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Simmy Island

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Overview





Simmy Island is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, within and on the western shore of Strangford Lough north of Killyleagh. It is an anchorage to the north of an uninhabited island in a quiet and particularly picturesque location.

Simmy Island is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, within and on the western shore of Strangford Lough north of Killyleagh. It is an anchorage to the north of an uninhabited island in a quiet and particularly picturesque location.

The coastal indent provides a good anchorage offering protection from any quarter except those with an easterly component when it would become uncomfortable. The Lough's enclosed body of water provides sheltered sailing in all weather, all tides and ample marks to make daylight navigation straightforward.



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Keyfacts for Simmy Island
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
November 7th 2022

Summary

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 25.560' N, 005° 38.000' W

In the centre of the anchorage in a depth of approximately two metres.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ringhaddy Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 25.258' N, 005° 35.657' W
This is on the Ⓔ track clearly depicted on AC 2156 and a distance of 1¾ miles from the entrance to Ringhaddy.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details for vessels approaching Strangford Lough from the north are available in northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the south are available in eastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Strangford Lough to Dublin Bay Route location. Details of the approaches, tidal timings, the run up The Narrows and onward to Killyleagh, on the Lough's western shore, are covered in the Entering and exiting Strangford Lough Route location route description.


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 Simmy Island for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. East Down Yacht Club - 0.8 nautical miles SSW
  2. Pawle Island - 0.9 nautical miles NNE
  3. Don O’Neill Island - 1 nautical miles SSE
  4. Holm Bay - 1.1 nautical miles S
  5. Ringhaddy Sound - 1.4 nautical miles N
  6. Killyleagh - 1.8 nautical miles SSW
  7. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.7 nautical miles SSE
  8. Jackdaw Island - 2.7 nautical miles SSE
  9. Chapel Island - 2.9 nautical miles SSE
  10. Brandy Bay (North Salt Island) - 2.9 nautical miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. East Down Yacht Club - 0.8 miles SSW
  2. Pawle Island - 0.9 miles NNE
  3. Don O’Neill Island - 1 miles SSE
  4. Holm Bay - 1.1 miles S
  5. Ringhaddy Sound - 1.4 miles N
  6. Killyleagh - 1.8 miles SSW
  7. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.7 miles SSE
  8. Jackdaw Island - 2.7 miles SSE
  9. Chapel Island - 2.9 miles SSE
  10. Brandy Bay (North Salt Island) - 2.9 miles SSW
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?
Simmy Island with its house and jetty
Image: Michael Harpur


Simmy Island is located on the western shore of Strangford Lough, 3½ miles northwest of the Narrows and 1.8 miles northward of Killyleagh. The small 8-acre Simmy Island is technically not an Island as it is reached by a causeway as is very much the case with the flanking Castle Island to the north. It is privately owned today so no landings may take place although Island Taggart to the south is owned by the National Trust and welcomes visitors.


The house and jetty on Simmy Island
Image: Michael Harpur


It offers an exceptionally picturesque anchorage, overlooking the National Trust's Island Taggart which lies to the south. The facilities of the East Down Sailing Club are also available via a ¾ of a mile tender ride southward between Island Taggart and the mainland. The latter, of course, is only available for those with a stalwart outboard motor.


How to get in?
Island Taggart to the south of the anchorage with Don O’Neill Island (left)
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Details of the approaches, tidal timings, the run up The Narrows and onward to Killyleagh, on the Lough's western shore, are covered in the Entering and exiting Strangford Lough Route location route description. After entering Strangford Lough proceed up the deep waters of track Ⓔ depicted on Admiralty Chart 2156 to the Ringhaddy Initial Fix. This passes along the east shore of the lough clear of the unmarked awash McLaughlin Rock, Long Rock, Don O'Neill Island and Limestone Rock. It is possible to cut this and pass through the channel that lies between the smaller northern Don O’Neill Island and the Limestone Pladdy as directed in the Don O’Neill Island Click to view haven entry.


Pole standing on its southeast end of Selk Rock
Image: Michael Harpur


Vessels approaching from the south should make note of the drying Selk Rock which lies ¼ of a mile off of the Island Taggart shore and is 0.4 miles northwest of Don O’Neill Island. It is marked by a pole standing on its southeast end.


The view out over Island Taggart to the Lough from the house and Jetty
Image: Michael Harpur



Initial fix location From the Ringhaddy Initial Fix steer to pass northeastward of Limestone Rock beacon.

Limestone Rock - Port Beacon Q.R.4m4M position: 54° 25.144' N 005° 36.129' W

This is situated approximately 200 metres southeast of the Limestone Rock. The beacon marks the eastern point of Pladdy Rock which covers after 4 hours of the flood tide, and there is a further pole on the northeast corner of Limestone Rock.

Once clear of Limestone Rock steer for the entrance in the recess to the north end of Taggart Island and south of Castle Island a distance of 1 mile on a bearing of about 280° T. The house and jetty, seen central on Simmy Island, make for a conspicuous seamark. On final approaches, prefer the south side of the coastal recess/north end of Taggart Island side where there is less rock adjacent to the shore.


Simmy Island Danes Point and Castle Island on the north shore
Image: Michael Harpur


After passing inside the opposite points of Island Taggart and Castle Island on the north shore it shelves quickly to 1.2 metres LAT.


Local boat on mooring off Simmy Island
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Sound slowly into a suitable depth where a handful of local moorings will be seen. Anchor over very good mud holding with some scattered boulders.


Why visit here?
Simmy Island, in Irish 'Oileán Siomaí', most likely takes its name from the old Irish given male names of 'Séimí, Síomí' that are variants of the old Irish ' Síomus', now 'Séamus'. This is the Irish equivalent of the name James, so Simmy Island can be said to translate to 'James Island'.


Connected to the mainland by a causeway Simmy Island is more a peninsula than
island

Image: Michael Harpur


The name James itself is the English New Testament variant of the Hebrew name of Jacob. Its meaning in Hebrew is 'one who supplants' or more literally 'one who grabs at the heel'. This refers to the Hebrew patriarch Jacob who was born grasping at his twin brother 'Esau's' heel. The Irish and Scottish Gaelic variant was on account of the name arriving through a French variation of the late Latin for Jacob, 'Iacomus'.


The New England style house and jetty on Simmy Island
Image: Michael Harpur


The name may very well be oddly appropriate as the Island is very much privately owned so no landings may take place here. The impressive gates and railings on the island's causeway side dissuade visitors from the landward side. It is, reportedly, owned by one of Northern Ireland's most prominent hoteliers. The house backing the jetty was originally an island boathouse. It was converted into a dwelling house in recent times and the jetty was modernised and extended at this time. The matter was locally controversial as planning permission was retrospectively applied for and was subsequently questioned. Many might have felt that the origin of the island's name 'one who supplants' retained some meaning.


Island Taggart and the run up to the East Down Sailing Club
Image: Michael Harpur


By comparison Island Taggart, immediately to the south, stands very much in contrast to Simmy Island. Unlike the small Simmy Island, which being reached by a causeway is technically not an Island, as is very much the case with the Castle Island peninsula to the north, Island Taggart is one of the largest islands in the southern half of Strangford Lough. It is owned by the National Trust which preserves the two small farms that existed here in the past and it openly welcomes visitors – see East Down Yacht club Click to view haven. A host of wildlife such as badgers, foxes and otters now reside on Taggart, and camping is also permitted.


The Simmy Island anchorage makes for wonderfully quiet hideout
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, the location makes for an exceptionally picturesque berth. When all the elements of the anchorage combine, the remote Island Taggart to the south, the wooded headland to the north and the refined New England style boathouse conversion, in the blink of an eye, one could be forgiven for thinking that in a Canadian anchorage rather than Northern Ireland. It is also very quiet where you can expect to have the bay entirely to yourself. This makes the location a wonderful hideout.


What facilities are available?
None, this is a secluded bay with no resources.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred at Simmy Island.


With thanks to:
Brian Crawford, local Strangford Lough boatman of many decades. eOceanic would like to thank Quoile Yacht Club External link for hosting our survey boat during the survey of Strangford Lough.




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