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Cultra is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, approximately half way between Grey Point and Belfast. This is home to ‘The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club’ and it offers an anchorage alongside the well-established mooring area off the club.

Cultra is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, approximately half way between Grey Point and Belfast. This is home to ‘The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club’ and it offers an anchorage alongside the well-established mooring area off the club.

Deep within Belfast Lough the anchorage provides good protection from almost all southerly component winds except west-by-southwest. Indeed in strong southerly winds, there is less tendency to roll here than in Bangor Harbour. The anchorage is entirely exposed however from west-by-southwest through west to north to east. Although unmarked there are no off-lying dangers in the area making access in daylight straightforward at any stage of the tide.
Please note

Cultra is located within the Port of Belfast where all boat movements are controlled and managed. Visiting vessels must make Belfast Harbour Radio aware of their intentions prior to approach and stay in contact throughout the berthing process. Vessels operating within the Port of Belfast area must do so under power with sails down taking care not to impede commercial traffic. Regular fast ferries travel in and out of Belfast Lough. If crossing the entrance to Belfast Lough a good watch must be maintained and a vessel should be prepared to be struck unexpectedly by the wash at all times.




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Keyfacts for Cultra



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansSlipway availableHot 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 areaChandlery available in the areaBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingSailing Club baseSet near a village or with a village 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

54° 39.240' N, 005° 49.055' W

This is the position of the seaward end of the ‘The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club’ jetty. The anchoring area is half a mile north of the jetty just outside the mooring area.

What is the initial fix?

The following Belfast Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 41.710' N, 005° 46.225' W
The initial fix is the position of Fairway Light buoy, L Fl 10s, situated between Carrickfergus and Grey Point. This safe water marker leads into the Victoria Channel, a five mile southwest tending fairway through the lough to the harbour entrance that then continues up the Lagan River. The Victoria Channel is well marked by frequently lit buoys and beacons on either side.


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.

  • Approaches to the lough can be found in the Bangor Harbour Click to view haven entry.
  • Track into the Fairway Light buoy through Belfast Lough's open navigable area that is free of dangers.

  • Enter the channel and after passing the port hand No. 4 marker turn to port and exit the fairway on a bearing of 200° T for the mooring area.


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 Cultra for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Newtownabbey - 1.5 miles NW
  2. Greenisland - 1.6 miles NNW
  3. Helen’s Bay - 2 miles ENE
  4. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 2.1 miles N
  5. Belfast Harbour - 2.8 miles SW
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 3.2 miles E
  7. Ballyholme Bay - 3.6 miles E
  8. Groomsport - 4.4 miles ENE
  9. Whitehead - 4.5 miles NNE
  10. Port Dandy - 5.9 miles E
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Newtownabbey - 1.5 miles NW
  2. Greenisland - 1.6 miles NNW
  3. Helen’s Bay - 2 miles ENE
  4. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 2.1 miles N
  5. Belfast Harbour - 2.8 miles SW
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 3.2 miles E
  7. Ballyholme Bay - 3.6 miles E
  8. Groomsport - 4.4 miles ENE
  9. Whitehead - 4.5 miles NNE
  10. Port Dandy - 5.9 miles E
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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How to get in?


Cultra is situated well inside and on the southern shores of Belfast Lough. It is situated about eight miles from the sea and off the entrance channel to Belfast City.

Convergance Point Set on the lough's southern shores the directions for nearby Bangor Harbour Click to view haven may be used for approaches to the area.

Cultra is located within the Port of Belfast where all boat movements are controlled and managed. Boats operating in the Port of Belfast area must do so under power with sails down taking care not to impede commercial traffic. Belfast Harbour radio maintains Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for the Belfast Lough area. All vessels are required to report to Belfast Harbour radio on VHF Channel 12 or 16 or by telephone on +44 2890 553504 well in advance of arrival and advise them of your intentions.

The Cultra initial fix is the position of Belfast Fairway Light buoy, L Fl 10s, situated in the middle of the lough between Carrickfergus and Grey Point on the opposite shore. The initial fix sets up an approach via the dredged channel. This is the preferred route and the one that the harbour authorities encourage visiting vessels to use. However vessels approaching Cultra along the southern shore, provided advance permission is sought and agreed to by Belfast Harbour radio, will most likely find it possible to approach along the southern shore of the lough. A distance of half a mile off the southern shoreline from Grey Point clears all dangers.


Initial fix location From the initial fix, at the Fairway Light buoy, proceed to pass between the No. 3 Green buoy, Fl (3) G 7.5s plus the No. 4 Red buoy port hand marker Fl (2) R 5s that will be seen less than a mile and a half to the southwest.

After passing the No. 4 Red buoy port hand marker a vessel can turn to port and exit the fairway on a bearing of 200° T. The mooring areas is just over a mile from here and clearly marked on Admiralty Chart 1753.


Haven location Anchor in 3.5 to 4 metres outside the yacht mooring area. Moorings maintained by the club may be made available to visitors by prior arrangement with the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

Land by dinghy at the club jetty half a mile to the south of the mooring area. It is possible to temporarily come alongside the jetty, at high water when 3.3 metres is available, to make it convenient to take on fuel supplies and water.


Likewise, vessels that can take-to-the-hard may dry out in the mooring area off nearby Holywood to facilitate provisioning.


Why visit here?
Cultra, in Gaelic Cúl Trá, is a shortened form of Ballycultra, Baile Chúl Trá, meaning ‘townland of the back of the strand’. The coastal area lies within the townland of Ballycultra the area of which stretches inland to the Craigantlet Hills. In the late 17th century Ballycultra was occasionally abbreviated to ‘Cultra’ and, although better known by the shortened name, the full name of Ballycultra remains the official name of the townland.



Situated 11km east of Belfast city Cultra today can be considered a residential city suburb. With its attractive sea views combined with tree-lined avenues and relatively easy road and rail transport links to central Belfast, it is considered to be one of Northern Ireland's most affluent districts and is often referred to as the "Gold Coast". From a visitor perspective, Cultra is perhaps most famous for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museums that it hosts.


The Folk Museum enables visitors to step back one hundred years and experience the way of life in early 20th century Ulster. It opens with an introductory gallery in a modern main building depicting Ulster's social history. This presents arrays of artefacts in imaginative and informative displays depicting the past agricultural and domestic life. Around this is the very realistic open-air ‘Ballycultra town’ that is set in 70-hectares (173-acre) of rolling countryside.



This sets out to reconstruct the past with original cottages, mills, farms, a police station, schools and even an 1880’s terraced street relocated from east Belfast, all placed throughout the beautiful parkland. These structures, some dating from the 17th to the early 20th century, have been acquired throughout the province during the past four decades. Each was then meticulously deconstructed and then reassembled here, brick-by-brick, to their original glory.



The structures are enhanced by costumed guides demonstrating the traditional crafts. Open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday this is a paid admission museum but well worth it.


The transport museum, on the opposite side of the main road, contains an extraordinary collection of lovingly restored horse-drawn carriages, electric trams, steam engines, buses, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars. The range on display here is awe-inspiring; from penny farthing bicycles, to the trading schooner 'Result’, to Belfast’s ill-fated De Lorean sports car complete with gull-wing doors. Refreshments are available within the museum’s café, and across the road in a teashop in Ballycultra that is set in a converted old temperance hall. More substantial dishes are served in Cultra Manor, a five-minute walk from Ballycultra town.

Active hikers might find the ‘North Down Coastal Path’ attractive. Commencing at Holywood train station, it traces the Lough’s entire southern shoreline past Bangor and out to Orlock Point for a total distance of 15km.

Those less active might find the Yacht Club’s attractive seafront premises bar and dining room a suitable quiet retreat. The club was formed out of an amalgamation of the Ulster Sailing Club with the Cultra Yacht Club and was initially called the North of Ireland Yacht Club. Then on September 2nd, 1902 King Edward VII visited and commanded that the Club be henceforth known as 'The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club'. The Club features an attractive seafront premise that has been extended and adapted over the years to cater for the clubs activities.

From a boating perspective, Cultra presents another anchorage close to the City of Belfast with plenty of interest ashore that includes a very welcoming sailing club.

Views over the Lough from Cultra
Image: Eskling CC BY-SA 2.0



What facilities are available?
Drinking water may be obtained from the Yacht Club that has a newly refurbished bar and dining room where visitor’s custom is appreciated. The club also has a small boatyard where there is a slip for craft up to 20 tons. There are several other local pubs also in the vicinity.

Fuel is available at the Shell and BP Filling Stations on the main road into Holywood. Both have ATM's as do the branches of the major banks in Holywood High Street, which with a population of 10 – 18,000 has very good shopping. There is a chandlery within 5 minutes’ drive from the club and also one in Belfast city.

Cultra is situated 11km east of Belfast on the Belfast to Bangor train line with trains stopping every half hour or so, and also buses from Belfast's Laganside bus centre. Belfast has excellent transport connections via trains and bus services to any location in Ireland. Flights to domestic and international destinations operate from Belfast International Airport, the main regional airport, and George Best Belfast City Airport. There are more than 80 weekly ferry sailings from Belfast to UK ports.


Any security concerns?
Never an incident known to have happened to a vessel anchored off Cultra.


With thanks to:
Michael Evans, Deputy Harbour Master, Belfast Harbour. Photography Albert Bridge, Raymond Mc Sherry, Rossographer, Robert Ashby, Jonny Baillie and Eric Jones.


Expand to new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.





































The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with Belfast Lough.


The following is a promotional video for the RNIYC.




The following video presents various views around Cultra.



About Cultra

Cultra, in Gaelic Cúl Trá, is a shortened form of Ballycultra, Baile Chúl Trá, meaning ‘townland of the back of the strand’. The coastal area lies within the townland of Ballycultra the area of which stretches inland to the Craigantlet Hills. In the late 17th century Ballycultra was occasionally abbreviated to ‘Cultra’ and, although better known by the shortened name, the full name of Ballycultra remains the official name of the townland.



Situated 11km east of Belfast city Cultra today can be considered a residential city suburb. With its attractive sea views combined with tree-lined avenues and relatively easy road and rail transport links to central Belfast, it is considered to be one of Northern Ireland's most affluent districts and is often referred to as the "Gold Coast". From a visitor perspective, Cultra is perhaps most famous for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museums that it hosts.


The Folk Museum enables visitors to step back one hundred years and experience the way of life in early 20th century Ulster. It opens with an introductory gallery in a modern main building depicting Ulster's social history. This presents arrays of artefacts in imaginative and informative displays depicting the past agricultural and domestic life. Around this is the very realistic open-air ‘Ballycultra town’ that is set in 70-hectares (173-acre) of rolling countryside.



This sets out to reconstruct the past with original cottages, mills, farms, a police station, schools and even an 1880’s terraced street relocated from east Belfast, all placed throughout the beautiful parkland. These structures, some dating from the 17th to the early 20th century, have been acquired throughout the province during the past four decades. Each was then meticulously deconstructed and then reassembled here, brick-by-brick, to their original glory.



The structures are enhanced by costumed guides demonstrating the traditional crafts. Open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday this is a paid admission museum but well worth it.


The transport museum, on the opposite side of the main road, contains an extraordinary collection of lovingly restored horse-drawn carriages, electric trams, steam engines, buses, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars. The range on display here is awe-inspiring; from penny farthing bicycles, to the trading schooner 'Result’, to Belfast’s ill-fated De Lorean sports car complete with gull-wing doors. Refreshments are available within the museum’s café, and across the road in a teashop in Ballycultra that is set in a converted old temperance hall. More substantial dishes are served in Cultra Manor, a five-minute walk from Ballycultra town.

Active hikers might find the ‘North Down Coastal Path’ attractive. Commencing at Holywood train station, it traces the Lough’s entire southern shoreline past Bangor and out to Orlock Point for a total distance of 15km.

Those less active might find the Yacht Club’s attractive seafront premises bar and dining room a suitable quiet retreat. The club was formed out of an amalgamation of the Ulster Sailing Club with the Cultra Yacht Club and was initially called the North of Ireland Yacht Club. Then on September 2nd, 1902 King Edward VII visited and commanded that the Club be henceforth known as 'The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club'. The Club features an attractive seafront premise that has been extended and adapted over the years to cater for the clubs activities.

From a boating perspective, Cultra presents another anchorage close to the City of Belfast with plenty of interest ashore that includes a very welcoming sailing club.

Views over the Lough from Cultra
Image: Eskling CC BY-SA 2.0


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:
Helen’s Bay - 2 miles ENE
Bangor Harbour & Marina - 3.2 miles E
Ballyholme Bay - 3.6 miles E
Groomsport - 4.4 miles ENE
Port Dandy - 5.9 miles E
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Belfast Harbour - 2.8 miles SW
Newtownabbey - 1.5 miles NW
Greenisland - 1.6 miles NNW
Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 2.1 miles N
Whitehead - 4.5 miles NNE

Navigational pictures


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




















The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with Belfast Lough.


The following is a promotional video for the RNIYC.




The following video presents various views around Cultra.




A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


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