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New Ross Marina

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Overview





New Ross is situated nearly twenty miles inland from the Waterford Harbour entrance on the southeast coast of Ireland. Located on the east side of the River Barrow it is a thriving market town and harbour that caters for visitors in a marina just south of the town quays.

New Ross is situated nearly twenty miles inland from the Waterford Harbour entrance on the southeast coast of Ireland. Located on the east side of the River Barrow it is a thriving market town and harbour that caters for visitors in a marina just south of the town quays.

Being an inland river location New Ross Marina offers complete protection from all conditions. High air clearance vessels require a bridge opening, available by request, to access the River Barrow. The wide, unhindered and well-marked Waterford Harbour estuary provides safe access, night or day and at any stage of the tide.
Please note

Tidal streams are a prime consideration within Waterford Harbour; a strong adverse current will make for slow progress, conversely, a favourable passage current will make the estuary quickly traversable.




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Keyfacts for New Ross Marina



Last modified
May 29th 2020

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapWaste disposal bins availableGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers 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 locationCashpoint 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 uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: access requires lifting or swing bridge to openNote: could be two hours or more from the main waterwaysNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 23.481' N, 006° 57.117' W

On the end of the south western most pontoon in the marina.


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 New Ross Marina for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Cheekpoint - 4.5 miles SSW
  2. Buttermilk Point - 4.9 miles S
  3. Seedes Bank - 5.2 miles S
  4. Ballyhack - 5.5 miles S
  5. Arthurstown - 5.6 miles S
  6. Passage East - 5.6 miles S
  7. Little Island - 5.9 miles SSW
  8. Port of Waterford - 6 miles SW
  9. Duncannon - 6.3 miles S
  10. Dollar Bay - 7.4 miles S
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Cheekpoint - 4.5 miles SSW
  2. Buttermilk Point - 4.9 miles S
  3. Seedes Bank - 5.2 miles S
  4. Ballyhack - 5.5 miles S
  5. Arthurstown - 5.6 miles S
  6. Passage East - 5.6 miles S
  7. Little Island - 5.9 miles SSW
  8. Port of Waterford - 6 miles SW
  9. Duncannon - 6.3 miles S
  10. Dollar Bay - 7.4 miles S
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



What's the story here?
New Ross Marina
Image: insta_mavic


New Ross is situated nearly twenty miles inland from the Waterford Harbour entrance and on the east side of the River Barrow nine miles above its entrance. It is the third-largest town in the county of Wexford, after Wexford and Enniscorthy, and a commercial port.


New Ross Marina
Image: Michael Harpur


There are no designated anchorages at New Ross and the town receives its visitors in New Ross Marina. Formerly known as the Three Sisters Marina, the small modern 66 berth facility is situated below the town quays on the east side of the river. The river is deep to New Ross supporting draught 6.5 metres during springs, and 5.2 metres neaps to the town quays. Likewise, the marina has 2.9 metres at LWS on the outside of the Hammerheads.

New Ross Marina is operated by Wexford County Council and although not continually staffed it is accessible 24 hours a day. The marina manager will provide berthing instructions over the phone during working hours. The office may be contacted by mobile phone Mobile+353 (0)86 3889652, E-mailnewrossmarina@wexfordcoco.ie. The marina does not maintain a VHF watch but New Ross Port, also called Port of New Ross, does and can be availed of for advice. Run by Port of Waterford, it shares the port's VHF Ch. 14 working channel and can be raised by the callsign [Ross Harbour]. It is advisable to notify them of your intention to proceed upriver and to check if they have any planned ship movements. The current berthing fees are posted on the New Ross Marina Rates Page External link.

The Barrow Railway Bridge, with a clearance of about 7.9 metres above the high water mark, will need to be open to permit vessels carrying any draft to enter the river. The bridge will open for yachts heading to/from New Ross but requires advance notice (6-24 hours) and again when an hour away from the bridge. The bridge may be contacted by their mobile phone Mobile+353 (0)86 8167826.

Being a long 4-hour trek from the open sea to New Ross it would be prudent to contact the marina manager, Aidan Bates, in advance to make berthing arrangements.


How to get in?
Cheekpoint with Kilmokea Power Station and the Barrow bridge opening to the
north

Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the Port of Waterford Click to view haven for details of seaward approaches, entry to Waterford Harbour and the run up the estuary to the Barrow Bridge. After rounding Cheekpoint, Kilmokea Power Station and the 14 span Barrow railway swing bridge reveal themselves at the confluence of the river Suir and Barrow. Access to the River Barrow requires a passage underneath the Barrow Bridge.


The 14 span Barrow Railway Bridge as seen from Cheekpoint
Image: Michael Harpur


This is a relatively high steel railway bridge that even when closed enables moderately high craft, about 7.9 metres above the high water mark, to pass unhindered beneath it. Anything higher will require the bridge to be opened which is available upon request. Phone the bridge staff Mobile+353 (0)86 816 7826 6-24 hours prior to the planned passage and notify them of the expected time of transit. A second call is often suggested when the vessel is an hour off of arrival. It is also advisable at this point to notify Port of New Ross of your intention to proceed upriver and to check if they have any planned ship movements, [Ross Harbour] VHF Ch. 14.


Barrow Railway Bridge turning section
Image: Michael Harpur


As the currents are strong here, it is important to line up early for the correct arch and the bridge swivels from a control section that is the third section from the western side. This is made readily apparent by its high control room set on the top of the turning section.


Barrow Railway Bridge with the turning section open
Image: Michael Harpur


When the bridge opens pass through as directed by the signage. There is a separate arch for upstream and downstream traffic that pass either side of the central swivel column; pass to port in both cases - ascending vessels passing through the east opening, descending vessels passing through the west opening. As large ships use the facility the correct opening is clearly marked and wide.
Please note

Do call in advance and try to make a subsequent courtesy call of thanks to put leisure sailors in good standing.




The River Barrow
Image: Michael Harpur


From the bridge, it is simply a matter of following the buoyed shipping channel up to New Ross a distance of nine miles up the River Barrow. The marks commence immediately upriver of the bridge and continue as far as Marshmeadows Oil Jetty situated ½ a mile downriver of the town and marina. The buoys have some distance between them at times where the normal best practice of keeping to the outside of the rivers bends applies so expect some doglegged between marks to find the deepest water.


River Barrow currents
Image: Burke Corbett


A least depth of 2.7 metres will be found all the way to the Oil Jetty with a least depth of 2 metres in the path from there to the marina.
Please note

The trek to New Ross is tidal all the way and the assistance of a favourable tide would be highly beneficial. A helmsman should be prepared to meet large commercial ships at any turn of the river.




Astern view back towards the Barrow Bridge from Ferry Point
Image: Burke Corbett


Immediately above the bridge, the deep water channel runs close along the western shore, following the marks the first leg takes a vessel up to Ferry Point. Four parallel overhead power cables with a clearance of 40 metres cross the river immediately south of Ferry Point.




The course through the next reach is northeast by east for 1½ miles to Dollar Point. Here the river expands and becomes very shallow at points so it is important to adhere to the channel marks.




Between Dollar Point and Black Rock, the deep water channel runs close along the eastern shore, with the opposite shore encircled by the Rochestown Spit which is a sandbank that dries half-way across the river.


Annaghs Castle will be seen near a port buoy after rounding Marsh Point
Image: Burke Corbett

A little above Black Rock there is a convenient anchorage in Kearney Bay. In the past sailing vessels discharged part of their cargoes here before proceeding to New Ross.


Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge
Image: An Dearthoir via CC BY ASA 4.0


A new road bridge, opened in 2020, called the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge now crosses the river Barrow at Pink Point. It extends more than 300 metres over the river provides about 30 metres of air clearance.

At Stokestown Point, 2 miles above, the river bends suddenly to southeast-by-east for ¾ of a mile, with the deep water in the middle. Rounding Marsh Point, where Annaghs Castle will be seen near a port buoy, the river then resumes its northeasterly direction where there is no danger in a mid-channel course as far as Marshmeadows Oil Jetty.


Silos and tanks opposite Marshmeadows oil jetty signal New Ross is close
Image: Keith James


The western side of the river will provide the best water up to the marina. The harbour consists of quays on both sides of the River extending for about ½ a mile downstream from the road bridge.


New Ross Marina
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location New Ross Marina is south of the town, on the east bank a ⅓ of a mile below O'Hanrahan Bridge. Berth as arranged with the marina manager. The visitor berths are normally found on the outer hammerhead where notices on charges and instructions regarding access to the shower and toilet facilities are posted.

O'Hanrahan Bridge
Image: Michael Harpur


O'Hanrahan Bridge marks the effective head of navigation for vessels carrying any air draft but low vessels may continue upriver from New Ross. The bridge has a clearance of approximately 3 metres HAT and the confluence of Barrow River's tributary the Nore is about two miles further along. The Nore provides a draught of 0.5 metres LAT to Inistioge about 7 miles further upriver to the northwest. The Barrow continues eastward and then snakes for about 9 miles to St Mullin in Carlow with a similar depth to the Nore. Both have pools where a vessel might easily lie afloat.

There is a lock at St Mullin from which it is possible to enter the inland waterways. This is a network of canals and rivers that will take a vessel as far as Dublin in the east, Limerick in the west or Enniskillen in the north. This is by the Barrow Navigation, Grand Canal, River Shannon, Erne navigation and the relatively recently reopened Royal Canal. More information is available on Waterford Harbour's three sisters upper reaches in the inland waterway's the Barrow, Suir and Nore External link.


Why visit here?
New Ross derives its name from a shortened version of the Irish name Ros Mhic Thriúin, the 'Wood of the Son of Treon'. The name would change variously down through early names as the town and its bridge developed during Norman times from Nova Villa Pontis, that became Ros ponte. In the 13th-century it took on its modern name of New Ross, to indicate the town of the new bridge, so as to distinguish it from Old Ross that was situated five miles to the east.

William Marshall
Image: Public Domain
Standing on a steep hill on the eastern bank of the River Barrow, New Ross could never be described as an elegant town, but it is an excellent boating location that has featured prominently in the history of Ireland. The earliest settlement here dates back to the 4th-century when St. Abban of Magheranoidhe (circa 570-16 March 620) founded a monastery in what is now Irishtown. St. Abban was the son of Cormac, King of Leinster, and a nephew of Wexford’s apostle of St. Ibar who was a predecessor and contemporary of St Patrick. St Abban founded numerous churches in Wexford with his principal monastery at Magheranoidhe, subsequently known as Abbanstown, today Adamstown. The New Ross monastery flourished and afterwards became a famous scholastic establishment. The original earthen banked circular enclosure of the monastery was visible in the towns Irishtown graveyard until recent developments covered it. Outside of the writings of St Abban little, however, is known of the town’s pre-Norman times save that it was the territory of Dermot McMurrough and came to prominence when the Anglo-Normans conquered the region.

It was the Normans that would transform the town after their conquest of the region. This is what is now called Old Ross that was founded between 1192 and 1207 by the Earl of Pembroke and Seneschal of Leinster. It was the first Irish town they developed and they secured it with an earthen defensive structure called a motte. It was after the arrival of the Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman William Marshal that the town took off.

Richard de Clare, Strongbow, marrying Aoife
Image: Public Domain
William Marshal’s is a good story. He rose from relative obscurity by dint of courage, luck, ambition, knightly prowess, an odd mix of steadfastness and calculation to become one of the great magnates of England. Knighted in 1166, he spent his younger years as a knight errant and a successful tournament competitor he served four kings in his time, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, John, and Henry III. William joined the court of King Henry II in 1185 and served as a loyal captain through the many difficulties of Henry’s final years. In return for legendary loyalty and military accomplishments, Henry II promised Marshal the hand and estates of Isabel de Clare but he died in July 1189 before his promise was carried out. The new King Richard I was not foolish enough to exclude a powerful military man; especially not whilst intending to go on Crusade. He confirmed the offer and so in August 1189 Marshal, at the age of 43, married the 17-year-old Isabel de Clare.

Isabel was the daughter of Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow, the Norman leader of Ireland’s conquest, and Aoife who was the daughter Diarmait MacMurrough the deposed and then later reinstated Norman King of Leinster who invited the invasion. This was a very significant marriage as it gave Marshal the title of '1st Earl of Pembroke' providing him with large estates that included claims in England, Wales, and Normandy as well as Ireland. Therein the landless knight from a minor family was transformed into one of the richest men in the kingdom and accended to hold great power and prestige at court.

Tapestry depicting of Marshall marrying Isabel de Clare
Image: Public Domain


Marshall planned to use New Ross to serve as a port for the lands of the Barrow, Nore and Suir valleys. Its development centred on the river Barrow crossing being at a key central point just two miles below the junction of the Barrow with the Nore. This crossing point was initially a loose pontoon erected to ferry people and goods that quickly became an important axis between the important towns of Wexford and Waterford. New Ross was granted a Royal Charter in 1207 and by 1210 William Marshall had by then built a fine wooden bridge across the river that was regarded as one of the wonders of the time. Over the years, seven bridges have come to span the River Barrow to connect the port of New Ross with Rosbercon on the western shore. At various stages through the centuries, the bridges collapsed due to neglect or were destroyed by armies, were rebuilt or had a ferry service maintaining military and economic ties.


By the first half of the 13th-century, New Ross had also established itself as a successful port. With his connections at court, Marshall gained port concessions from King John in 1215 and these were renewed again after his death in 1227. These were later revoked by Henry III and Edward I to protect the port of Waterford. But even with these handicaps, the 13th-century customs returns indicate that New Ross was Ireland's busiest port and French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were spoken almost as commonly on the streets of the town as English and Irish.

Remains of New Ross' old towers
Image: Michael Harpur


Restrictions were lifted in the 14th century by Edward II and Edward III and the town prospered and expanded with an influx of merchants, pirates, tradesmen, religious orders, and merchant bankers. In 1265 these denizens found it necessary to build town walls to protect themselves from local Gaelic chieftains, particularly the McMurrough-Kavanaghs, and feuding Norman families. The building of the wall, including towers and gates, was a community effort and despite these efforts, the town was forced to pay for 'protection'.


The defences were called into play during the 1640s Irish Confederate Wars, also known as The Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The town was defended by Kilkenny Confederacy troops under Thomas Preston, 1st Viscount Tara, commander of the Leinster Army of the Irish Confederacy. The walls of New Ross resisted the March 1643 siege by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. The fighting to take the town was fierce, with the defenders inflicting substantial casualties on the besiegers. Having had to lift the siege, Ormonde attempted to return to Dublin via the northwest Blackstairs Mountains, where he was foolishly intercepted by Preston seeking to further his advantage. Preston’s forces vastly outnumbered Ormonde’s but Ormonde still had cannons that destroyed the Confederates at the 'Battle of Ballinvegga', that became known as the 'First Battle of New Ross' in the advent of the later notorious 1798 Battle of New Ross. Following some confused fighting, largely due to the rough terrain, the cannons reeked carnage on Preston forces killing as many as 500 at the cost of less than 20 of his own men. This caused a rout of his forces leaving Ormonde to observe the devastation inflicted by his artillery, two large culverins and four smaller pieces,... what Godlie men and horses lay there all torn, and their gutts lying on the ground, arms cast away and strewed over the fields.


Three Bullet Gate Memorial
Image: Michael Harpur


Not long after, in 1649 the walls of New Ross were not used to defend against the forces of Oliver Cromwell during his vicious conquest of Ireland. Fresh from capturing Wexford Town, having slaughtered many of its inhabitants, he discharged three cannon shots at the Aldgate entrance called Bewley Gate. New Ross wisely surrendered, and the garrison under Lucas Taffe was allowed to leave unharmed. Bewley Gate was a corruption of an Irish word Buaile, an area to which cows were brought to provide milk for the townspeople, afterwards became known as the 'Three Bullet Gate'. It entered the annals of history during the Wexford Rising of 1798 and the legendary 'Battle of New Ross'.


The Battle of Ross 1798
Image: Public Domain


The insurrection was fuelled partially by the ethos of the French Revolution and fought more than 150 years later. The recently victorious United Irishmen rebels were trying to take the town to break the rebellion out of County Wexford and across the river Barrow to county Kilkenny and the outlying province of Munster. At sunrise on June 5th, 10,000 poorly armed rebels, massed outside New Ross. The leader, Bagenal Harvey, attempted to negotiate the surrender of the British garrison of 2,000 regular soldiers, militia and yeomanry who had well-prepared defences both outside and inside the town. However, the rebel emissary was shot down by Crown outposts whilst bearing a flag of truce. This provoked a furious charge of an advance guard of 500 rebels who drove a herd of cattle through the 'Three Bullet Gate'. Another rebel column attacked the Priory Gate and a diversionary cavalry charge from the Market Gate was broken with massed pikes from the greater body of the rebel forces. Then the rebels broke through the Market Gate and charged down the steeply sloping streets.


1798 memorial New Ross
Image: Michael Harpur


Despite the strong resistance of the well-armed defending soldiers and horrific rebel casualties, they, largely by weight of numbers, managed to seize two-thirds of the town. Close to victory, but not close enough, the rebels, armed with homemade long-handled pikes were eventually beaten back by the Kings trained troops and artillery. Following the arrival of reinforcements, the crown forces launched a series of counter-attacks where the well-armed soldiers succeeded in driving away the exhausted pike-wielding rebels to fully recapture the town.


Inscription at the foot of the 1798 memorial
Image: Michael Harpur


It was the bloodiest encounter of the rising, bodies, blown apart by grapeshot or run through with pikes, lay piled up on the streets and around the gate by the end of the day. No effort was then made to pursue the withdrawing rebels. Rather, when the town was fully secured, an atrocious massacre of prisoners, trapped rebels and civilians of both sympathies alike, was the focus of the victorious troops. It would continue for days. One of the most notable acts of the was the torching of the casualty stations. Hundreds were burned alive and the screams of the injured could be heard all around the town. An entry in the Augustinian Friary’s church Mass Book for 5 June 1798 reads "Hodie hostis rebellis repulsa est ab obsidione oppidi cum magna caede, puta 3000"[today, the rebel enemy was driven back from the assault of the town with great slaughter [carnage], estimated at 3,000]. Casualties in the Battle of New Ross are estimated at 2,800 to 3,000 Rebels with 200 Garrison soilder killed. The vast majority of the casualties occurred in the aftermath rather than during the actual storming of the town.

New Ross in 1832
Image: Public Domain
The following 18th and 19th centuries would be prosperous times for New Ross driven largely by the colonisation of North America. Local merchants sailed their own ships back and forth to the colonies often carrying Irish emigrants. Thousands of people left the quayside over the years to start new lives in Britain, America, Newfoundland, Canada and Australia. The most famous emigrants were Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, great-grandparents of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. President Kennedy returned to visit his ancestral home in June 1963.


Dunbrody with its visitor centre
Image: Michael Harpur


Today a replica of one of those ships, the Dunbrody, is now berthed on the New Ross quay and the boat with a visitor centre alongside is just a short stroll from the marina. It offers an insight into life as a passenger during the late 19th-century. The vessel is an accurate, full size, ocean-going recreation of the actual timber-built ship, which played a leading part in the 19th-century emigration to the USA. Narrated tours bring alive the history and conditions endured during the turbulent famine period. It is also the centre of a major national festival, held on the 3rd weekend in July each year, called the 'JFK Dunbrody Festival' that celebrates the famine ship and attracts crowds in excess of 25,000. An Eternal Flame, lit from President John F Kennedy's US graveside, and brought is the navy to New Ross remembers the diaspora.

Dunbrody Famine Ship living museum actor
Image: Tourism Ireland



New Ross is now a thriving market and commercial town with the larger portion of the town connected by O'Hanrahan Bridge with the smaller, named Rosbercon, on the west bank. O'Hanrahan Bridge is named after Michael O'Hanrahan who was born in New Ross and was one of the freedom fighters executed in 1916. Although it is over 30km from the sea, the Port of New Ross continues to be a commercial port capable of handling container or bulk cargoes and is today Ireland's only inland port. But New Ross has many attractions apart from the excellent boating facilities and provisioning capabilities.


The Emigrant Flame on the quay
Image: Tourism Ireland


The New Ross 'journey can be the reward' for any of its visitors by boat. The River Barrow is considered one of Ireland's most scenic and picturesque inland waterways. At 192 kilometres, it is the second-longest river in Ireland after the River Shannon and is particularly beautiful. There are extensive dyke and drainage systems along the river that both improve navigation and protect the adjacent agricultural lands from flooding. At times they provide an impression of elevation making it feel as if the river is higher than the adjacent farmlands. Several ruins of lime-kilns and old tower houses will also be passed along the river making it an interesting trek. Taking a vessel deep inland, through some of Ireland’s most scenic countryside, the trip up the Barrow is a joy of itself.


Kennedy Family Memorial on Quay, statue of JFK
Image: Michael Harpur


The nearby Kennedy Homestead, the birthplace of JFK’s great-grandfather is a must-visit. This park celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and it is a place of great natural beauty and serenity. The Kennedy Homestead is about 6km from the marina so transport will be required to get there. Likewise, the J.F. Kennedy Arboretum on Slieve Coillte overlooking the homestead and the river Barrow about 12 km from the marina, should not be missed if visiting the area.


Ros Tapastry telling the Norman story
Image: Michael Harpur


The 'Ros Tapestry' is housed on the quay, a must-see national treasure. Sixteen years in the making it is a series of tapestries depicting the Norman experience and the consequential development of New Ross as a port. St Mary’s Abbey, located in Church Lane and credited to William Marshall and his wife Isabella, is also a recommended visit. It dates from between 1207 and 1220. The ruins are reasonably well preserved and contain some very interesting medieval tombs and plaques.


Ros Tapastry
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, save for the long trek to the berth, New Ross has everything a vessel needs. A perfectly protected marina with a full-service boatyard just downstream of the town that can take care of all cruising vessel needs. There is excellent provisioning via a choice of supermarkets a short walk from the pontoon and great bus connections nationwide.


What facilities are available?
The marina provides electrical shore power, mains water, rubbish disposal and recycling facilities plus toilets and shower facilities just outside the secure area in a nearby public park. Diesel and petrol can be obtained in jerry cans by arrangement with the marina manager, or from the 24 hour filling station opposite the marina gate. This service station also supplies Gas and has a small grocery and newsagent.

Alongside the marina is a major lift-out facility catering for vessels up to 50 tonnes. The facility provides hard-standing on concrete and being upriver it is a well-sheltered location to winter a vessel ashore. A slipway with tidal access is located at the New Ross Boat Club.

The small town has a population of about 7,000 inhabitants and services the local rural area. As such it has banks, post offices, and launderettes, with a choice of two major supermarkets within 300 metres of the marina, also several bars and restaurants. Beside the Dunbrody is a tourist information centre that will help plan a visit.

Access is good as the bridge that crosses the Rive Barrow above the marina is the important N25 road linking Cork, Waterford City 18 km (11 mi) away and Rosslare Harbour 40 km (25 mi) away. The nearest airport is Waterford Airport that is located about 27 km (17 mi) from New Ross. There are express bus services to Dublin, Waterford and a Rosslare - Cork - Killarney and Tralee main route. Other freelance bus services operate from the quay adjacent to the bridge. A choice of car hire companies operate from here plus taxi services.


Any security concerns?
New Ross Three Sisters Marina is a secured facility.


With thanks to:
John Diamond and Aidan Bates the New Ross Three Sisters Marina manager. Photographs Michael Harpur, Suckingdiesel, Cletjan and Keith James.






















New Ross Aerial




An epic contemporary ballad of Irish emigration


About New Ross Marina

New Ross derives its name from a shortened version of the Irish name Ros Mhic Thriúin, the 'Wood of the Son of Treon'. The name would change variously down through early names as the town and its bridge developed during Norman times from Nova Villa Pontis, that became Ros ponte. In the 13th-century it took on its modern name of New Ross, to indicate the town of the new bridge, so as to distinguish it from Old Ross that was situated five miles to the east.

William Marshall
Image: Public Domain
Standing on a steep hill on the eastern bank of the River Barrow, New Ross could never be described as an elegant town, but it is an excellent boating location that has featured prominently in the history of Ireland. The earliest settlement here dates back to the 4th-century when St. Abban of Magheranoidhe (circa 570-16 March 620) founded a monastery in what is now Irishtown. St. Abban was the son of Cormac, King of Leinster, and a nephew of Wexford’s apostle of St. Ibar who was a predecessor and contemporary of St Patrick. St Abban founded numerous churches in Wexford with his principal monastery at Magheranoidhe, subsequently known as Abbanstown, today Adamstown. The New Ross monastery flourished and afterwards became a famous scholastic establishment. The original earthen banked circular enclosure of the monastery was visible in the towns Irishtown graveyard until recent developments covered it. Outside of the writings of St Abban little, however, is known of the town’s pre-Norman times save that it was the territory of Dermot McMurrough and came to prominence when the Anglo-Normans conquered the region.

It was the Normans that would transform the town after their conquest of the region. This is what is now called Old Ross that was founded between 1192 and 1207 by the Earl of Pembroke and Seneschal of Leinster. It was the first Irish town they developed and they secured it with an earthen defensive structure called a motte. It was after the arrival of the Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman William Marshal that the town took off.

Richard de Clare, Strongbow, marrying Aoife
Image: Public Domain
William Marshal’s is a good story. He rose from relative obscurity by dint of courage, luck, ambition, knightly prowess, an odd mix of steadfastness and calculation to become one of the great magnates of England. Knighted in 1166, he spent his younger years as a knight errant and a successful tournament competitor he served four kings in his time, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, John, and Henry III. William joined the court of King Henry II in 1185 and served as a loyal captain through the many difficulties of Henry’s final years. In return for legendary loyalty and military accomplishments, Henry II promised Marshal the hand and estates of Isabel de Clare but he died in July 1189 before his promise was carried out. The new King Richard I was not foolish enough to exclude a powerful military man; especially not whilst intending to go on Crusade. He confirmed the offer and so in August 1189 Marshal, at the age of 43, married the 17-year-old Isabel de Clare.

Isabel was the daughter of Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow, the Norman leader of Ireland’s conquest, and Aoife who was the daughter Diarmait MacMurrough the deposed and then later reinstated Norman King of Leinster who invited the invasion. This was a very significant marriage as it gave Marshal the title of '1st Earl of Pembroke' providing him with large estates that included claims in England, Wales, and Normandy as well as Ireland. Therein the landless knight from a minor family was transformed into one of the richest men in the kingdom and accended to hold great power and prestige at court.

Tapestry depicting of Marshall marrying Isabel de Clare
Image: Public Domain


Marshall planned to use New Ross to serve as a port for the lands of the Barrow, Nore and Suir valleys. Its development centred on the river Barrow crossing being at a key central point just two miles below the junction of the Barrow with the Nore. This crossing point was initially a loose pontoon erected to ferry people and goods that quickly became an important axis between the important towns of Wexford and Waterford. New Ross was granted a Royal Charter in 1207 and by 1210 William Marshall had by then built a fine wooden bridge across the river that was regarded as one of the wonders of the time. Over the years, seven bridges have come to span the River Barrow to connect the port of New Ross with Rosbercon on the western shore. At various stages through the centuries, the bridges collapsed due to neglect or were destroyed by armies, were rebuilt or had a ferry service maintaining military and economic ties.


By the first half of the 13th-century, New Ross had also established itself as a successful port. With his connections at court, Marshall gained port concessions from King John in 1215 and these were renewed again after his death in 1227. These were later revoked by Henry III and Edward I to protect the port of Waterford. But even with these handicaps, the 13th-century customs returns indicate that New Ross was Ireland's busiest port and French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were spoken almost as commonly on the streets of the town as English and Irish.

Remains of New Ross' old towers
Image: Michael Harpur


Restrictions were lifted in the 14th century by Edward II and Edward III and the town prospered and expanded with an influx of merchants, pirates, tradesmen, religious orders, and merchant bankers. In 1265 these denizens found it necessary to build town walls to protect themselves from local Gaelic chieftains, particularly the McMurrough-Kavanaghs, and feuding Norman families. The building of the wall, including towers and gates, was a community effort and despite these efforts, the town was forced to pay for 'protection'.


The defences were called into play during the 1640s Irish Confederate Wars, also known as The Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The town was defended by Kilkenny Confederacy troops under Thomas Preston, 1st Viscount Tara, commander of the Leinster Army of the Irish Confederacy. The walls of New Ross resisted the March 1643 siege by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. The fighting to take the town was fierce, with the defenders inflicting substantial casualties on the besiegers. Having had to lift the siege, Ormonde attempted to return to Dublin via the northwest Blackstairs Mountains, where he was foolishly intercepted by Preston seeking to further his advantage. Preston’s forces vastly outnumbered Ormonde’s but Ormonde still had cannons that destroyed the Confederates at the 'Battle of Ballinvegga', that became known as the 'First Battle of New Ross' in the advent of the later notorious 1798 Battle of New Ross. Following some confused fighting, largely due to the rough terrain, the cannons reeked carnage on Preston forces killing as many as 500 at the cost of less than 20 of his own men. This caused a rout of his forces leaving Ormonde to observe the devastation inflicted by his artillery, two large culverins and four smaller pieces,... what Godlie men and horses lay there all torn, and their gutts lying on the ground, arms cast away and strewed over the fields.


Three Bullet Gate Memorial
Image: Michael Harpur


Not long after, in 1649 the walls of New Ross were not used to defend against the forces of Oliver Cromwell during his vicious conquest of Ireland. Fresh from capturing Wexford Town, having slaughtered many of its inhabitants, he discharged three cannon shots at the Aldgate entrance called Bewley Gate. New Ross wisely surrendered, and the garrison under Lucas Taffe was allowed to leave unharmed. Bewley Gate was a corruption of an Irish word Buaile, an area to which cows were brought to provide milk for the townspeople, afterwards became known as the 'Three Bullet Gate'. It entered the annals of history during the Wexford Rising of 1798 and the legendary 'Battle of New Ross'.


The Battle of Ross 1798
Image: Public Domain


The insurrection was fuelled partially by the ethos of the French Revolution and fought more than 150 years later. The recently victorious United Irishmen rebels were trying to take the town to break the rebellion out of County Wexford and across the river Barrow to county Kilkenny and the outlying province of Munster. At sunrise on June 5th, 10,000 poorly armed rebels, massed outside New Ross. The leader, Bagenal Harvey, attempted to negotiate the surrender of the British garrison of 2,000 regular soldiers, militia and yeomanry who had well-prepared defences both outside and inside the town. However, the rebel emissary was shot down by Crown outposts whilst bearing a flag of truce. This provoked a furious charge of an advance guard of 500 rebels who drove a herd of cattle through the 'Three Bullet Gate'. Another rebel column attacked the Priory Gate and a diversionary cavalry charge from the Market Gate was broken with massed pikes from the greater body of the rebel forces. Then the rebels broke through the Market Gate and charged down the steeply sloping streets.


1798 memorial New Ross
Image: Michael Harpur


Despite the strong resistance of the well-armed defending soldiers and horrific rebel casualties, they, largely by weight of numbers, managed to seize two-thirds of the town. Close to victory, but not close enough, the rebels, armed with homemade long-handled pikes were eventually beaten back by the Kings trained troops and artillery. Following the arrival of reinforcements, the crown forces launched a series of counter-attacks where the well-armed soldiers succeeded in driving away the exhausted pike-wielding rebels to fully recapture the town.


Inscription at the foot of the 1798 memorial
Image: Michael Harpur


It was the bloodiest encounter of the rising, bodies, blown apart by grapeshot or run through with pikes, lay piled up on the streets and around the gate by the end of the day. No effort was then made to pursue the withdrawing rebels. Rather, when the town was fully secured, an atrocious massacre of prisoners, trapped rebels and civilians of both sympathies alike, was the focus of the victorious troops. It would continue for days. One of the most notable acts of the was the torching of the casualty stations. Hundreds were burned alive and the screams of the injured could be heard all around the town. An entry in the Augustinian Friary’s church Mass Book for 5 June 1798 reads "Hodie hostis rebellis repulsa est ab obsidione oppidi cum magna caede, puta 3000"[today, the rebel enemy was driven back from the assault of the town with great slaughter [carnage], estimated at 3,000]. Casualties in the Battle of New Ross are estimated at 2,800 to 3,000 Rebels with 200 Garrison soilder killed. The vast majority of the casualties occurred in the aftermath rather than during the actual storming of the town.

New Ross in 1832
Image: Public Domain
The following 18th and 19th centuries would be prosperous times for New Ross driven largely by the colonisation of North America. Local merchants sailed their own ships back and forth to the colonies often carrying Irish emigrants. Thousands of people left the quayside over the years to start new lives in Britain, America, Newfoundland, Canada and Australia. The most famous emigrants were Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, great-grandparents of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. President Kennedy returned to visit his ancestral home in June 1963.


Dunbrody with its visitor centre
Image: Michael Harpur


Today a replica of one of those ships, the Dunbrody, is now berthed on the New Ross quay and the boat with a visitor centre alongside is just a short stroll from the marina. It offers an insight into life as a passenger during the late 19th-century. The vessel is an accurate, full size, ocean-going recreation of the actual timber-built ship, which played a leading part in the 19th-century emigration to the USA. Narrated tours bring alive the history and conditions endured during the turbulent famine period. It is also the centre of a major national festival, held on the 3rd weekend in July each year, called the 'JFK Dunbrody Festival' that celebrates the famine ship and attracts crowds in excess of 25,000. An Eternal Flame, lit from President John F Kennedy's US graveside, and brought is the navy to New Ross remembers the diaspora.

Dunbrody Famine Ship living museum actor
Image: Tourism Ireland



New Ross is now a thriving market and commercial town with the larger portion of the town connected by O'Hanrahan Bridge with the smaller, named Rosbercon, on the west bank. O'Hanrahan Bridge is named after Michael O'Hanrahan who was born in New Ross and was one of the freedom fighters executed in 1916. Although it is over 30km from the sea, the Port of New Ross continues to be a commercial port capable of handling container or bulk cargoes and is today Ireland's only inland port. But New Ross has many attractions apart from the excellent boating facilities and provisioning capabilities.


The Emigrant Flame on the quay
Image: Tourism Ireland


The New Ross 'journey can be the reward' for any of its visitors by boat. The River Barrow is considered one of Ireland's most scenic and picturesque inland waterways. At 192 kilometres, it is the second-longest river in Ireland after the River Shannon and is particularly beautiful. There are extensive dyke and drainage systems along the river that both improve navigation and protect the adjacent agricultural lands from flooding. At times they provide an impression of elevation making it feel as if the river is higher than the adjacent farmlands. Several ruins of lime-kilns and old tower houses will also be passed along the river making it an interesting trek. Taking a vessel deep inland, through some of Ireland’s most scenic countryside, the trip up the Barrow is a joy of itself.


Kennedy Family Memorial on Quay, statue of JFK
Image: Michael Harpur


The nearby Kennedy Homestead, the birthplace of JFK’s great-grandfather is a must-visit. This park celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and it is a place of great natural beauty and serenity. The Kennedy Homestead is about 6km from the marina so transport will be required to get there. Likewise, the J.F. Kennedy Arboretum on Slieve Coillte overlooking the homestead and the river Barrow about 12 km from the marina, should not be missed if visiting the area.


Ros Tapastry telling the Norman story
Image: Michael Harpur


The 'Ros Tapestry' is housed on the quay, a must-see national treasure. Sixteen years in the making it is a series of tapestries depicting the Norman experience and the consequential development of New Ross as a port. St Mary’s Abbey, located in Church Lane and credited to William Marshall and his wife Isabella, is also a recommended visit. It dates from between 1207 and 1220. The ruins are reasonably well preserved and contain some very interesting medieval tombs and plaques.


Ros Tapastry
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, save for the long trek to the berth, New Ross has everything a vessel needs. A perfectly protected marina with a full-service boatyard just downstream of the town that can take care of all cruising vessel needs. There is excellent provisioning via a choice of supermarkets a short walk from the pontoon and great bus connections nationwide.

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:
Port of Waterford - 6 miles SW
Little Island - 5.9 miles SSW
Cheekpoint - 4.5 miles SSW
Passage East - 5.6 miles S
Creadan Head - 7.8 miles S
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Buttermilk Point - 4.9 miles S
Seedes Bank - 5.2 miles S
Ballyhack - 5.5 miles S
Arthurstown - 5.6 miles S
Duncannon - 6.3 miles S

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for New Ross Marina.




































































New Ross Aerial




An epic contemporary ballad of Irish emigration



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