Kinnagoe Bay makes for a tolerable anchorage that affords good shelter and protection from winds from southwest through south to southeast. Daylight access is straightforward as there are no dangers inside the bay and it may be addressed at all stages of the tide.
Keyfacts for Kinnagoe Bay
SummaryA tolerable location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position55° 15.560' N, 007° 0.450' W
This is a possible anchoring location off the beach.
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
- A berth of 300 metres from the shore clears all dangers.
- The Lough Foyle approaches, detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) entry, provides general approaches to the area.
- Approach the centre of Kinnagoe Bay, between its rocky headlands, and anchor in sand.
Not what you need?
- Tremone Bay - 2.3 nautical miles WNW
- Portkill - 2.9 nautical miles ESE
- Portnocker - 3.3 nautical miles ESE
- White Bay - 3.4 nautical miles SE
- Cornashamma Bay - 3.4 nautical miles SE
- Silver Strand - 3.5 nautical miles SSE
- Greencastle - 3.6 nautical miles SSE
- Magilligan Point - 4.3 nautical miles SSE
- Moville - 4.6 nautical miles SSW
- Carrickarory Pier - 5 nautical miles SSW
What's the story here?
Kinnagoe Bay is a large bay situated between Kinnagoe Head and Balbane Head on the northeast corner of the Inishowen Peninsula. Set two miles northwest of Inishowen Head and the entrance channel to Lough Foyle, approaches to the area are detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) entry.
How to get in?The Kinnagoe Bay initial fix is ¾ of a mile out, situated on the 20-metre contour approximately halfway between Dungloon Rocks and The Dutchman reef that extends 250 metres seaward from the southeast side of the bay. A bearing of 245° T for a distance of ¾ of a mile from the initial fix will lead into one of the possible anchoring locations in the area. The bay is free of obstructions.
Anchor within according to draft in a position that makes the best of the prevailing conditions. Holding is very good in sand but there are occasional rocks. Land on the beach by dingy.
Why visit here?Kinnagoe Bay derives its name from the Irish Bá Chionn an Ghabha with ceann, or cionn, meaning ‘head or headland’ of gabha ‘smith’. The bay is regarded by many as being the most beautiful along this coastline. Here the high Inishowen coastal cliffs drop down to the sea enclosing a crescent of spectacular golden sands. The secluded bay is truly a hidden County Donegal gem and is listed on the Inishowen 100 scenic route.
Kinnagoe Bay’s fame, however, is derived more from history than its natural beauty. For it was here that ‘La Trinidad Valencera’, one of the ill-fated Spanish Armada galleons, foundered in a terrible storm whilst fleeing the English fleet. The year was in 1588 when more than two dozen fleeing ships of the Spanish Armada came too close to Irish shores. They foundered upon coastal rocks from Antrim to Kerry. Close by and caught in the eye of a hurricane, one of the most ferocious ever to hit the area, the ‘Barca de Amburg’ started taking in water and was abandoned. It capsized off the north Antrim coast and her crew were taken on board other ships that in turn sank. In the same vicinity the ‘Castillo Negro’ disappeared without trace taking all 310 souls aboard with her. On the 16th September the badly damaged 42 gun ‘ La Trinidad Valencera’ elected to run aground on the sands of Kinnagoe Bay in an effort to save its crew. So ended the fate of the fourth largest ship of the Spanish Armada.
It was not until February 1971 that the last resting place of ‘La Trinidad Valencera’ was finally discovered. During a dive by members of the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club, artefacts were discovered that later confirmed the wreck. These included bronze cannons bearing the arms of the King Philippus Rex; weapons from skilled Venetian craftsmen; pieces of stringed instruments; wheels and navigational tools; grenades and pottery. Some of the impressive finds from the ship, including recovered cannons, are housed in the Tower Museum in Derry.
Above the bay today a plaque commemorates the wreck with one of the finest views in Ireland as the backdrop. The wreck is now favoured by many fish, which can be caught by either spinning from the rocks or casting from the beach. They include pollack, wrasse, coalfish, dogfish, bass, and flounder that attract fisherman from all around Ireland. A weaving road from the top of the hill leads down to the beach where there is a small car park which gets very busy during the summer.
From a sailing perspective Kinnagoe Bay, along with the bays of Culdaff and Tremone, offer anchorages in beautiful locations on Inishowen’s northern shoreline just out of the main stream of the tide. These provide good passage anchorages for boats en route east or west or looking for a lunch stop.
What facilities are available?Kinnagoe Bay is a secluded and remote bay with no facilities ashore save for an access road.
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored in Kinnagoe Bay.
With thanks to:Bill McCann, Londonderry Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Oliver Dixon, Kay Atherton, Kenneth Allen, Bazonka and jp314159.
Aerial footage of the bay
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