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Dunmore East

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Overview





Dunmore East is located on the southeast coast of Ireland and on the western entrance to Waterford Harbour. It is a busy and picturesque fishing port that offers the possibility of coming alongside the harbour's seasonal visitor pontoon, the potential of picking up club moorings or anchoring off the harbour in suitable conditions.

The harbour offers good shelter except in southeast gales where it is subject to considerable swell at high water, somewhat decreasing as the tide falls. The outer anchorage offers a tolerable berth in settled conditions. Well marked and with no outlying dangers, access is straightforward night or day at any stage of the tide.
Please note

A potential race can develop at the entrance to Waterford Harbour when the estuary tide collides with rough sea conditions. Prepare for a turbulent time on the entry if there is a strong southerly condition blowing into an ebb tide. In extreme conditions, such as a southeasterly Force 8 on an ebb tide, it is best avoided until the tide turns.




2 comments
Keyfacts for Dunmore East
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot 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 areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periodsNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

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.



Last modified
November 27th 2020

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot 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 areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periodsNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



HM  +353 51 312359      +353 87 3455623      dunmoreeastharbour@agriculture.gov.ie      Ch.14 [Dunmore East]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 9.021' N, 006° 59.390' W

This is midway between the extremity of the 'East Pier Breakwater' extension, Fl R 2s 6m 4M and the 'Dunmore East Starboard Buoy 1', Q.G Range 2NM.

What is the initial fix?

The following Dunmore East initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 8.966' N, 006° 58.900' W
This is 600 metres east of the East Pier Breakwater extension. A course of west by northwest from here leads a vessel over the mouth of the harbour.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. Seaward approaches, along with the run up the harbour, are covered in the Port of Waterford Click to view haven entry.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Dunmore East for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Creadan Head - 1.4 miles NE
  2. Slade - 1.9 miles ESE
  3. Lumsdin's Bay - 2 miles E
  4. Templetown Bay - 2.2 miles ENE
  5. Dollar Bay - 2.4 miles NE
  6. Duncannon - 2.9 miles NNE
  7. Passage East - 3.4 miles N
  8. Arthurstown - 3.4 miles NNE
  9. Ballyhack - 3.6 miles N
  10. Seedes Bank - 3.8 miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Creadan Head - 1.4 miles NE
  2. Slade - 1.9 miles ESE
  3. Lumsdin's Bay - 2 miles E
  4. Templetown Bay - 2.2 miles ENE
  5. Dollar Bay - 2.4 miles NE
  6. Duncannon - 2.9 miles NNE
  7. Passage East - 3.4 miles N
  8. Arthurstown - 3.4 miles NNE
  9. Ballyhack - 3.6 miles N
  10. Seedes Bank - 3.8 miles N
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
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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What's the story here?
Dunmore East
Image: Michael Harpur


Dunmore East Harbour is situated immediately inside the western side of the Waterford Harbour entrance, about 2 miles northeast of Swines Head and in the southwestern corner of Dunmore Bay. It is a busy fishing port and one of the five designated National Fishery Harbours. Of these primary harbours, Dunmore East has the second-highest figure for fish landings after Killybegs.


The seasonal pontoon inside the East Breakwater
Image: Michael Harpur


Dunmore East Harbour is managed by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) External link, under the Fishery Harbour Centres Acts. The harbour welcomes visiting leisure craft to a designated seasonal pontoon that has the harbour's maintained depth of 3.6 meters below LAT. Make contact with the Harbour Master Deirdre Lane, for berth allocation prior to arrival via VHF [Dunmore East] Ch. 14 or 16, Landline+353 (0) 51 312359, Mobile+353 (0)87 3455623, and E-maildunmoreeastharbour@agriculture.gov.ie.

There are 54 swing moorings located northwest of the Eastern Breakwater light at the entrance to the Harbour that belong to Waterford Harbour Sailing Club External link that is located in Dunmore East with its clubhouse overlooking the moorings from North West Quay of the West Wharf. The club works in close cooperation with the harbour master and also try to cater for visitors where possible on vacant swing moorings.

The best anchoring position is in the northwestern corner of Dunmore Bay in the sandy cove off Lower Village. This is situated in a little bay ¼ of a mile north by northwest of the mouth of the harbour and a mile distant from the harbour by road. This anchorage is situated off Lawlor’s and Councillors Strands. This is best considered a settled conditions anchorage as southwesterly driven waves tend to roll around the headland striking a weathercocking vessel beam on. This can make a vessel roll making a good night's sleep a challenge.
Please note

In strong southeasterly conditions the outer parts of the harbour are extremely exposed. Vessels must not risk being caught here with a southeasterly wind. Be prepared to leave at the first appearance of a change as there are a host of immediately available locations within the Waterford Harbour estuary that offer complete protection from these quarters.




How to get in?
Dunmore East Harbour on the western side of the Waterford Harbour entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location for details of seaward approaches. The harbour is made conspicuous by its breakwater and the harbour’s East Pier Lighthouse. This is a 16-metre high white lantern, set on a grey granite tower, standing at the head of the main part of East Pier harbour wall.

Dunmore East – Lighthouse Fl WR 8s position: 52° 08.935' N 006° 59.337' W

Dunmore East Harbour’s East Pier Lighthouse
Image: Tourism Ireland


Initial fix location The initial fix is set 600 metres east of the East Pier Breakwater extension and in the white sector of the harbour’s sectored lighthouse. Track in west-northwest into Dunmore Bay passing to the north of the East Pier Breakwater extension that has an additional light set on its northern extremity Fl R 2s 6m 4M. Two starboard buoys Dunmore East Buoys (1 & 3) outer Q.G and the inner Fl.G 2s showing the starboard side of the fairway.


The entrance faces north by northwest and is between the East Pier breakwater
extension and West Wharf

Image: Catherine Sparks


The harbour’s 75 metres entrance faces north by northwest and is located between the head of the East Pier breakwater extension and West Wharf, West Wharf Head Lt Fl(3)G 10s 4M.


The pontoon inside the East Breakwater and mooring area north of the west pier
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The 40-metre seasonal pontoon lies inside the East Breakwater, terminating near the old lighthouse. Berth as advised by the harbourmaster.

The pontoon at its busiest during a festival
Image: Nmwalsh via ASA 4.0


The pontoon can accommodate up to a dozen vessels, depending upon LOAs, and be prepared to raft during busy times. No visiting leisure craft should berth on the inner basin fishing pontoons which have constant fishing boat traffic and become very crowded during the summer season.

Yacht passing out in front of the club mooring as seen from the head of the
breakwater

Image: Michael Harpur


The club moorings lie to the north of the West Wharf and the welcoming Waterford Harbour Sailing Club clubhouse is on the West Quay where enquiries can be made regarding vacant moorings.


Dunmore Bay as seen from the cove in its north end
Image: Catherine Sparks


If the wind is pleasantly between southwest and northwest, even touching a northerly quadrant, the high cliffs that shelter Dunmore Bay permit it to afford a reasonable anchorage anywhere along its length. 4 to 6 metres of water will be found here over a muddy bottom but anchor well clear of the fairway and a bright anchor light should be maintained throughout the night as the harbour is an active fishing port. All though wind protected, Dunmore Bay is subject to swell from the south or southeast, particularly on the ebb tide in the estuary, so should a swell appear, it is best to move.
Please note

Vessels searching for an anchorage or approaching from the north should beware of the Laweesh Rock off the northern entrance point of Dunmore Bay. Laweesh Rock uncovers at half ebb and stands out 100 metres from the shore.




Lawlor’s Strand
Image: Tourism Ireland


The best anchoring position is in the northwestern corner of Dunmore Bay off the Lower Village's sandy cove that is fronted by Lawlor’s and Councillor's Strands.

Waypoint for Lawlor’s Strand – position: 52° 09.230’N 006° 59.460’W

The principal danger to be observed in the cove is the reef that extends from the shore separating Lawlor’s Strand and the Ladies Cove to the south. It extends out under the water narrowing the anchoring area. The above waypoint is set in the midpoint between this rock and headland to the north where excellent sand holding will be found. Land on the beach or the pontoon in the harbour as convenient.

Lawlor's Beach
Image: Tourism Ireland



Why visit here?
Dunmore East, in Irish: An Dún Mór Thoir, derives its name from an old 'iron age' promontory fort; Dún Mór meaning the 'Great Fort'. The fort was situated to the south of the pier on a high promontory called the 'Black Knob' where the old pilot station stands today. More commonly called 'the Shin-noon', derived from 'Sean Dún', the promontory has the large and easily accessed Merlin’s Cave immediately underneath.


Depiction of Dunmore Castle's remaining tower in 1830
Image: Public Domain


Centuries later the area in which it is located what was then called the 'barony of Gaultier' a name that was also derived its name from the Irish language. Gaultier, in Irish Gáll Tír meaning 'foreigner's land', referred to the influx of Viking and later Norman settlers who came to the area but left no fortifications. It was not until the 1640s that another castle was to be constructed here by a large local landowner Lord Power of Curraghmore with the intention of securing a Cromwellian settlement. The castle was situated on a cliff overlooking the strand, about two hundred metres from St. Andrew's Church, and in its prime, it would have been a significant building. But it did not stand the test of time and, by the middle of the next century, it was a ruin with only a single tower remaining. By this time the village had become a prominent fishing port with the fishermen's homes being situated largely in the lower village with the boats launched from Lawlor's strand.


Dunmore East prior to the development of the harbour
Image: Public Domain


The decision that would change Passage East came in 1812 when Westminster decided to create an entirely new terminus for the Royal Mail and landing passengers from Milford Haven in Wales to the south of Ireland. At the time the packet station was establishing itself at Cheekpoint. But the upper reaches of the river proved problematic for the sailing vessels of the time and relocating to Dunmore East, on the entrance to the harbour, was thought to be the solution. So a sum of £118,000 was set aside for the erection of a large Breton style artificial pier and Alexander Nimmo, the famous Scottish engineer that built Limerick's Sarsfield Bridge, was given the commission.

Construction of the pier at Dunmore East
Image: Public Domain
The original pier was finished about 1824 but the final phases of the harbour would not be completed until five years after the death of Nemo in 1837. Unfortunately, at that stage it was more than five times over budget, was silting badly, and was made obsolete by the arrival of steam that meant the River Suir could be easily negotiated to the city of Waterford. In the event, the packet station was transferred to city and although the Dunmore Packet Station was abandoned. The new and very well sheltered harbour was quickly adopted as a rendezvous point for vessels from Dublin and other ports when trawling on the south coast. Soon it found its new direction that has carried through to the present as a most useful fishing harbour.

By then the elegant pier, with its attractive lighthouse at the end, had also made it an attractive seaside destination for visitors. Many of its neat fishermen's thatched cottages were by then been rented by holidaymakers during the Summer months. In 1824 R.H. Ryland, in his history of the county and city of Waterford, described what he saw as follows:"Nearby at the entrance of [Waterford] Harbour is the village of Dunmore, formally a place of resort for fishermen, but now a delightful and fashionable watering place. The village is situated in a valley, with a gentle slope towards the sea; the houses are built irregularly, without regard to site or uniformity of appearance, except that they all look at the same point - the Hook Lighthouse, on the opposite coast. Most of the cottages are built of clay and are thatched with straw, and generally, let during the summer season from one to three guineas a week. On the hill, which forms the background of the picture, are the ruins of a church".


Thatched Cottages Dunmore East
Image: Tourism Ireland


Today, two centuries later, little has changed. The ruined church is most likely Cill Aodha, or Aodh's Church, that has one wall still standing, opposite The Holy Cross Catholic Church at the top of Killea Hill – visible on approach about a mile northwest of Black Knob. The mud cottages have been replaced but the unique Irish thatch cottage is still here in abundance. The harbour was extended by the Office of Public Works during the 1960s. The original breakwater was extended out beyond the pier and the concrete apron West Wharf quay was dynamited out of the cliffs and inserted into the sheltered cove within. Again the project was expected to take five years but took the best part of a dozen to complete.


Lawlor's Beach as seen from the north
Image: Catherine Sparks


Dunmore East retains this dual identity of a centre for fishing and with Lower Village 1km north, a well-kept holiday resort. As a fishing harbour, it is one of Ireland’s five designated National Fishery Harbours, and has the fourth-highest figure for fish landings, with Killybegs taking in almost the sum of all the others. Dunmore has some notable marine firsts to its credit; the first Irish woman to qualify for a skipper's ticket in fishing, and the first official woman crew member of an RNLI Lifeboat are locals and it also holds the world record for the largest tuna caught on a rod.


Dunmore East Harbour's fishing fleet at dusk
Image: Tourism Ireland


It has also got much to offer as a resort with beautiful thatched houses, an EU Blue Flag Beach, striking red sandstone cliffs which host a huge colony of kittiwakes. The fresh Atlantic catches brought ashore here can be sampled at many of the superb local restaurants. During the summer season there is music in the Hotels and Pubs, along with many places of interest to visit, and sporting activities such as golf, tennis etc. also available. The most popular event in Dunmore East is the annual Bluegrass Festival which takes place at the end of August. Over the weekend during this Festival the village hosts a number of bluegrass music groups and almost every bar becomes a music venue from 3 pm until late in the evening.


Boats on moorings outside the harbour with Hook Head in the backdrop
Image: Public Domain


From a boating perspective, Dunmore is not only an important sheltered harbour for this coast but also a gateway into Waterford Estuary’s cruising grounds of the Suir, Barrow and Nore rivers. With Waterford airport, only 10 – 15 minutes by car, offering regularly scheduled flights to the UK & France, it is an ideal location to change crews. As such it is much visited by ocean-going yachts from Britain and the Continent.


What facilities are available?
Power and water are available at the pontoon. Voucher cards €5.00 from Harbour office. Toilets and showers as well as washing machines and tumble dryer in newly refurbished harbour building. Waste disposal and recycling facilities available via the Harbour Master. Freshwater is available at the West Wharf head and likewise, fuel from the fishermen's co-operative and Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Dunmore is a busy commercial port where most maritime products and services will be found locally. Two chandlers are situated in the port and its environs. There is a choice of mini-markets that provide a good range of top-up provisions, a pharmacy, post office and ATMs are available. The area features a choice of excellent seafood restaurants either in the harbour or in Lower Village about a 1km walk apart.

The very welcoming Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, has its headquarters on the North West Quay and is open during the sailing season. The also allows visiting sailors and allows access to its showers
and WiFi in the clubhouse. It has an a la carte menu on Friday evenings and a barbecue on Sundays. So do make a visit to say hello to the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Craft may dry out between tides for a scrub in the southwest corner of the harbour. The Synchrolift is reserved for fishing vessels but a mobile crane can be arranged for a harbour lift out.

Dunmore East is 16 kilometres from Waterford City and 10 kilometres from Waterford International Airport that hosted regular flights to the UK and continent. Unfortunately, owing to the collapse of VLM Airlines in June 2017, there are currently no scheduled air services to or from Waterford Airport. But the airport, Ireland's coast-guard base, the runway is being extended with a view to bringing on future services. Dublin Airport is approximately 200km (2 hours drive) and Cork Airport is approximately 150km (2 hours drive) serve as alternates.

A regular bus service operates between Dunmore East and Waterford and the local Suirway External link provides a particularly good service - (online timetables External link). There is also a choice of local taxi operators.


Any security concerns?
No problems known to have occurred on moorings or on anchor at this location. However, lock up securely when rafted up alongside a fishing vessel as a matter of course.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford plus Keith James.

























Port of Waterford Pilot Launch entering Dunmore East




Overviews of the harbour area



A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven 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:


Nicholas Walsh wrote this review on May 22nd 2014:

Under moorings please change the reference Waterford Boat Club to Waterford Harbour Sailing Club (www.whsc.ie). Please add also Waterford Harbour Sailing Club welcomes visitors to its Clubhouse on the West Wharf. Free WiFi is available for visiting yachtsmen.

Average Rating: Unrated


Michael Harpur wrote this review on May 4th 2018:

Sorted thanks for the update.

Average Rating: Unrated

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