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Baginbun Bay

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Overview





Baginbun Bay is located on the southeast coast of Ireland about five miles northeast of Hook Head Lighthouse. It is a secluded and picturesque bay that is situated immediately north of Baginbun Head and features a distinctive Martello Tower.

The bays relatively high and protective headland provides good protection from southwest to severe westerly winds. In addition to this, there is little if any tidal movement in the bay itself and it provides good holding in clear sand. Navigation is straightforward as the bay has unhindered seaward access.
Please note

Be watchful for lobster pot markers that are prolific in this sailing area.




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Keyfacts for Baginbun Bay
Facilities
Pleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
5 metres (16.4 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
May 8th 2020

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Pleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 10.600' N, 006° 49.500' W

In the anchorage to the north of the headland.

What is the initial fix?

The following Baginbun Bay Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
52° 10.820' N, 006° 48.495' W
It is half a mile east northeast of the bay on the ten metre contour. A bearing of 248° (T) for a distance of half a mile from the initial fix will lead into the anchor location within Baginbun Bay.


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.


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 Baginbun Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Fethard On Sea - 0.6 miles N
  2. Bannow Bay - 1.1 miles NNE
  3. Templetown Bay - 1.9 miles W
  4. Lumsdin's Bay - 1.9 miles WSW
  5. Dollar Bay - 2.1 miles WNW
  6. Slade - 2.5 miles SW
  7. Creadan Head - 2.9 miles W
  8. Duncannon - 3.1 miles WNW
  9. Arthurstown - 3.8 miles NW
  10. Dunmore East - 3.9 miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Fethard On Sea - 0.6 miles N
  2. Bannow Bay - 1.1 miles NNE
  3. Templetown Bay - 1.9 miles W
  4. Lumsdin's Bay - 1.9 miles WSW
  5. Dollar Bay - 2.1 miles WNW
  6. Slade - 2.5 miles SW
  7. Creadan Head - 2.9 miles W
  8. Duncannon - 3.1 miles WNW
  9. Arthurstown - 3.8 miles NW
  10. Dunmore East - 3.9 miles WSW
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?
Yacht anchored at Baginbun
Image: Michael Harpur


Baginbun is located six miles northeast of Hook Head Lighthouse, on the eastern shore of the Hook Head peninsula and the west side of Ballytiege Bay. It is situated close north of Baginbun Head that is made conspicuous by its Martello Tower. It offers an anchorage with good sand holding beneath a moderately high headland that provides protection from the prevailing winds.


How to get in?
The headland is readily identified by Baginbun Martello Tower
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location for seaward approaches.


Baginbun Tower seen from a boat close south
Image: Burke Corbett


Vessels working up close along the coast for the five miles between the Hook and Baginbun Head should be careful to avoid Brecaun Bridge. This is a reef situated approximately halfway between Hook Head and Baginbun Head, just under a mile east by north of the small drying harbour of Slade, itself readily identifiable by its square tower. Brecaun Bridge extends over ⅓ of a mile offshore, with a depth of 1.2 metres at its extremity.


Brecaun Bridge just breaking as seen from the north
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix set half a mile to the northeast the bay will be readily identifiable and the approach is clear of danger.

Baginbun as seen from the east
Image: Michael Harpur


It is not necessary for a southern approaching vessel to adopt the approach line suggested by the initial fix. It is, however, critical to keep well off Baginbun Head as rocks extend out 600 metres to the northeast from the extremity. A useful local boatman’s waypoint for passing east of Baginbun Head is as follows.

Baginbun Head - clear water waypoint: 52° 10.450’N, 006° 49.244’W

This waypoint, or further east of it, will keep a vessel clear of the extending rocks from the headland.

The anchoring area within the head
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Make towards a comfortable point beneath the headlands and drop anchor according to draft in clear sand. Land on the beach by tender.


Why visit here?
On the 1st of May 1170, Baginbun was known as Dún Domhnaill because it was once an ancient defensive trading earthwork known as the 'fort of Domhnaill' located across the neck of the secondary headland. On that particular day, any native Irish who happened to have been there would have seen two boats approaching the headland and would have made ready to raise the alarm.


The defences of the secondary headland are still visible to this day
Image: Michael Harpur


It would not have been an exceptional event as the local people were accustomed to raiders along this coast and they could have been forgiven for thinking it was just another passing incursion. But this was very different. That day a new epoch in the nation’s history was bearing down on Baginbun from the sea. After Bannow Bay, this was the second coming of the most organised military machine the west had known to date; the Normans. It was from this Baginbun landing that the conquest of Ireland began in earnest.


The beach upon which De Gros would have landed
Image: Michael Harpur


The Anglo-Norman force was led by Raymond (or Redmond) FitzGerald who was a relative of the previous landing's FitzStephen and FitzGerald as well as Strongbow himself. Known as'De Gros', Raymond the large, on account of his great size and strength, he was one of the most valiant and cunning of the Anglo-Norman commanders. His was the 4th landing in Ireland of the invasion force commanded by The Earl of Pembroke, Richard de Clare, better known as Strongbow, and De Gros was second in command to Strongbow. His mission was to secure a landing point for his leader's 5th landing party and he chose Baginbun as he knew the old promontory fort could serve as a temporary defensive camp before he moved on to attack the nearby well-defended Waterford.

Raymond de Gros
Image: Michael Harpur
De Gros only had 10 Knights and 70 archers that were added to by the arrival of, Strongbow's uncle, Hervey de Montmorency's equal numbers who following behind. On landing, he hastily set about creating a defensive boundary of banks and ditches with a palisade ditch across the width of easily defended Baginbun Head. Then he had his men raid the surrounding countryside for cattle driving a massive herd back behind his defences on the headland where they had established their camp. This not only provided his small army with supplies but also served to enraged the Waterford men. They were waiting for the ensuing battle behind their well defended and supplied walled town which left them helpless to do anything about the raids. This was what De Gros wanted as he prefered to coax them into a battle on his terms and use everything he had at his disposal to attain the upper hand.

Tomb effigy of Raymond De Gros at Molana Abbey (now lost)
Image: Public Domain
With the local Chieftans imploring them to take action the Waterford men and their allies finally decided to make a move on the raiders relying upon the advantage of their numbers. They quickly gathered their forces and an army of between 1,000 and 3,000 Norse-Irish soon arrived from Waterford. The sheer overwhelming numbers of this army descending upon the small Norman force, that would have been no more than between 100 and 200 in total, would have made the Irish confident of a walkover. But they had no idea of the formidable force they were dealing with and the well seasoned De Gros would quickly capitalise on that. The resulting battle was vicious.

De Gros first ordered his small force to launch a frontal attack on the army and then to quickly retreat, feigning panic. The untrained Waterford men fell for this bait and jubilant at the sight of the fleeing Normans, wildly charged after them out along the narrow promontory. With no armour and had very poor improvised weapons they literally ran naked throwing stones after the seasoned Norman, Welsh and Flemish mercenary forces. When the pursuit unwittingly committed them to the narrow pass leading out to the headland the Norman archers let fly and wave upon wave of helpless Irish defenders were cut down. Then De Gros stampeded out the massive heard of cattle through the following ranks that were compressing them in scattering them in disarray. Taking advantage of the confusion the heavily armed knights followed hot on the hooves on the cattle hacking and cleaving their way machine-like through the routed attackers. By the time the engagement was finished the bodies of at least 500 Norse-Gaelic dead were strewn over the headland and a further 70 were taken prisoner. They faired little better.

Raymond had hoped to use them as bargaining chips to gain ransoms from various chieftains but he was to be disappointed. At the time Norman Marcher Lords would take their lovers with them on a campaign and this was the case of Alice of Abergavenny who accompanied the landing party. Her knight was killed in the battle and in a fit of rage, Alice took an axe and set about decapitating all 70 of the Irish prisoners. One by one she took off their heads and dumped their headless corpses over the cliff. For this hot-blooded act she received the name Alice the vicious. But this was not uncommon and locals that were captured whilst the army remained on the headland for the following months had their legs broke and were hurtled into the sea for sport.


The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife by Daniel Maclise
Image: Public Domain


De Gros finally departed Baginbun when Strongbow landed at Passage East on the 23rd of August with his larger and ultimately highly-significant invasion force of 1,200 warriors. Two days later their combined forces took the City of Waterford in a bloodbath of an offensive. Aoife and Strongbow were married at Christ Church Cathedral soon after Waterford was seized. De Gros was married to Basilia de Clare, Strongbow's sister, and held the office of standard-bearer of Leinster and was for some time chief Governor of Ireland. Raymond died about A.D. 1184 and was buried in the Abbey of Molana, on the island of Darinis, on the Blackwater River, in Youghal bay.


Departure of Henry II at Waterford
Image: Public Domain


So Ireland was receiving its taste of the Norman ferocity that had cut its way like a scythe through Europe and had routed the warriors of Harold’s England. Its message was cold and simple; 'acquiesce, or be annihilated'. Surprisingly the battle fought on this remote headland Baginbun was one of the most pivotal moments of the Norman conquest of Ireland. Had De Gros' small Norman force been wiped out, it is conceivable that Richard de Clare might have lost heart in the Irish enterprise in which he went on to play a key part. And as news of the Norman successes such as this reached England, more Norman warriors made their way to Ireland. Accordingly, it is thought that this was the decisive battle that would mark the beginning of 800 years of English, and later British, rule in Ireland, inspiring the couplet 'At the creek of Baginbun, Ireland was lost and won'.


The peaceful Baginbun experienced today
Image: Michael Harpur


Today the extensive defensive earthworks and promontory fortifications that De Gros erected in Baginbun are still discernible. The bays very name originates back to the conjunction of the names of his two invading boats, Le Bag and Le Bun, 'Bagin'-'bun'. The strategic importance of the area has been recognised in the subsequent years by the construction of the Lighthouse at Hook Head and Baginbun Head’s Martello Tower, between 1804-6, during the Napoleonic period.


The Martello Tower, Baginbun's last vestige of militarism standing guard since Napoleonic times
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, Baginbun is as good a choice today as a maritime craft haven as it was for De Gros wise seamen, and it remains little altered. The raised ground above the little cove makes for a sheltered anchorage from which to endure severe southwest to westerly winds.


In addition, it offers a particularly beautiful clear-sand and secluded beach, over which the headland provides an equal measure of prevailing wind protection for beachgoers as it does for offshore vessels. A short stroll over the headland presents the even more spectacular beach that lies within the shores of Carnivan Bay. The view from Carnivan Bay over to Slade and Hook Head is breathtaking.


What facilities are available?
There is nothing at Baginbun except for a beach that does have road access to the shoreline. A 20 minute or two kilometres walk away along country lanes, is Fethard-on-sea. This village is a tourist destination with a mini supermarket, fuel, café and bars.


Any security concerns?
There has never been an issue known to have occurred at Baginbun.


With thanks to:
Declan Hearne, Long term fisherman and retired area Coastguard leader. Photography with thanks to Burke Corbett and Michael Harpur.





Baginbun, County Wexford, Ireland
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The view northward along the beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The view southward along the beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Pinnacle rock midway along the beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


View east from above the beach
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur

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