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Ringhaddy Sound

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Overview





Ringhaddy Sound is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, within and on the western shore of Strangford Lough to the west of Islandmore. It is a beautiful and popular mooring ground with some club visitor pontoons.

Ringhaddy Sound is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, within and on the western shore of Strangford Lough to the west of Islandmore. It is a beautiful and popular mooring ground with some club visitor pontoons.

The Sound offers complete protection from all conditions. However tidal streams in Ringhaddy Sound can attain 3 knots and when a wind-against-tide occurs to a strong northerly, and to a lesser extent southerly, it may be a little 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 Ringhaddy Sound
Facilities
Water available via tapSlipway availableShore power available alongside


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
14 metres (45.93 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
November 7th 2022

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Water available via tapSlipway availableShore power available alongside


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 26.930' N, 005° 37.905' W

100 metres east of the pontoon.

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 the 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 Ringhaddy Sound for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Pawle Island - 0.5 nautical miles SSE
  2. Simmy Island - 1.4 nautical miles S
  3. East Down Yacht Club - 2.1 nautical miles S
  4. White Rock Bay - 2.1 nautical miles N
  5. Don O’Neill Island - 2.3 nautical miles SSE
  6. Holm Bay - 2.5 nautical miles S
  7. Ballydorn and Down Cruising Club - 2.6 nautical miles NNW
  8. Killyleagh - 3.1 nautical miles S
  9. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 4 nautical miles SSE
  10. Jackdaw Island - 4 nautical miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Pawle Island - 0.5 miles SSE
  2. Simmy Island - 1.4 miles S
  3. East Down Yacht Club - 2.1 miles S
  4. White Rock Bay - 2.1 miles N
  5. Don O’Neill Island - 2.3 miles SSE
  6. Holm Bay - 2.5 miles S
  7. Ballydorn and Down Cruising Club - 2.6 miles NNW
  8. Killyleagh - 3.1 miles S
  9. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 4 miles SSE
  10. Jackdaw Island - 4 miles SSE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search

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?
Ringhaddy Sound tucked in behind Islandmore
Image: Michael Harpur


Ringhaddy Sound is located on the western shore of Strangford Lough behind Islandmore and Pawle Island, about 3 miles northward of Killyleagh and between it and Killinchy. It can be approached through a channel from southward in depths of 3.5 metres, or from northward with a depth of 8.5 metres. There is an old stone quay at the head of the channel and the Ringhaddy Cruising Club ponton close south of it.


Ringhaddy Cruising Club moorings and pontoon
Image: Michael Harpur


Ringhaddy Sound provides a naturally-occurring, deep-water anchorage that is well sheltered by some of the many islands that festoon the Lough. The Ringhaddy club has a concrete slip, a large dinghy dock and a number of pontoons where visiting yachts, from outside the Lough, are welcome to come alongside for short periods, even for a day or two by arrangement.


Ringhaddy Cruising Club pontoon
Image: Michael Harpur


The pontoons have 1.8 metres or less at LWS with a bottom of soft mud. The Ringhaddy Cruising Club sailing club may be contacted by their contact page External link or via E-mailringhaddycc1975@gmail.com. Vessels that can take to the bottom may dry out against the north side of the old quay but the shore above is privately owned.


How to get in?
The head of the narrows as seen from Ringhaddy Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the approaches, tidal timings, the run up The Narrows and onward to Killyleagh, on the Lough's western shore, as 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.


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


Vessels approaching from the south should make a 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 outer approaches, Castle Island with Pawle Island opposite
and Black Island just visible

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.


Two white triangles on poles now marks the 318° T line of bearing
Image: Michael Harpur


Once clear of Limestone Rock turn to port and track in on a bearing of 318° T. This was once off of the circular converted Killinchy windmill which is no sadly longer visible. But some prominent buildings overlooking the entrance will be seen through the pass making its position clear. On closer approaches, two white leading marks, triangles on poles forming a diamond in transit, will be seen on the shoreline that now marks the 318° T line of bearing that leads in south of the islands and then into Ringhaddy Sound.


The low-lying Black Rock islet as seen from the south
Image: Michael Harpur


On the outer approaches to Ringhaddy Sound, the path closes to about ⅓ of a mile wide when passing between the Brownrock Pladdy and Brown Rock to the port, or south side and the heads of Rathgorman Pladdies, or Verde Rocks on the opposite starboard or northern side.


The Brownrock Pladdy pole
Image: Michael Harpur


Both Brownrock Pladdy and Brown Rock cover at half tide where only seaweed may be visible. However, the tiny 2-metre-high boulder-strewn and grassy-topped islet called Black Rock is always visible close south of these making the former rocks easy to position. The heads of Rathgorman Pladdies, or Verde Rocks, opposite are marked by a perch.
Please note

The area between Pawle Island and the Black and Brown Rocks has an awkward seaway in wind-against-tide conditions.




The Rathgorman Pladdies, or Verde Rocks, perch
Image: Michael Harpur


The route then continues into the south, starboard, of Pawle Island, then Warren Point on the southern shore, to port. Then finally south of Eaglehill Point at the southern end of Islandmore standing keeping about 200 metres off the shoreline as Eaglehill Point has a ledge that extends around the south of the island.


The southern end of Islandmore and Pawle Island
Image: Michael Harpur


When Ringhaddy Sound opens up swing around to starboard and steer northward into the Sound. Keep clear of the southwest end of Islandmore as a single rock with 1.2 metres LAT lies offshore.


Ringhaddy Sound opening up upon rounding Eaglehill Point
Image: Michael Harpur


This lies approximately 50 metres offshore of the island's wooden summer house and just south of the head of the jetty that lies before the club pontoon. Simply following the line of moorings into the Sound avoids this rock.


The wooden summer house on Islandmore
Image: Michael Harpur


Afterwards, it is advisable to favour the east or Islandmore side of the sound to avoid a spit that extends halfway across the sound from the western shoreline. The spit reaches in a southeastward direction from the point close south of where there is a stone building and jetty.


The spit extending south-eastward from the western shore
Image: Michael Harpur


Thereafter, track up mid-channel avoiding the bays as they shoal. Likewise, take care not to foul on the moorings that fill the entire length of the Sound behind Islandmore.


Ringhaddy Sound above the spit
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Holding is good in the deep waters of the sound if you get the anchor in. However with a bottom of rock and weed, this may be challenging, and it could also come loose in the alternating currents that run up to 3 knots.


The Ringhaddy Cruising Club grounds and pontoon
Image: Michael Harpur


This makes it advisable to come alongside the pontoon and enquire if there is a spare mooring available. Although there are no official visitor moorings in the Sound, Club members are welcoming and may be able to identify vacant private moorings that may be available for temporary use.


A vacant mooring is the best option on account of the strong currents
Image: Michael Harpur


Visiting yachts from outside the Lough are welcome to come alongside the club pontoons for short periods which by night shows Fl.R.5s end light.


The old stone pier northward of the root of the pontoon
Image: Michael Harpur


There is an old stone pier that is 300 metres further north that is difficult to come alongside but may prove useful, after an inspection, for those that can take to the bottom. The footing of the quay is hard on the north side and it dries at low water. The quay and entry road are in private ownership so road access is restricted. Ringhaddy Sound may also be entered and exited on its north side 400 metres west of Green Island.


Why visit here?
The meaning of the name Ringhaddy is somewhat divided. The area around the club was always connected to Castle Island by a causeway that these days have been made more substantial. The conjoined stretches of land present on the map the appearance of an elongated neck of land, running northwards into the Lough. Hence, it acquired the name 'An Rinn Fhada', meaning 'the long point or headland'.


The well-sheltered mooring ground that extends for the full length of Islandmore
Image: Michael Piper


Others believe it comes from the 'Irish Rinn an Chadaigh' meaning 'point of the covenant'. This is just as possible as during the Medieval period many castles were built with strong keeps with adjacent courtyards enclosing dwelling houses. These were further defended by walls and palisades and moats and at this time Ringhaddy was a strategic site with two castles. It is thought the latter interpretation of the name could refer to some now-forgotten struggle for possession of the townland and a subsequent settlement. The remains of one of these castles, Ringhaddy Castle, stands in picturesque decay on the opposite side of the narrow neck that connects to Castle Island.


Ringhaddy Cruising Club
Image: propertypal.com


Today it is one of the most complete surviving tower houses in the county, that retains its gables. The walls are ivy-covered, the ground floor only partly accessible through briars and sundry other plants. But in its day the castle was ideally suited to command the natural deep sheltered anchorage and it was sited close to shore so vessels could land directly below its walls to load and unload. The ground floor, with its stone vault, dates to the 15th century while the upper parts were rebuilt in about 1600. Ringhaddy castle was taken by Byran McArt in 1594 who established it as a stronghold and base for trade with Scotland. It is much mentioned during Elizabethan times when it changed hands on several occasions between Bryan McArt and the English forces. However, when Lord Deputy Mountjoy’s forces arrived in the Lecale, McArt destroyed the castle and took flight. The castle and landing areas then underwent extensive repair thereafter, circa 1602, before passing to James Hamilton to support a formal Plantation of the area.


The Blue Cabin on Islandmore
Image: Michael Harpur


Another notable early Christian monument lies nearby. These are the remains of Ringhaddy Church that crown the small drumlin that rises immediately behind the castle. The rectangular ruin is difficult to date but is thought to have been built in the 13th century as it appeared on taxation rolls as far back as 1300. Dedicated to St Andrew’s church and enclosure consist of a simple nave, the crumbling walls crowned with polypody and spleenwort. The east window appears to have been comparatively large and two faint circles of earthwork may be traced outside, which may have formed the boundary of an old churchyard. The privately-owned old quay between the pontoon and the castle was most likely built in the early part of the 19th century. It is one of the best examples that remain from that time of a medium-sized quay in Strangford Lough.


The Blue Cabin on Islandmore as seen from the Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Islandmore island, on the opposite side, is famous for the Blue Cabin which was once owned by the late Brian Faulkner. Faulkner was a wealthy industrialist who became Northern Ireland's sixth and last prime minister in the 1970s. It served as a holiday haven for the family during the tumultuous years of his leadership in which he introduced internment to save 'his beloved Ulster'. The house consists of two wooden huts built to house World War One German prisoners on the Isle of Man. It was shipped to Northern Ireland in 1921 after all the huts were auctioned off. The house was used infrequently in the years after Brian Faulkner's death in a riding accident in 1977 and was eventually sold. By chance, it arrived back in his son's ownership, Mike Faulkner. When his Edinburgh stumbled into insolvency in 2002, he and his wife Lynn departed for the holiday home where they took up residence. Today it is thought to be the only remaining prison cabin still intact and it is the subject of the book 'The Blue Cabin: Living by the Tides on Islandmore, by Michael Faulkner'.


Local boats exiting Ringhaddy Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Sadly Islandmore, as well as the ground on which the castle and church stand are now inhabited all year round and are not open to the public. But Ringhaddy has more than enough as it is another typically stunning location in this island-studded sea Lough that offers a boatman another chance to enjoy some of the country’s finest scenery. Although access is described from the south there is some wonderful pilotage to be enjoyed by exiting through the dozens of sheltered little islands to the north. Affectionally known as the 'basket of eggs' cruising this area will be as near as one can get to the 'Swallows and Amazons' paradise of winding channels, shallow inlets and secret bays as one can get.


The 'basket of eggs' to the north of the Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, this is a well-sheltered and popular mooring ground that extends for the full length of Islandmore. And although its surrounding lands are privately owned it is more than made up for by the warm welcome and resources of the Ringhaddy Cruising Club that have been established here since 1975.


What facilities are available?
The area is remote from any village and as such there are no supplies available locally here. Ringhaddy club has a number of pontoons where water is available and it provides access to the local road system. Between the old quay and the pontoons, there are privately owned facilities for hauling out that should only be used in dire emergencies.


Any security concerns?
The Ringhaddy Cruising Club grounds are a secured area.


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.







Ringhaddy aerial views


About Ringhaddy Sound

The meaning of the name Ringhaddy is somewhat divided. The area around the club was always connected to Castle Island by a causeway that these days have been made more substantial. The conjoined stretches of land present on the map the appearance of an elongated neck of land, running northwards into the Lough. Hence, it acquired the name 'An Rinn Fhada', meaning 'the long point or headland'.


The well-sheltered mooring ground that extends for the full length of Islandmore
Image: Michael Piper


Others believe it comes from the 'Irish Rinn an Chadaigh' meaning 'point of the covenant'. This is just as possible as during the Medieval period many castles were built with strong keeps with adjacent courtyards enclosing dwelling houses. These were further defended by walls and palisades and moats and at this time Ringhaddy was a strategic site with two castles. It is thought the latter interpretation of the name could refer to some now-forgotten struggle for possession of the townland and a subsequent settlement. The remains of one of these castles, Ringhaddy Castle, stands in picturesque decay on the opposite side of the narrow neck that connects to Castle Island.


Ringhaddy Cruising Club
Image: propertypal.com


Today it is one of the most complete surviving tower houses in the county, that retains its gables. The walls are ivy-covered, the ground floor only partly accessible through briars and sundry other plants. But in its day the castle was ideally suited to command the natural deep sheltered anchorage and it was sited close to shore so vessels could land directly below its walls to load and unload. The ground floor, with its stone vault, dates to the 15th century while the upper parts were rebuilt in about 1600. Ringhaddy castle was taken by Byran McArt in 1594 who established it as a stronghold and base for trade with Scotland. It is much mentioned during Elizabethan times when it changed hands on several occasions between Bryan McArt and the English forces. However, when Lord Deputy Mountjoy’s forces arrived in the Lecale, McArt destroyed the castle and took flight. The castle and landing areas then underwent extensive repair thereafter, circa 1602, before passing to James Hamilton to support a formal Plantation of the area.


The Blue Cabin on Islandmore
Image: Michael Harpur


Another notable early Christian monument lies nearby. These are the remains of Ringhaddy Church that crown the small drumlin that rises immediately behind the castle. The rectangular ruin is difficult to date but is thought to have been built in the 13th century as it appeared on taxation rolls as far back as 1300. Dedicated to St Andrew’s church and enclosure consist of a simple nave, the crumbling walls crowned with polypody and spleenwort. The east window appears to have been comparatively large and two faint circles of earthwork may be traced outside, which may have formed the boundary of an old churchyard. The privately-owned old quay between the pontoon and the castle was most likely built in the early part of the 19th century. It is one of the best examples that remain from that time of a medium-sized quay in Strangford Lough.


The Blue Cabin on Islandmore as seen from the Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Islandmore island, on the opposite side, is famous for the Blue Cabin which was once owned by the late Brian Faulkner. Faulkner was a wealthy industrialist who became Northern Ireland's sixth and last prime minister in the 1970s. It served as a holiday haven for the family during the tumultuous years of his leadership in which he introduced internment to save 'his beloved Ulster'. The house consists of two wooden huts built to house World War One German prisoners on the Isle of Man. It was shipped to Northern Ireland in 1921 after all the huts were auctioned off. The house was used infrequently in the years after Brian Faulkner's death in a riding accident in 1977 and was eventually sold. By chance, it arrived back in his son's ownership, Mike Faulkner. When his Edinburgh stumbled into insolvency in 2002, he and his wife Lynn departed for the holiday home where they took up residence. Today it is thought to be the only remaining prison cabin still intact and it is the subject of the book 'The Blue Cabin: Living by the Tides on Islandmore, by Michael Faulkner'.


Local boats exiting Ringhaddy Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Sadly Islandmore, as well as the ground on which the castle and church stand are now inhabited all year round and are not open to the public. But Ringhaddy has more than enough as it is another typically stunning location in this island-studded sea Lough that offers a boatman another chance to enjoy some of the country’s finest scenery. Although access is described from the south there is some wonderful pilotage to be enjoyed by exiting through the dozens of sheltered little islands to the north. Affectionally known as the 'basket of eggs' cruising this area will be as near as one can get to the 'Swallows and Amazons' paradise of winding channels, shallow inlets and secret bays as one can get.


The 'basket of eggs' to the north of the Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, this is a well-sheltered and popular mooring ground that extends for the full length of Islandmore. And although its surrounding lands are privately owned it is more than made up for by the warm welcome and resources of the Ringhaddy Cruising Club that have been established here since 1975.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Pawle Island - 0.3 miles SSE
Simmy Island - 0.9 miles S
East Down Yacht Club - 1.3 miles S
Don O’Neill Island - 1.4 miles SSE
Holm Bay - 1.5 miles S
Coastal anti-clockwise:
White Rock Bay - 1.3 miles N
Ballydorn and Down Cruising Club - 1.6 miles NNW
Kircubbin - 2.5 miles NE
Ballyhenry Bay - 2.7 miles SSE
Portaferry - 3.2 miles SE

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Ringhaddy Sound.






















































Ringhaddy aerial views



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Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven 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. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.