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Magilligan Point

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Overview





Magilligan Point is situated on the north coast of Ireland immediately inside the entrance to Lough Foyle. It is a remote anchorage alongside a ferry terminal on the lough’s northeast shore.

Set inside the north end of the Lough Foyle estuary under the lee of Magilligan Point, this is a good anchorage which affords good shelter in an east to northeast winds in all reasonable conditions. The well-marked ¾ of a mile wide commercial shipping channel supported by a lighthouse with a sectored light provides safe access in all reasonable conditions and although tidal streams are occasionally strong, the anchorage is accessible at all states of the tide.
Please note

Please do not obstruct the passenger ferry that plies between Magilligan Ferry Terminal and Greencastle. Vessels operating in the Lough Foyle area should maintain a listening watch on the primary Foyle VHF Channel 14.




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Keyfacts for Magilligan Point
Facilities
Slipway availablePublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant 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 tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic 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
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary

A good location with safe access.

Facilities
Slipway availablePublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant 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 tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic 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

55° 11.440' N, 006° 58.130' W

This is approximately 100 metres southwest of the Magilligan Ferry Terminal that has a light on the end of the jetty 2F.R(vert)4m2M.

What are the initial fixes?

The following waypoints will set up a final approach:

(i) Lough Foyle North Channel Initial Fix

55° 14.155' N, 006° 53.700' W

One mile east of Inishowen Head and 400 metres northwest of Red Tuns Light (port hand) Buoy F1. R.3s. It is set on the 222° line of bearing of the Martello tower on Magilligan Point that leads into the North Channel.

(ii) Lough Foyle South Channel Initial Fix

55° 11.760' N, 006° 57.084' W

Midway between the shore and the southern edge of the Tuns Bank in the narrowest part of the South Channel in approximately 10 metres of water.
Please note

Initial fixes only set up their listed targets. Do not plan to sail directly between initial fixes as a routing sequence.




What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location.

  • Lough Foyle’s approaches, the run up the lough to the River Foyle and beyond are detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) Click to view haven entry.

  • Once within the entrance to the lough make for the Magilligan Point pile structure light beacon and the Ferry Terminal. Best depths are to be found beyond 150 metres of the Magilligan Point shoreline and light structure.


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 Magilligan Point for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Greencastle - 0.5 miles NW
  2. Silver Strand - 0.7 miles NNE
  3. Cornashamma Bay - 0.9 miles NNE
  4. Moville - 1.6 miles W
  5. White Bay - 1.6 miles NNE
  6. Portnocker - 1.8 miles NNE
  7. Carrickarory Pier - 1.9 miles W
  8. Portkill - 2 miles NNE
  9. Kinnagoe Bay - 2.7 miles NNW
  10. Tremone Bay - 3.7 miles NW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Greencastle - 0.5 miles NW
  2. Silver Strand - 0.7 miles NNE
  3. Cornashamma Bay - 0.9 miles NNE
  4. Moville - 1.6 miles W
  5. White Bay - 1.6 miles NNE
  6. Portnocker - 1.8 miles NNE
  7. Carrickarory Pier - 1.9 miles W
  8. Portkill - 2 miles NNE
  9. Kinnagoe Bay - 2.7 miles NNW
  10. Tremone Bay - 3.7 miles NW
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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How to get in?


Magilligan Point is a low, sandy foreland at the entrance to Lough Foyle. It has a few houses and a pier for a passenger ferry that plies its way between Magilligan and Greencastle on the opposite side of the entrance.


Convergance Point Entered between Magilligan Point and the Inishowen shore, Lough Foyle’s approaches and the run up the lough to the River Foyle and beyond are detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) Click to view haven entry.


From the entrance it is simply a matter of making for the Magilligan Point pile structure light beacon off the point Q.R. 7m 4M and the Ferry Terminal. Best depths are to be found beyond 150 metres of the Magilligan Point shoreline.


If approaching close to the Magilligan Light beacon, Q.R.7m4M, make allowance for a shallow patch that extends 200 metres southwest of the marker and do not turn in early. Likewise, there is a drying patch 800 metres further west by southwest so it is just as important not to overrun the turning to the jetty and anchorage.


A good track can be made by keeping the Magilligan light structure 200 metres to port and then slowly drifting south until a track aligns between the light structure and the white tower of Warren Point on the Inishowen shoreline. Once in line proceed along this astern alignment until the Martello Tower on Magilligan Point, conspicuous with a row of cottages standing near, comes at right angles abeam.

At this point, it is safe to steer directly for the outer end of the Magilligan Ferry Terminal that has a light 2F.R (vert) 4m2M



Haven location Anchor southwest of Magilligan Ferry Terminal. Do not go much beyond the end of the terminal, as it gets shallow quickly, and set the anchor well in as there is a strong tide in the area. Land by dinghy on the beach.





Why visit here?
Magilligan Point derives its name from the Irish Aird Mhic Giollagáin meaning ‘MacGilligan’s point’. The surname Mac Giollagáin, MacGilligan, or Magilligan is indigenous to County Derry. The surrounding area, that formed a major part of the ‘barony of Keenaght’, was called "MacGilligans country".




The beach at the forward end of the huge Magilligan Peninsula started to develop as a result of sea and land level changes after the last ice age. It originated from deposits of alluvium and blown sand that accumulated to form the large 79,000 acres (32,000 ha) flat triangle of land in the lee of the long sand-spit leading to Magilligan Point. The foreland is now fronted by the magnificent beaches of Downhill, Castlerock and Benone with the sand dune system behind being Ireland’s largest coastal accumulation feature of marine and wind-blown sand deposits.




But it is the spectacular basalt escarpment of Binevenagh, or Benevenagh, that totally dominates the landscape here. The 385 metres high mountain marks the western extent of the Antrim Plateau formed around 60 million years ago by molten lava. The name of Binevenagh is derived from Irish Binn Fhoibhne meaning ‘Foibhne's peak’. Legend has it that Foibhne, son of Taircheltar, was slain here in pre-Christian times. The plateau and steep cliffs extend for over six miles across the peninsula of Magilligan and completely dominate the skyline. The combined area of mountains and foreland has been classified as both an Area of Special Scientific Interest and as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.




The point’s signature Martello Tower was built in 1812 and was rather late in the British sequence of defences built to protect Ireland against an invasion by Napoleon. The original plan was to build a large scale fortification at Magilligan Point but this had to be abandoned due to soft ground. A smaller scale tower was eventually decided upon to correspond with the Greencastle Martello Fort, built beside the Norman ruins on the opposite shore, in order to defend the entrance to Lough Foyle. The Magilligan tower was finally completed in 1817 which was two years after Napoleon had been exiled to St. Helena. Its garrison never fired a shot in anger. Since the tower was built, deposits of sand have extended the peninsula by several hundred metres and the tower is now located a considerable distance from the sea. Today it contains two 24 pounder, 11 kg, guns that are perfectly restored, but sadly the tower is mostly kept locked.


Magilligan Prison was opened in May 1972 utilising eight Nissen huts that were an army camp. It is a medium to low-security prison that holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve. Orange parachute flares are occasionally fired there that may easily be mistaken for distress flares and are often reported as such. Also, small arms firing practice occasionally takes place on a range to the east of Magilligan Point. When the range is in use red flags are hoisted at flagstaffs on two lookout huts that are manned by sentries. The dunes also have various recreational uses including a small golf course and several caravan parks. Some areas are managed as Nature Reserves. A ferry service operates between the point and Greencastle across the lough.


From a sailing perspective, it is a remote anchorage with nothing but the ferry terminal and a few houses which also include a pub. It is an ideal tide wait location at the lough entrance and provides another remote and interesting anchoring opportunity for the cruising boatman on this unique coastline.




What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at Magilligan Point save for a solitary pub and the jetty for the Magilligan-Greencastle ferry.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored off Magilligan Point.


With thanks to:
Bill McCann, Londonderry Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Danny Kearney, Oliver Dixon, Lindy Buckley, David Jones, Richard Webb, Kenneth Allen, Simon Huguet, tsiubiu, Martinevans123, Stephen, Andrew Hurley, Patrick Mackie, Kenny Gibson and Corinna Schleiffer.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fixes' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




































Scenery of the point and Greencastle from the ferry and Malin Head.




Scenery of the point and Greencastle from the ferry and Malin Head.



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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.