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Newtownabbey

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Overview





Newtownabbey is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the northern shores of Belfast Lough and approximately midway between Carrickfergus and Belfast. It offers an anchorage off a shoreline park.

Newtownabbey is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the northern shores of Belfast Lough and approximately midway between Carrickfergus and Belfast. It offers an anchorage off a shoreline park.

Set deep within Belfast Lough the anchorage provides good protection from the northwest, through north and around to the northeast. It is entirely exposed from east through south to southwest. Whilst subject to very little westerly fetch, winds from this direction tend to be accelerated as they funnel down the valley into the lough. Access is straightforward at any stage of the tide but the anchorage is unmarked and daylight is preferred.
Please note

Newtownabbey is located within the area controlled by the Port of Belfast in which all vessels must report and operate under power, with sails down, taking care not to impede commercial traffic.




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Keyfacts for Newtownabbey
Facilities
Gas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableLaundry facilities 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 areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresCar hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 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
November 29th 2022

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Gas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableLaundry facilities 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 areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresCar hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



HM  +442890 553504      Ch.12 / 16 [Belfast Harbour Radio]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 40.758' N, 005° 52.177' W

This is the position of the old Newtownabbey Boat Club moorings. It is situated half a mile south by southeast of the club slip where 2 – 3 metres can be found.

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 northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location and approaches to the lough can be found in the Bangor Harbour Click to view havenentry.

  • Contact 'Belfast Harbour Radio' and make them aware of your intentions.

  • Track into the Fairway Light buoy through Belfast Lough's open navigable area that is free of dangers.

  • Enter the channel and turn off to starboard at the No. 3 green marker and head 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 Newtownabbey for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Greenisland - 1.1 nautical miles NE
  2. Cultra - 2.1 nautical miles ESE
  3. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 2.7 nautical miles NE
  4. Helen’s Bay - 4.7 nautical miles E
  5. Belfast Harbour - 4.7 nautical miles SSW
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 6.9 nautical miles E
  7. Whitehead - 7.1 nautical miles NE
  8. Ballyholme Bay - 7.6 nautical miles E
  9. Groomsport - 8.8 nautical miles E
  10. Magheramorne Point - 9.1 nautical miles NNE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Greenisland - 1.1 miles NE
  2. Cultra - 2.1 miles ESE
  3. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 2.7 miles NE
  4. Helen’s Bay - 4.7 miles E
  5. Belfast Harbour - 4.7 miles SSW
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 6.9 miles E
  7. Whitehead - 7.1 miles NE
  8. Ballyholme Bay - 7.6 miles E
  9. Groomsport - 8.8 miles E
  10. Magheramorne Point - 9.1 miles NNE
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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?
The Newtownabbey shoreline
Image: Michael Harpur


Newtownabbey is situated at the head of Belfast Lough about two miles north of the entrance to the River Lagan and Belfast Harbour. It is a large settlement with a population of more than 65,000 that is separated from Belfast City by Cavehill and Fortwilliam golf courses. It surrounds Carnmoney Hill and was formed from the merging of several small villages including Whiteabbey, Glengormley and Carnmoney.


Seating area overlooking the Lough at Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


Newtownabbey offers an offshore anchorage with landings available on the beach fronting Jordanstown Loughshore Park.


How to get in?
The north shore of Belfast Lough leading to Newtownabbey
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Set on the Lough's northern shores the Lough's approach directions for Bangor Harbour Click to view haven may be used for approaches to the area.

Belfast Fairway Light Buoy
Image: © Alan Geddes
Newtownabbey is located within the Port of Belfast where all boat movements are controlled and managed. This area covers the entire head of the lough within a charted line drawn from Carrickfergus to Grey Point. Boats operating in the Port of Belfast area must do so under power with sails down taking care not to impede commercial traffic.

All vessels are required to report to, VHF Ch. 12 / 16 [Belfast Harbour Radio] or by telephone at Landline+44 (0)2890 553504, well in advance of arrival and advise them of intentions.

The following Belfast Harbour Radio contacts are prerequisites for all craft lough proceeding west of a charted line drawn from Carrickfergus to Grey Point:

  • 1. Two hours prior to arrival at the Fairway Buoy or entry point.

  • 2. Fifteen minutes prior to arrival at the Fairway Buoy or entry point.

  • 3. When arriving at the berth.

Vessels must maintain a listening watch on VHF Ch. 12 whilst within the harbour limits. The maximum speed in the harbour area, south of the Number 12 beacon, is 6 knots.

The Belfast Harbour 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.
Please note

However, vessels approaching Newtownabbey along the northern shore may proceed this way provided advance permission is sought and agreed to by Belfast Harbour Radio. Standing off a distance of a ½ mile off the shoreline from Carrickfergus clears all dangers.




Ferry exiting via the Victoria Channel
Image: Tourism NI


Initial fix location Track to the Initial Fix near the Belfast Fairway Light buoy, L Fl 10s and proceed with permission into the dredged Victoria Channel. This is the preferred route and the one that the harbour authorities encourage visiting vessels to use. Steer to pass between the No. 1 Green buoy, starboard hand marker, Fl2 G (sync) and the No. 2 Red buoy, port hand marker Fl2 R 2s (sync) 2½ miles west by southwest.

The No.1 and No.2 mark the entrance to the Belfast Lough Victoria Channel that leads in through the head of the lough and through the harbour’s extensive port walls on both sides. Once within the Victoria Channel, it is simply a matter of following the frequent and closely spaced light beacons up to the No. 3 Green starboard hand marker. The Victoria Channel is a 'narrow channel' meaning Rule 9 of the Collision Regulations applies, so keep to the right and do not impede large ships under any circumstances.


Ancho anywhere along the shoreline
Image: Michael Harpur


Plenty of water will be found outside to the northeast, or starboard, side of the channel up to the No. 3 starboard marker. Here a vessel can turn to starboard and exit the fairway on a bearing of 260° T. The mooring area is just over 2 miles from here and the park should be easily picked out.


The beach at the west end of Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to conditions in 2 to 3 metres over sand about a ½ mile offshore. Keep well clear of the charted protected shellfish beds in the surrounding area where anchoring is prohibited.


The beach at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


Land by dinghy on the beach that fronts the park. At low water, the gradually shelving beach dries out a good distance and expose to small boulders. There is also an unmarked outfall pipe so keep an eye on the prop and be prepared to carry the tender a long way to the shore.


Why visit here?
Newtownabbey, in Irish 'Baile na Mainistreach' was created in 1958 out of the existing villages of Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Monkstown, Whitehouse, Whitewell and Whiteabbey. The latter Whiteabbey provided the final element of the place name which refers to a 13th-century abbey that once existed in that townland of which no trace remains today. The area was awarded the status of a borough in the seventies after the village of Ballyclare and its rural hinterland was also included. It is now considered a residential continuation of Belfast although on its own its population of more than 65,000 would make it the third-largest settlement in Northern Ireland.


Newtownabbey as seen from Cavehill
Image: Keith Ruffles via CC ASA 3.0


Although a new borough the entire area is steeped in the history of human inhabitation. Evidence of this can be found on Carnmoney Hill, situated directly west of the anchorage, which is the site of many souterrains and 'raths' or 'forts' including the 'Dunanney Rath' that date back to Celtic times. In more modern times Newtownabbey was strongly linked with Belfast’s industrial revolution and old mill buildings are a prominent feature of this area. Evidence of the industrial revolution legacy may also be found in the Carnmoney Parish Church graveyard which is located on the southern face of Carnmoney Hill. Nicholas Grimshaw, who founded Ireland’s first cotton mill at Whitehouse in 1784, has his final resting place here.


Belfast in the distance as seen from Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


Rural in appearance today, with the district's light agricultural activity centred around Ballyclare, Newtownabbey largely derives its income from Belfast City. Most of its population work in the capitals modern industrial complex, manufacturing textiles, telephones and tyres. Jordanstown was a semi-rural district until the 1950s when it expanded rapidly with housing development. It has recently been voted the fifth most attractive place to live in Northern Ireland. The combination of the adjacent Belfast Lough, wonderful parkland and a convenient railway station, providing access to Belfast's city centre, makes it a highly attractive location for Northern Ireland’s middle classes.


The beach fronting Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


For the visiting boater, Newtownabbey combines a unique mix of rural and urban life with a wide range of activities for the entire family to enjoy. The seafront park immediately ashore, called Jordanstown Loughshore Park, hosts various events throughout the year including the three-day Loughshore Festival on the last weekend in August. Likewise, early-season sailors can come here to experience one of Ireland’s oldest horse fairs, the Ballyclare May Fair. Horse dealers from all corners of Ireland converge here to create a unique market of dealing and haggling. On Wednesday evenings during the summer, local bands perform at the eye-catching bandstand. This park is also situated near the start of the Causeway Coastal Route, just off Shore Road near the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.


Jordanstown Loughshore Park bandstand
Image: Michael Harpur


The former Newtownabbey Boat Club occupied a site, owned by the University of Ulster, between Shore Road, Jordanstown and Loughshore. The University had plans for the site and the Club had to vacate it after the University obtained an order for possession in 2003. They levelled the clubhouse and the jetty at Loughshore were removed. After six years without a home, the club finally ceased to exist in 2009. The site remains vacant to this day.


National cycle network milepost Whiteabbey
Image: Rossographer via CC BY SA 2.0


For those who prefer the quieter life Jordanstown, Loughshore and Hazelbank Park provide some of the best shorelines walks around Belfast Lough. A wide variety of birds may be observed feeding on the mudflats and roosting on favoured parts of the shoreline at high water. These include Oystercatchers, Great Crested Grebes, Redshanks, Curlews, Dunlins and Black-tailed Godwits.


Dusk at Newtownabbey
Image: Alan in Belfast via CC01


Newtownabbey offers the cruising boatman good north-westerly protection and a lot more. The open spaces of its semi-rural location with close proximity to arts, entertainment venues, nightlife and the hustle and bustle of Belfast City, make it a very useful location for the coastal cruiser.


What facilities are available?
Except for the small cafe at the west end of Jordanstown Loughshore Park, there are no other facilities in the park area. Nearby Newtownabbey has very good shopping facilities to service its population of 80,000, but Jordanstown immediately ashore, has very little to cater for its smaller settlement of 5,500 people. The nearest shops to the anchoring position are at Whiteabbey approximately 1 mile along the shoreline towards Belfast.


Cafe in the west end of Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


Newtownabbey is situated on the train line just under a dozen kilometres northeast of Belfast which 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. Both are within a twenty-minute drive of Newtownabbey. 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 Newtownabbey.


With thanks to:
Michael Evans, Deputy Harbour Master, Belfast Harbour.







Aerial views Jordanstown


About Newtownabbey

Newtownabbey, in Irish 'Baile na Mainistreach' was created in 1958 out of the existing villages of Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Monkstown, Whitehouse, Whitewell and Whiteabbey. The latter Whiteabbey provided the final element of the place name which refers to a 13th-century abbey that once existed in that townland of which no trace remains today. The area was awarded the status of a borough in the seventies after the village of Ballyclare and its rural hinterland was also included. It is now considered a residential continuation of Belfast although on its own its population of more than 65,000 would make it the third-largest settlement in Northern Ireland.


Newtownabbey as seen from Cavehill
Image: Keith Ruffles via CC ASA 3.0


Although a new borough the entire area is steeped in the history of human inhabitation. Evidence of this can be found on Carnmoney Hill, situated directly west of the anchorage, which is the site of many souterrains and 'raths' or 'forts' including the 'Dunanney Rath' that date back to Celtic times. In more modern times Newtownabbey was strongly linked with Belfast’s industrial revolution and old mill buildings are a prominent feature of this area. Evidence of the industrial revolution legacy may also be found in the Carnmoney Parish Church graveyard which is located on the southern face of Carnmoney Hill. Nicholas Grimshaw, who founded Ireland’s first cotton mill at Whitehouse in 1784, has his final resting place here.


Belfast in the distance as seen from Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


Rural in appearance today, with the district's light agricultural activity centred around Ballyclare, Newtownabbey largely derives its income from Belfast City. Most of its population work in the capitals modern industrial complex, manufacturing textiles, telephones and tyres. Jordanstown was a semi-rural district until the 1950s when it expanded rapidly with housing development. It has recently been voted the fifth most attractive place to live in Northern Ireland. The combination of the adjacent Belfast Lough, wonderful parkland and a convenient railway station, providing access to Belfast's city centre, makes it a highly attractive location for Northern Ireland’s middle classes.


The beach fronting Jordanstown Loughshore Park
Image: Michael Harpur


For the visiting boater, Newtownabbey combines a unique mix of rural and urban life with a wide range of activities for the entire family to enjoy. The seafront park immediately ashore, called Jordanstown Loughshore Park, hosts various events throughout the year including the three-day Loughshore Festival on the last weekend in August. Likewise, early-season sailors can come here to experience one of Ireland’s oldest horse fairs, the Ballyclare May Fair. Horse dealers from all corners of Ireland converge here to create a unique market of dealing and haggling. On Wednesday evenings during the summer, local bands perform at the eye-catching bandstand. This park is also situated near the start of the Causeway Coastal Route, just off Shore Road near the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.


Jordanstown Loughshore Park bandstand
Image: Michael Harpur


The former Newtownabbey Boat Club occupied a site, owned by the University of Ulster, between Shore Road, Jordanstown and Loughshore. The University had plans for the site and the Club had to vacate it after the University obtained an order for possession in 2003. They levelled the clubhouse and the jetty at Loughshore were removed. After six years without a home, the club finally ceased to exist in 2009. The site remains vacant to this day.


National cycle network milepost Whiteabbey
Image: Rossographer via CC BY SA 2.0


For those who prefer the quieter life Jordanstown, Loughshore and Hazelbank Park provide some of the best shorelines walks around Belfast Lough. A wide variety of birds may be observed feeding on the mudflats and roosting on favoured parts of the shoreline at high water. These include Oystercatchers, Great Crested Grebes, Redshanks, Curlews, Dunlins and Black-tailed Godwits.


Dusk at Newtownabbey
Image: Alan in Belfast via CC01


Newtownabbey offers the cruising boatman good north-westerly protection and a lot more. The open spaces of its semi-rural location with close proximity to arts, entertainment venues, nightlife and the hustle and bustle of Belfast City, make it a very useful location for the coastal cruiser.

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:
Belfast Harbour - 2.9 miles SSW
Cultra - 1.3 miles ESE
Helen’s Bay - 2.9 miles E
Bangor Harbour & Marina - 4.3 miles E
Ballyholme Bay - 4.7 miles E
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Greenisland - 0.7 miles NE
Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 1.7 miles NE
Whitehead - 4.4 miles NE
Portmuck - 7 miles NNE
Brown’s Bay - 6.9 miles NNE

Navigational pictures


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




































Aerial views Jordanstown



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