown Port Buoy, Fl G 5s.

       Next waypoint: 0.57 miles, course 114.72°T (reciprocal 294.72°T)

100 metres south of the Arbane Rock Port Buoy, 52° 40.430' N, 008° 43.810' W
Arbane Rock Port Buoy, Fl, (2) R 6s.

       Next waypoint: 0.54 miles, course 97.41°T (reciprocal 277.41°T)

50 metres south of the Horril's Port Buoy, 52° 40.360' N, 008° 42.925' W
Horril's Port Buoy, Fl R 4s, on the 106½°T alignment of Meelick Rocks leading lights.

       Next waypoint: 0.20 miles, course 107.49°T (reciprocal 287.49°T)

End of 106½° Meelick Rocks alignment, 52° 40.300' N, 008° 42.610' W
End of 106½° Meelick Rocks alignment where the course turns southward.

       Next waypoint: 0.14 miles, course 134.39°T (reciprocal 314.39°T)

50 metres east of Muckinish Starboard Buoy, 52° 40.205' N, 008° 42.450' W
Muckinish Starboard Buoy, Fl(2) G 6s.

       Next waypoint: 0.20 miles, course 149.48°T (reciprocal 329.48°T)

50 metres east of Cooper Starboard Buoy, 52° 40.030' N, 008° 42.280' W
Cooper Starboard Buoy, Fl G 5s.

       Next waypoint: 0.45 miles, course 182.46°T (reciprocal 2.46°T)

50 metres west of Coonagh Port Buoy, 52° 39.578' N, 008° 42.312' W
Coonagh Port Buoy, Fl R 2s.

       Next waypoint: 0.22 miles, course 157.01°T (reciprocal 337.01°T)

100 metres east of the Cock Rock Starboard Buoy, 52° 39.375' N, 008° 42.170' W
Cock Rock Starboard Buoy, Fl G 4s.

       Next waypoint: 0.13 miles, course 139.72°T (reciprocal 319.72°T)

100 metres south of Tervoe Port Buoy, 52° 39.274' N, 008° 42.029' W
Tervoe Port Buoy, Fl R 4s.

       Next waypoint: 0.18 miles, course 117.67°T (reciprocal 297.67°T)

Tervoe Pool, 52° 39.190' N, 008° 41.765' W
Unmarked, this has the deepest water in the area with slightly more than 3 metres. The course tends eastward here.

       Next waypoint: 0.18 miles, course 87.23°T (reciprocal 267.23°T)

50 metres south of the Courtbrack Port Buoy, 52° 39.199' N, 008° 41.461' W
Courtbrack Port Buoy, Fl (2) R 6s

       Next waypoint: 0.40 miles, course 59.51°T (reciprocal 239.51°T)

100 metres north of Walkway , 52° 39.403' N, 008° 40.890' W
Walkway head exhibits a light, 2F G (vert).

       Next waypoint: 0.14 miles, course 65.89°T (reciprocal 245.89°T)

50 metres north of Ballinacurra Starboard Buoy, 52° 39.460' N, 008° 40.680' W
Ballinacurra Starboard Buoy, Fl G 3s.

       Next waypoint: 0.35 miles, course 96.62°T (reciprocal 276.62°T)

Mid channel, 52° 39.420' N, 008° 40.115' W
Mid channel waypoint.

       Next waypoint: 0.27 miles, course 91.70°T (reciprocal 271.70°T)

50 metres south of the Corcanree Port Buoy, 52° 39.412' N, 008° 39.671' W
Corcanree Port Buoy, Fl R 4s.

       Next waypoint: 0.60 miles, course 73.32°T (reciprocal 253.32°T)

The Pool, 52° 39.584' N, 008° 38.725' W
Immediately outside the entrance to Limerick Dock.

The RIVER SHANNON ESTUARY


The first land seen in clear weather when approaching the Shannon River, from the west, will be the high peaked mountain of Brandon. Then on closer approaches Loop Head will appear in view. From a position midway between Kerry Head on the south, and Loop Head on the north, a northeast course will carry a vessel up the funnel-shaped entrance.

Loop Head Lighthouse
Photo: Tourism Ireland



Between the heads, it is nearly eight miles wide, with a depth of 35 to 50 metres. The true entrance is eleven miles within these heads, between Kilcredaun Head and Kilconly Point. Here it abruptly contracts to less than two miles wide and this may be taken as the river’s average width as far as Tarbert. At night two lights mark the north side of the entrance to the Shannon. The first, a fixed white light on outer head Loop Head, the second on the inner Kilcredaun Head, eight miles to the east.


The south shore estuary from the round bluff of Kerry Head to Cashen River, a distance of 10 miles to the east, has a low cliffy nature that is free from danger, except in one place. This is about 4 miles to the east of the head at the Cashen River that is a small tidal inlet with a dry bar at its entrance. It is foul for nearly one-third of a mile off here. Depths varying from 2.9 to 8 metres with an inshore sandbar called Carrigfeala that dries. Kilconly Point kept open of Leek Point clears the entire area in about 15 metres of water.


The sand hills of Ballybunnion, stretching to the north towards Ballybunnion Castle, and fronted by a flat sandy foreshore, are conspicuous from the sea. Beyond the castle, the shore again becomes rocky and irregular as far as Kilconly Point, between which and Kilcredaun Head, on the opposite shore of the Shannon entrance, is not more than 1.75 miles wide. Immediately inside the entrance, Beal Point is marked by several conspicuous sand hills.


The north shore of the estuary terminates in an abrupt 55 metres high precipice of Loop Head. 500 metres within the extremity stands the conspicuous Loop Head Lighthouse, a white 23-metre high tower at an elevation of 84 metres. The sea breaks on the 59 meters high Dermot and Grania's Rock that reside close north of the head and it is best to keep at least 400 metres off this headland.

Loop Head - lighthouse Fl (4) 20s 84m 23M position: 52°33.672'N, 009°55.938'W


From this to the east to Kilbaha Bay the shore is moderately bold-to. Kilbaha Bay affords partial shelter to leisure craft awaiting a tide. The village of the same name stands on the hill immediately above.


To the east of this, the shore continues quite clear of danger to Rinevella Bay abreast of which lies Kilstiffin Bank about three-quarters of a mile south by southwest of Rinevella Bay and a mile west by south from Kilcredaun lighthouse. The bank has from 8.4 to 7 metres of water over it but it breaks dangerously with a strong westerly wind over the ebb tide.


The 113 metre high and steep seaward sided Rehy Hill is a conspicuous feature of this shore. Vessels may freely pass along this shoreline half a mile off and to the north of the Kilstiffin Bank.


Vessels approaching the river should give Loop and Kerry Heads a wide berth and pick up the marks in the estuary that lead to the inner entrance. These commence with the Ballybunion North Cardinal that marks the mouth of the River Shannon.
Please note

Strong winds south, through west, to northwest, can cause bad races at the River Shannon entrance during the ebb tide. The ebb tide sweeps out in a south-westerly direction. Vessels forced to endure the Shannon ebb tide, or foul conditions will find the best point of entry along the north shore to the east of Loop Head. This area is free of off-lying dangers, affords some swell protection and avoids the strongest run of the tide.



Ballybunion - North Cardinal Lt Buoy VQ Fl. 6m position: 52° 32.528’N, 009° 46.944’W


The main channel approach from Ballybunion North Cardinal will take a vessel to Kilstiffin Red Can Buoy marking the Kilstiffin Bank.

Kilstiffin Red Can Lt Buoy - Fl R 3s - position: 52° 33.801’N, 009° 43.843’W






The RIVER SHANNON ENTRANCE


From the Kilstiffin Red Can Buoy the inner Shannon entrance is approached between Kilcredaun Head, with its lighthouse, to the north and Kilconly Point, on the south, where the entrance narrows to approximately 1.75 miles wide. Access is straight forward as it is very well marked and there are no off-lying dangers.

The bluff rocky 36 to 42 met
res high headland of Kilcredaun Head and with Kilconly Point on the Kerry shoreline forms the inner points of the entrance to the river. A conspicuous white tower lighthouse makes Kilcredaun Head readily identifiable.

Kilcredaun - lighthouse Fl 6s 41m 15M - position: 52° 34.809’N, 009° 42.613’W


Half a mile to the east of Kilcredaun Head is the shelving rocky point called Kilcredaun Point upon which an old battery is mounted. The north coast is clear of dangers apart from the inshore Ladder Rock that resides directly under Kilcredaun Head Lighthouse and the wreck of the Okeanos that shows to 1.2 metres at LW under Kilcredaun Point battery.


Within the inner entrance, the navigable channel is contracted by the nearly mile wide bar Tail of Beal off the south shore that has from 7 to 4.7 metres of cover. Tail of Beal’s extreme western point resides nearly in the middle of the entrance, or rather less than a mile south southeast from Kilcredaun Point, and about the same distance north of Kilconly Point. The main channel between Kilcredaun Point and the Tail of Beal Bar is nearly a mile wide, with depths of 12 to 29 metres. The deepest water is to be found near the Beal Bar that is marked by the Tail of Beal West Cardinal light buoy.

Tail of Beal - West Card Lt Buoy Q (9) 15s position: 52 34.393’N, 009 40.746’W


This deep water channel’s northern side is marked by the Kilcredaun port marker opposite the Tail of Beal marker.

Kilcredaun - Port Lt Buoy Fl (2+1) R 10s position: 52° 34.440’N, 009° 41.196’W


By night the leading lights on Corlis Point are set up to support the deepest water path. Lights in line 046°(T) from a position southeast of Kilcredaun Head leads through the river entrance, passing close north of the Tail of Beal, Beal Spit and Beal Bar markers.

Corlis Point Front - concrete hut Oc 5s (24hr) position: 52°37.100'N, 009°36.363'W

Corlis Point Rear – at Querrin Quay Oc 5s (24hr) position: 52°37.693'N, 009°35.336'W


There are no offshore obstacles off the north shore. Hence it is just as safe to follow the northern shoreline keeping a few hundred metres off. Do note the aforementioned Ladder Rock directly under Kilcredaun Head Lighthouse and the wreck of the Okeanos off Kilcredaun Point.
Please note

The tide, particularly the ebb, sweeps out of Carrigaholt Bay round the point with great velocity. In the fairway, at springs, the flood tide runs up to 3 knots, and the ebb 3.5 to 4 knots. Vessels working their way out of the Shannon in any westerly winds should also aim for slack water. The ebb tide in colliding with westerly conditions creates a short steep sea that is difficult to negotiate even when motor-sailing. If the exit has been passed in these conditions it is then best to avoid the outer seas by making along the north shore towards Loop Head.




The RIVER SHANNON ENTRANCE To TARBERT


Upon entering the Shannon the white Beal sand-hills will be seen on the southern shore. They rise to a height of 15 to 18 metres and their summits are broken into irregular mounds covered with grasses. A flat bank of sand and stones, that cause the Beal Bar, extends from here for more than half a mile off and uncovers at low tides. Beyond this the shallows extend 300 metres further, making the whole distance from the shore to the 4.9-metre edge of the bank ¾ of a mile. Beal Spit and Beal Bar’s north edge are steep-to and marked by cardinal buoys with the Carrigaholt marker marking the opposite side of the channel to Beal Spit.

Beal Spit - West Cardinal Fl (2) G 6s position: 52°34.820'N, 009°39.972'W

Carrigaholt – Port Lt Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 52° 34.921’N, 009° 40.504’W

Beal Bar - north cardinal Q position: 52°35.181'N, 009°39.222'W


Half a mile to the east of the Beal Bar marker a bank uncovers. Midway between the drying bank and the shore, the steep-to Dillisk Reef runs along Beal Bar’s north edge for nearly a mile to the west.

Carrigaholt Castle
Photo: Tourism Ireland
On the northern shore to the east of Kilcredaun Point shoreline falls back to form Carrigaholt Bay Click to view haven. The small fishing village of Carrigaholt lies on its western side at the mouth of the Moyarta river where an old pier now lies in ruin. A new pier has been constructed close south and at the foot of a conspicuous castle that has stood guard over the mouth of the Shannon. Lying to the north of Kilcredaun Point and protected by it, Carrigaholt Bay offers a secure anchorage with all westerly component winds. But with the wind from east-northeast to south, there is an uneasy short sea for leisure craft, and in southwest gales a long rolling swell sets in around Kilcredaun Point.


From Carrigaholt Bay the shore takes an east by south direction for 7.5 miles to Kilrush, and has the deep water Doonaha Shoal, with 5 to 10 metres water, at the distance of three-quarters of a mile off shore. The Doonaha marker, on the south side of the channel and north of the Beal Bar marks this area.

Doonaha – port light buoy Q (3) R 5s position; 52°35.460'N, 009°38.493'W


Situated 4.5 miles from Carrigaholt and between the positions of the entrances’ leading lights at Corlish Point is Querrin Creek. Situated just inside the entrance there is a small quay that is made known by a handball alley above. The quay dries to 1 metre on a mud bottom and likewise the entire surrounding creek.


From Corlish Point as far east as Kilrush, the north shore is fronted by an extensive foreshore, composed of mud, sand, and large stones, across which a channel with 0.2 of a metre of water only, that leads to a large tidal estuary called Poulnasherry Bay.


¾ of a mile long, and about half a mile wide Scattery Island has an elevation of 26 metres and lies directly ahead of a vessel running past Beal Bar. The island is noted for the remarkable ruins on its slopes. Conspicuous among these is one of the finest pillar or round towers in Ireland. Rising to a height of 26 metres above the ground it retains a vertical position and conical cap. Situated on the north part of the island the tower forms a useful sea mark. The island also has the ecclesiastical ruins of Abbey Church, and on the south extreme of the island, called Rineanna Point, there is a battery and white tower lighthouse.

Scattery Island (Rineanna Pt.) - lighthouse Fl (2) 8s 15m 10M position: 52°36.347'N, 009°31.067'W


Scattery Island Lighthouse at dusk
Photo: Tourism Ireland


Scattery Island’s western shore is composed of low cliffs based on a stony foreshore that surrounds the island and runs off into extensive flats. Hog Island lies about midway between Scattery Island and the mainland to the northeast again encircled by shoals.


To the south of Scattery Island, southwest of Rineanna Point, is the dangerous Rineanna Shoal that has overfalls in westerly winds on the ebb. It is marked on its southern side by a port marker.
Please note

Expect heavy overfalls to occur on the ebb tide with any developed westerly conditions across the entire area between the Rineanna and Carrig Shoal, situated on the southern shore. The worst of these are in the area of the Rineanna Buoy particularly the windward edge of Rineanna Shoal. Vessels beating downriver can avoid the worst of this by taking the Rineanna Pass located between the buoy and Scattery Island.



Rineanna – port buoy Q R position: 52°35.593'N, 009°31.241'W


Situated to the east of the southern end of Scattery Island, and sheltered by it from the prevailing westerly winds, is Scattery Roads. It affords excellent anchorage with good holding ground on a bottom of mud coated with a thin covering of sand. To avoid the strong currents leisure vessels should anchor between Scattery and Hog Island, to the east of the tower and south of the rocky bank Carrig Donaun. The anchorage is sheltered from the flood tide, and the strength of the ebb is much diminished.


The market town and marina of Kilrush Click to view haven stands at the head of a small lock and basin on the north shore of the Shannon, about 1.5 miles northeast of Scattery Island. The harbour consists of a marina plus a number of small quays that dry.


In the channel to the northeast of Hog Island is Cappagh Pier. This is Kilrush’s deep water pier that is used by the Shannon pilots. The pierhead supports depths of 2 metres LWS but is constantly used by the pilot boats. Therefore no berth should take place here nor should a vessel raft up to a pilot boat. The middle and inner berths dry and may be used by yachts in suitable conditions.


Those approaching Kilrush from the entrance should note Baurnahard Spit to the northwest of Scattery Island and Carrigillaun to the northeast. Downriver approaches, between Hog Island and the mainland, should tend towards the port side in the narrow passage east of Hog Island to avoid the unmarked Wolf Rock. Wolf Rock resides 200 metres off the mainland and has 1 metre of cover.




There also is a passage, carrying a least depth of 2 metres, between Scattery and Hog Island. This is complicated by a drying rocky bank of Carrig Donaun near the middle of the fairway. The outer approach channel to the marina is buoyed and dredged to a depth of 2.5 metres and marked by the Kilrush Entrance marker, a red white spherical buoy.

Kilrush – entrance marker L Fl 10 s position: 52° 37.617' N, 009° 30.165' W


The south side of the river is marked by the Letter Point Light buoy, marking a depth 17.7 metres almost a mile to the northeast of Beal Point. Then south of Asdee Light buoy marking a depth of 17.4 metres a mile and a half east of Beal Point.

Letter Point - port buoy Fl R 7s position: 52°35.440'N, 009°35.884'W

Asdee - port buoy Fl R 3s position: 52°35.093'N, 009°34.545'W


Abreast of Scattery Island, on the south side of the river is Carrig Island. North of the island the Carrig Shoal runs off for more than half a mile reducing the river to little more than half a mile wide here. The extensive bank of sand, gravel, and stones, has from 4 to 5.2 metres of water on its outer edge and is steep-to. The northern edge of the Carrig Shoal is marked by the North Carrig Light buoy, off its northeast corner that corresponds with Rineanna port buoy on the north side of the channel.

North Carraig - Q position: 52°35.581’N, 009° 29.716W


Carrig Island may be identified by an old battery situated on Conan Point, the northwest extremity of the island. It is similar to that on Kilcredaun Point, Doonaha and Rineanna Point. Ballylongford Bay resides to the east of Carrig Island and, although shallow, makes for a good anchoring location for leisure craft. At the head of the bay is Ballylongford Creek that leads up to Saleen Quay. The channel has about a metre of water at LWS and is reportedly marked by beacons.


The high projecting Ardmore Point on the south shore, and the bold bluff Money Point on the north bank of the river, are steep-to and may be approached to a 200 metres distance. The bights of Ballymacrinan Bay, on the north, and Glencloosagh Bay on the south, however, shelve gradually. Vessels may stop for a tide to the east of Ardmore Point, in Glencloosagh Bay, in 7 to 2 metres with a muddy bottom, at the distance of one-third of a mile from the shore. This is a useful anchorage if forced to leave Tarbert to escape a southeast wind. Likewise to escape northerly conditions and anchorage on the north shore, the east of Moyne Point, in Moyne Bay in a similar depth can be availed of.


The main feature for this area is the Money Point Terminal located about 3 miles east of Scattery Island on the north shore of the river. It is made obvious by two 225 metres chimneys of Money Point Power station. The terminal supplies the coal-fired power station situated nearby and consists of a jetty with a berthing length of 380 metres marked by 2 F.R (vert) lights on either end.
Please note

A rocky ridge, called The Bridge, with 16 to 19 metres of water over it, and with from 27 to 35 metres on each side, runs across the river, immediately south of the power station and towards Ardmore Point. In bad weather, especially with a spring ebb, this causes a heavy breaking sea.




Clonderalaw Bay, a wide and shallow inlet, running up to the east, is almost all dry at low water. Within the line joining its outer points, there is not more than 5 metres of water. A mile within the long most drying inlet of Clonderalaw Bay and on the northwest side is the drying Knock Pier. The harbour dries out for more than half a mile beyond the pierhead but offers almost two metres at high water.




A mile and a half to the southeast of Money Point, standing on a salient point of the south shore, is Tarbert Island. Formed by a sudden bend of the river to the south the island is almost entirely occupied by a power station and associated buildings. It is made obvious from some distance by two, 129 and 159 metres high, chimneys that can be seen from the entrance to the Shannon. Groups of conspicuous oil tanks stand near the west end of the island and on the mainland about 400 metres to the southwest. The island is joined to the southern shore by a causeway. At the west end of the island, a jetty extends 275 metres to the northwest to the tanker terminal and this is a prohibited area for leisure craft.


Tarbert Island at dusk
Photo: Tourism Ireland


A white circular lighthouse, 18 metres high, stands on the outer end of rocks projecting from the north end of Tarbert Island. It exhibits a sectored light White 069°- Red 277°- White 287°-339° that can be distinctly seen from off Kilcredaun Point, 12 miles away.

Tarbert - Q WR 4s 18m W14M, R10M position: 52° 35.500’N, 009° 21.790’W


The northern shore of the island is moderately bold-to, but to the east of the lighthouse, a rocky ledge extends 500 metres off shore. Just over half a mile to the southeast of the lighthouse is Cook’s Point, Tarbert Island easternmost point.
Please note

Off the lighthouse and along the shore to Cook’s Point, the spring ebb runs up to 7 knots and forms a violent race. This extends some distance offshore and to the north of the lighthouse. It causes heavy overfalls in strong westerly winds.




Two hundred metres to the west of the Cook’s Point, at the southeast end of the island and the north bank of the river, is a pier where a ferry service runs across the river to Killimer on the north shore. Yachts may berth at this outer part but not inshore of the elbow so as not to impede car ferry operations. However, this area of the pier is subject to strong tides, particularly on the ebb, and is best avoided. Vessels are better to anchor off 100 metres to the south of the pier.

On the opposite side of the river to the northeast of Tarbert Island, is Kilkerin Point with its military fortress. Located on the south point of Clonderalaw Bay it had a corresponding fortress on Tarbert that, in the past, combined to militarily completely command the mile wide passage between.


The RIVER SHANNON
TARBERT to FOYNES


Cook’s Point forms the north point of an extensive bight to the southeast of the island. It is filled with mud and has the village of Tarbert at its head. From Cook’s Point, the edge of the mud flat sweeps round to Ballydonoghoe Point a mile to the southeast. Half a mile to the south of Cook’s Point it runs off shallow with 5 metres of water only 200 metres out.


This area, lying to the south-east of Tarbert Island, is called Tarbert Roads, and is one of the best anchorages in the Shannon. It is well sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds and the holding ground is very good. However the tides are rapid here and it is necessary to anchor as close to the edge of the mud bank, as is safely possible, in order to avoid their strength. Lie close up towards the island, keeping the lighthouse just over Cook’s Point.
Please note

In the stream abreast of the anchorage the flood at springs runs at 3 knots, and the ebb 3.8 knots. There is an eddy in the roads at half flood.






The pretty little village of Glin, with Glin Castle standing to the west, lies about 3.2 miles east southeast of Tarbert village. A good stone pier, with an iron extension reported to be in a state of disrepair, extends from the shore north of Glin village. A drying pontoon is also reportedly nearby. To the northeast of the pier, there is good anchorage in 4 metres of water with good holding ground.


About a mile and a half east northeast of Glin is Long Rock. It is composed of boulders that uncover at half-tide and projects about 600 metres into the river from the high water mark. The Carraig Fada starboard hand buoy marks the rock.

Carraig Fada - starboard buoy Fl.G.5s position: 52° 35.233’N, 009° 15.990’W


About 1.25 miles east of Long Rock, close east of Garraunbaun Point, is Kiltecry Point. There is a pier here that dries at low water but affords a convenient landing for anchored boats. From Kiltecry Point to Coalhill Point, 1.25 miles to the east, the shore is covered by a mud flat, extending 600 metres off.


Lying on the outer edge of this mud flat, about 600 metres from the high water line, are the Carrigeen Rocks. This is composed of drying boulders that uncovered at low water springs. To the east of this, as far as the entrance of Foynes Harbour, a distance of 3 miles, the south shore is clear of danger.


On the north shore, nearly opposite Tarbert Road, there is Boland’s Rock, or Bowline Rock. It resides 400 metres off the north shoreline and uncovers on last quarter ebb to dry to a height of 1.2 metres. It is marked by a port marker 500 metres south of the rock.

Boland’s – port buoy Fl.R.3s position: 52° 34.940’N, 009° 19.590’W


The rock itself is also marked by a port beacon on the southeast end of the shoal. Foul ground extends a quarter of a mile to the northwest of the beacon. There is a channel between Boland's Rock and the shore northeast with 2.6 to 5 metres of water.
Please note

It is not advisable to pass northeast of the rock during the in going tidal stream unless sure of ample wind or under power as this stream sets south southeast on to it.




The Boland’s Rock along with the Five Fathom Knoll, on the southwest side by the bank off Tarbert Island, restricts the width of the fairway. The channel is indicated by leading lights at Ballyhoolahan Point and Boland port and Five Fathom Knoll starboard light buoys. The north shore of the river is bold-to from Boland’s Rock as far to the east as Labasheeda Bay, a distance of 3 miles.


Situated on the north shore, opposite Garraunbaun Point, Labasheeda Bay is entirely covered by a mudflat that almost dries. Commencing at Redgap Point, the west extreme of the bay, its outer edge runs for about two miles to eastward, and is steep-to, particularly near the middle of the bay, where it shoals from 8.5 metres to 2 in a distance of 20 metres. The village of Labasheeda lies along the shore at the head of the bay. The best anchorage is to be found to the northeast of Redgap Point as close in as a vessels draft can accommodate to clear the tidal run. The bottom is clean, of a tenacious mud, and is excellent holding ground.


On the eastern side of Labasheeda Bay, about 500 yards from the shore, is Dillisk Rock that uncovers at low water. The line of bearing 285°(T) of Labasheeda Chapel, open twice its width open of Labasheeda Point, leads to the southwest of this danger.


A mile and a half to the east and on the north shore Rinealon Point is bold-to. About ¾ of a mile before Rinealon Point, on its west side, there is an anchorage off Aillroe Hill. The hill, with a visible encircling road, is conspicuous on the shoreline.


Likewise the shore to the east of the point for rather more than half a mile, where there is some foul ground lying under a Danish Fort, and extending 300 metres off shore. In front of Cahiracon House, 1.7 miles to the northeast of Rinealon Point, the shore is covered by a mud bank, dry at low water, and may be approached to 5 to 10 metres of water 200 metres off.


The small flat island of Inishmurray lies about a mile to the east of Cahiracon House. Between the island and the mainland there is a 100 metres wide channel. It has a depth of from 2.7 to 7.6 metres through the fairway and a quay has been built on a ledge of rocks opposite the island. However spring tides sweep the channel here with great velocity and the rocky bottom of the ledge is not supportive of drying.

The west side of the island is rocky and moderately bold. To the southwest of Inishmurray there is a detached rock very much in the way of vessels going into the pier. It lies just over 200 metres southwest of Inishmurray and its covering weeds shows at low water. Despite this, the southwest approach is the best for Inishmurray as the rock is bold-to. Keep close to the opposite point of the mainland and keeping the pierhead on a bearing 10°(T) leads clear to the west of this rock that is left to starboard. The northeast entrance is more difficult and only possible at high water as the flats between the island and Colonel Rock, situated south of Inishcorker, have less than half a metre at low water springs.


To the northwest of Inishcorker is the drying quay close to the village of Killadysert that resides at the head of a creek. There is also a slip on the mainland point directly north of the western extremity of Inishcorker. It may be entered from either side of the island. The east side of the Island, approached off the west side of the Fergus River and to the north of the Colonel's Point, is the best approach.




Off the southern shore, nine miles to the east of Tarbert Roads, is Foynes Island. The sizable island measures ¾ of a mile each way and rises towards its centre to the height of 54 metres.


Between Foynes Island and the mainland is Foynes Harbour Click to view haven. The well sheltered and capable harbour hosts a commercial seaport but also offers leisure craft a club pontoon, moorings and a bottom of stiff mud to anchor out of the way of commercial traffic. Foynes Island Oil Terminal is located at the northwest side of Foynes Island. The terminal consists of a jetty extending 200 metres northwest from the island with a berth at the head where leisure craft are not permitted.


There are two entrances to the inner harbour; from the west, having a least depth over the bar of 8.1 metres, and from east having a depth of 2.1 metres. The west entrance is the preferred and is marked by lit markers along both shores plus a directional sector light on 107.9°. The east channel is also marked by two buoys that are not lit at night.


The river front or north shore of Foynes Island is bold-to, but the whole space between it and Aughinish Point, two miles to the east, is covered by a bank. It has gradually increasing depths that could provide a good anchorage for vessels waiting a tide to go up to Limerick. This area has good holding ground, composed of stiff muddy sand, and is out of the strength of the tide that sets along the north shore of the river. This area, along with Labasheeda Bay and Tarbert Roads, are convenient drop-in tide-wait anchorages in this part of the Shannon.


The RIVER SHANNON
FOYNES to LIMERICK


Below Foynes the Shannon was largely uncomplicated with very few dangers that were not immediately offshore. However, between Foynes and Limerick, the nature of the river now changes. There are many drying or submerged rocks and mud flats offshore around islands and often mid-channel. From Foynes upriver the buoyed channel should be closely followed.


To the east of Foynes, the river front is composed of a number of islands and rocks, between which on the north shore there are narrow and intricate channels leading to the River Fergus. It is covered by extensive shallows stretching round towards the Beeves Rocks, lying 3.5 miles to the northeast by east. Finally, the industrial Aughinish Marine Terminal will be seen off the south shore about 1.5 miles northeast of Foynes at the northern extremity of Aughinish Island.


The terminal serves an alumina extraction plant which is situated on Aughinish Island. Two conspicuous chimneys, 83 and 124 metres high, stand at the alumina plant with three prominent large bauxite storage buildings nearby. The terminal consists of an L-shaped jetty extending 1,000 metres north of the island, with an outer and inner berth where leisure craft are not permitted.
Please note

Whilst sailing in light winds vessels should stand well clear of the quarter of a mile long viaduct that stretches out to the Alcan Jetty. In these conditions, it is very easy to get in difficulty be being carried by tidal runs into the viaduct piles.




East of Aughinish Point jetty is Crinaan Rock that uncovers at half-tide and forms the north extreme of a ridge of rocks, on which are the small islets Big and Little Trummera. Between these and the Aughinish shore lies Poularone Creek, with 2 to 5 metres of water and 300 metres wide, over a sand bar. To the east of the Crinaan Rocks, the south shore is composed of extensive mud flats.


A very dangerous bank, Herring Rocks, with its south end uncovered at half-ebb and drying to 2.7 metres, lies about 0.8 of a mile east of the terminal jetty and two-thirds of a mile west by southwest from Beeves Rocks. A covered shoal, with 0.9 metres of water over it, extends from Herring Rocks about 400 metres to the northwest and the south side of the main river fairway. Both rock and shoal are marked by the Herring starboard buoy immediately to the north.
Please note

This rock is especially dangerous to vessels beating down the river, as the ebb tide sets directly upon it from Beeves Rocks, at the rate of 4 knots an hour on springs.



Herring - starboard buoy Fl.G.3s position: 52° 38.677’N, 009° 02.112’W





Three and a half miles from the northern point of Foynes Island, and a little more than 1.5 miles east northeast of Aughinish Island, is Beeves Light. Located on the north side of the main channel it is a dark stone tower that resembles a Martello Tower. It will be seen standing near the southern edge of the Beeves Rocks, which lie nearly in the middle of the river. From it there is exhibited at an elevation of 12 metres: 064.5° - White - 091°- Red - 238° - White - 265° - White (unintens) -064.5°.

Beeves Rock – lighthouse Fl WR 5s 12m W12M R9M position: 52° 38.988’N, 009° 01.310’W


The deep water and general course of the river is to the south of the rock, and being very steep-to on this side, it may be safely rounded 200 metres south of the tower.
Please note

A dangerous ledge does extend 180 metres to the southeast of Beeves lighthouse that is locally known as Sheehan. It dries 1 to 2 metres at three quarters ebb.




Beeves Rock’s outer end of foul ground extends northwest to Cork Rock and to north-northeast to the Wide Rock. Wide Rock covers at high water neaps and Cork Rock at springs. Both are connected with Beeves by foul ground.


With a channel 60 metres in width at low water, the Deel River, is entered three-quarters of a mile south of Beeves Lighthouse over a bar with 0.6 metres of water, deepening inside to 1.2 within at LWS. There are markers at the entrance and the channel is well marked by buoys with flags up to Masseys Quay Click to view haven where there is a pontoon. The town of Askeaton is less than a mile to the south.


The Fergus River, locally known as the Clare River, is entered about 1.5 miles northeast of Beeves Rock and is navigable only by leisure craft. The Shannon Airport control tower stands conspicuous on the north bank of the river about 2.5 miles east of the entrance to the Fergus River. From the entrance, it takes a north by northeast direction between vast banks of mud. The islands on the west side of the entrance, based on extensive rocky foreshores, are fronted by numerous dangers, some of which uncover between half tide and low water, and others never show.


The low flat eastern shore of the river is covered by extensive banks of mud and stones, terminated at the low water line by a large mass of rock called Moylaun Rock. Outside of this, there are other rocks that uncover at low water springs, called Moylaun's Children. The entrance to the River Fergus lies between these on the east, and the Horse Rock, uncovered at half-tide on the west, and is a quarter of a mile wide, with a depth of 12 metres in mid channel.


The mud banks bounding the channel are fringed with outlying rocks for a mile within the entrance. At about 2 miles within the entrance, the channel is obstructed by the Roadway Rock, drying to 0.6 metres, lying between Coney and Feenish Islands, and confining the navigable channel to a narrow passage near Feenish Island. The river beyond Coney Island continues its course between the muddy foreshores, decreasing gradually in width, and varying in depth from 2.5 to 1 metre, up to the town of Clare, nearly seven miles away. At Clare the bed of the river is dry at low water, but there is a quay alongside the town.


Proceeding up the Shannon fairway, about 2.7 miles east northeast of Beeves Rock Light, is the conspicuous ruin of Beagh Castle that will be seen standing on a point on the south side of the river.


The L shaped Shannon Airport Oil Jetty is situated on the north shore of the river about 2.7 miles east of the entrance to the Fergus River. It serves as the jet fuel terminal for Shannon Airport situated a mile north. This then leads into the Middle Ground.




Occupying a position near the middle of the River Shannon the aptly named Middle Ground is an extensive long, narrow, drying shoal. Stretching for a distance four and a half miles, to the south of Shannon Airport, it commences abreast of Dernish Island Aviation Fuel Jetty and runs to Bird Rock, at its eastern extreme, with an average width of 360 metres. It is composed of sand and mud, intersected by a series of rocky ledges. The westernmost of these, called Carrigkeal, or narrow rock, uncovers at last quarter ebb, and is directly south of the fuel jetty. To the east of Carrigkeal, the Middle Ground uncovers throughout its whole extent.


The other rocks that intersect it are the Horse Rock, that dries to 4 metres, just over half a mile to the east of Carrigkeal, and uncovered on first quarter ebb. A disused light tower stands at the southern edge of Horse Rock. Bridge Rock at a similar distance further to the east, is covered at high water. Little Limerick at ⅓ of a mile from the latter, uncovers at half-tide and dries to 2.7 metres. The 5 metres high Sod Island, standing on a rocky ledge, the south extreme of which is marked disused light tower, lies one mile to the east of Little Limerick. Bird Rock, the last patch, is a large mass of limestone, uncovered at last quarter ebb and dries to 2.1 metres. It lies 650 metres east southeast of Sod Island and has around it 100 metres of rocks that show at low water. A light beacon stands close off the north end of Bird Rock.


Leisure vessels may proceed upriver on either side of The Middle Ground which divides the river into the North and South channels.


Between the Middle Ground and the extensive drying coastal mud bank that covers the north shore is the North Channel. The channel has a least depth of 2.7 miles in the fairway, is used by shipping and is well marked by lights and buoys. The L shaped Shannon Airport Oil Jetty is at the entrance to the north channel with a small harbour immediately west that dries. This is part of the Shannon Airport duty-free area and landing here is strictly prohibited. This is also the narrowest point of the channel with only 200 metres between the end of the Airport Oil Jetty and a northern out-lying rock from Carrigkeal Rock. On the outer edge of this bank are some rocky patches and several small islands, serving to mark the course of the channel, which runs about 200 metres to the south of them. The other narrow part, between Bird Rock’s north beacon and the shore, is 275 metres wide and has some of the deepest water. Lighted beacons, in-line 093°(T), lead through the eastern part of North Channel. The front beacon stands about half a mile east northeast of Sod Island on Tradree Rock. The rear beacon stands on Quay Island (Cain’s Island) in position.

North Channel Front - leading light Fl. R. 2s 6m 5M position: 52° 40.979’N, 008° 49.823’W

North Channel Rear - leading light ISO. 6s 14m 5M position: 52° 40.952’N, 008° 48.760’W


Lying between the Middle Ground and the mud flats that cover the south shore the South Channel is also marked by light buoys. It is obstructed in its western entrance by The Flats, a long narrow shoal with depths of 1.5 to 1.8 metres. It has a least depth of 1.8 metres of water and is encumbered with two rocky ledges called Waller Bank and Bridges Rocks.


Close east of this shoal and awash at its north end is the rocky patch called Waller Bank. It lies across the middle of the south channel, a little within its west end, and has 1.5 metres of water, 200 metres in length, and 100 metres wide. There is a 400 metres wide passage, with 2.4 metres of water to the south of it. But the best water and preferred channel passes to the north, between it and the Middle Ground, with depths of 1.8 to 2.1 metres in a stretch that is 300 metres wide. The alignment of 170°(T) of Pigott’s Island and Castletown Manor, 0.9 of a mile south, a large white house on the southern side of the river, passes east of Waller Bank.


Consisting of several detached rocks, the drying ledge Bridge Rock uncovers on last quarter ebb. It resides on the south side of the South Channel, to the north-west of Ringmoylan Point, and extends nearly half way across from the quay to Bridge Rock on the Middle ground. Hall Rock, awash and marked by Halls Rock starboard buoy marks the northern extent of this group.


About a mile above Sod Island is Quay Island, otherwise known as Cain’s Island, it has the ruins of a pilot lookout tower near its south end. It lies close off the north shore at the mouth of the Bunratty River otherwise known as the Owengarney River.




On the south side, opposite Quay Island, the River Maigue flows into the Shannon. Its entrance is 135 metres wide and resides between the 1 metre high Grass Island and Maiden Rock. It has a bar with 1.5 metres of water but a short distance within it, abreast of the south end of Grass Island, there is a hole with 4.9 metres of water and a little further, 2.4 metres. From here it gradually decreases in depth to Court Bridge, a distance of four miles from the mouth, where at low water it is very narrow and nearly dry.


In the middle of the river half a mile above, to the east of Grass Island, is Battle Island. At high water, it dries to the mere green spot barely above water but at low water the bank on which it lies dries. Then it is seen to be encircled by a mass of rocks that extend 450 metres all round. Navigable channels pass on both sides of the islet, but the deeper and preferred channel is the southern.


Beyond this are mud banks running off to the northwest and southeast that terminated in the former direction by Logheen Rock, uncovered at last quarter ebb. Logheen Rock has a light beacon where the channel is only about 100 metres wide between the 2-metre depth contours. 600 metres southeast of the island Battle Island has a port Battle light buoy marking the channel to the southeast.


A ⅓ of a mile to the southeast of Battle Island are the Hogshead and the Slate Rocks that are marked by the red port Slate buoy. They uncover at low water springs and reside beyond the outer edge of the drying northern mud flats.


The south side of the channel, which is little more than 200 metres wide here, is bounded by the Spilling Rock marked by a beacon, with other rocky heads lying on the edge of the mud bank to the west of it. Lying nearly in mid channel, between the Slate and Spilling Rocks, is the Dead Woman’s Hand Rock, with 1.5 metres of water that should be passed on its southern side.


An extensive spit of rocks The Scarlets, with a round tower on the southwest side, resembling that on the Beeves, lies 1.5 miles to the east of Battle Island. It projects from the southern mud bank to nearly three-quarters of the distance across the river channel to the mud banks of the northern shore thus obstructing the southern half of the navigable channel. The northwest end of the bank is marked by the Scarlets starboard buoy channel marker and Crawford leading lights by night from the shore – see below.


To the northwest of the Scarlets The Whelps occupy a position in the middle of the river. It is a long bank of sand and mud with several drying rocks. It occupies the middle of the river for more than half a mile and lies in an east northeast direction. There are several rocks that uncover at half ebb along the bank.


The channel lies to the north of the Scarlets and Whelps. Its deepest water is along the edge of the northern mud bank, which is fringed by several dangerous rocks. The first of these extends into the channel from Craig Island, lying to the northwest of the Scarlets. Half a mile to the east of Craig Island is Shawn-a-Garra, only visible on spring ebbs. 200 metres further is Crawford, or Sluice Rock, a large mass of limestone, only covered on spring tides.


It hosts the front beacon of the transits and leading lights that lead to the north of the Scarlets and Whelps. This is a white 11 metres high metal pile structure that leads to the north of the Scarlets in line 061°(T), on its outer edge. Crawford No. 2 will be seen 490 metres to the rear of the front

Crawford – Front Fl R 3s 6m 5M position: 52° 40.700’N, 008° 45.227’W

Crawford No. 2 – Rear beacon Iso 6s 10m 5M position: 52° 40.828’N, 008° 44.834’W


Located 250 metres to the southwest of the Crawford marker on a rocky projection known as Ball of the Whelps is a light beacon. This marks the south side of the channel where a depth of 1.2 metres extends from the north side of The Whelps reducing it to a width of about 70 metres.
Please note

The narrow channel increases the velocity of the tide setting upon them, making these rocks on the outer bend very dangerous.




Further east is the rocky O’Brien’s Point and the dangers ahead Kippen, Ardbane, Cratloe, and Horrils Rocks. All lie on the north side of the channel between Flagstaff Rock and Meelick Rocks, about 1.4 miles east southeast. Assisting navigation is a marker immediately south of O’Brien’s Point on Flagstaff Rock, a rocky ledge extending about 65 metres into the channel. A light stands on Flagstaff Rock, an 8-metre high white wooden pile structure, that acts as the front marker, with the 670 metres distant Crawford No. 2 as the rear beacon, for a 302° T astern transit leading to the south of Ardbane Rock.

Flagstaff Rock - Fl R 7s 7m 5M position: 52° 40.645’N, 008° 44.350’W


Between the Flagstaff and Ardbane Rock and centred on the transit line is the Kippen Rock. This is an extensive patch that uncovers at low water, with 1.4 metres of water close outside it.

About 800 metres higher up is the Cratloe Rock, with the 0.2 metres Ardbane Rock immediately offshore, supported by the leading lights and marked by a port marker to the south.


Above this are the Horril’s Rocks, that extend beyond the line of the mud and uncover on spring tides, again marked by a port marker to the south. Meelick Rocks Lighted Beacons leads south of Horrils Rock.


Finally, in the bend of the river, there is a collection of stones called the Meelick Rocks. This hosts the front beacon of the transits, white 11 metres high metal pile structure, that lead to the south of the Horril’s Rocks in line 106.30°(T). Meelick No. 2 will be seen 275 metres to the rear of the front:

Meelick Rock - front beacon Iso R 4s 6m 5M position: 52° 40.231’N, 008° 42.315’W

Meelick No. 2 - rear beacon Iso R 4s 9m 5M position: 52° 40.185’N, 008° 42.062’W


Here the channel makes a bend to the south by southwest and is bounded to the east by an extensive mud bank stretching from Muckinish Point. The channel between it and the opposite shore narrows to a width of about 135 metres and maintains this width almost as far as Limerick. Temporary anchorage can be taken, in depths of 2.4 to 4.2 metres south of Meelick Rocks for vessels that cannot reach Limerick without a supporting tide.


Just under a mile upriver from the Meelick Rocks there is a mass of rock on a gravel bed that extends about 275 metres into the channel from the west. This is called the Cock Rock that presents the next impediment to the navigation of the river. The rock resides under the ruins of Teervo House, contracting the river channel to a width of only 72 metres. Range lights, in range 146°, are located on Braemar Point, southeast of Cock Rock, and lead through the channel east of the rock. There is also a starboard light buoy.


Just upriver from the Cock Rock between Coonagh Point that lies on the north shore, and Braemar Point on the opposite shore 400 metres to the southwest, is the Tervoe Pool. This has the deepest water in the area with slightly more than 3 metres.



Winding round Coonagh Point the river takes an easterly direction towards Limerick. A mile and a half above Coonagh Point is Barrington’s Quay. Lights are shown all the way; on the north shore at Clonmacken, about 0.7 miles northeast of Braemar Point, and on the south shore at Spillane’s Tower, nearly 0.8 miles east southeast of Clonmacken.


Located on the north shore, about 400 metres northeast of Spillane’s Tower, is Barrington’s Quay that dries at its outer end. Between Spillane’s Tower and Barrington’s Quay there is a ledge of limestone rocks with a depth of 0.9 metres that extends nearly across the channel from the southern shore. The northern side of this is marked by the Barringtons port hand buoy. The channel between Barrington’s Quay and Limerick commercial docks has general depths of 1.2 to 1.5 metres and is known as The Pool.


Immediately south of The Pool is the entrance into Limerick’s Click to view haven enclosed wet dock. This typically only opens to allow access two hours prior and up to local high water and a vessel may stay here overnight or longer if it is a quiet time.




Vessels continuing north may avail of the Loop Head to Slyne Head Route locationCoastal Description.

What is the best sailing time?
May to September is the traditional Irish Sailing season with June July offering the best weather. June and July’s statistical incidence of strong winds are however two days of winds up to force seven. As such, depending on personal sailing preferences, a vessel may expect to be held-up or enjoy robust sailing conditions. Ireland is not subject to persistent fog. Statistically complete days of persistent fog occur less than once in a decade.

Are there any security concerns?
Never been a security issue known to have occurred sailing off the Irish coast.

With thanks to:
eOceanic



Expand to
new tab or fullscreen


A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this route and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.



Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this route.

Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not sailed this route and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site.