Deep within Belfast Lough, the anchorage provides good protection from northwest through north to northeast. However, the anchorage 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. The anchorage itself is unmarked but with few off-lying dangers in the area, daylight access is straightforward at any stage of the tide.
Keyfacts for Greenisland
SummaryA good location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position54° 41.530' N, 005° 50.910' W
This is 400 metres south of Green Island in approximately three metres.
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
- Approaches to the lough can be found in the Bangor Harbour entry.
- 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 area offshore of the islet. Or come along the north shore from Carrickfergus keeping half a mile offshore.
Not what you need?
- Newtownabbey - 0.7 miles SW
- Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 1 miles NE
- Cultra - 1.6 miles SSE
- Helen’s Bay - 2.6 miles ESE
- Belfast Harbour - 3.5 miles SSW
- Whitehead - 3.9 miles NE
- Bangor Harbour & Marina - 3.9 miles ESE
- Ballyholme Bay - 4.3 miles ESE
- Groomsport - 5 miles E
- Magheramorne Point - 5 miles NNE
How to get in?
Greenisland is situated off the northern shoreline of Belfast Lough a mile and a half inside Carrickfergus Harbour.
Directions for Bangor Harbour may be used for approaches to the lough. From which track to the Belfast Fairway Light buoy, L Fl 10s, which is situated in the middle of the lough between Carrickfergus and Grey Point on the opposite shore.
Greenisland 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.
From the initial fix, the position of the Fairway Light buoy, LFl.10s, 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) 2.5 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. Turn off to starboard at the No. 3 green marker and head for the area offshore of the islet.
Alternatively take a westward path from the Fairway Light buoy along the southern side of the Carrickfergus Bank, for approximately three miles to come south of the Green Island. Stand well off the area between Kilroot and Carrickfergus as a drying shoal extends up to ½ a mile out from the shore.
Image: Pastor Sam CC BY 3.0
Once Green Island has been identified find a position 400 metres to the south of it and anchor in 2 to 3 metres where good sand holding will be found. Keep well clear of the protected shellfish beds in the surrounding area where anchoring is prohibited.
Land on the beach in Jointure Bay or alternatively on the beach off the small town of Greenisland half a mile to the west.
Why visit here?Greenisland is named from its three-metre high grassy islet that stands out a short distance from the shore here.
Today the village stretches from the shore of Belfast Lough to the foot of Knockagh and is a popular residential location due to its proximity to Belfast and its attractive lough shore setting.
Those who come here should take the opportunity to climb the village’s dominating Knockagh Hill. Standing 278 metres above and overlooking the village, it is the most imposing physical feature on the north side of Belfast Lough. On its summit stands a basalt obelisk which is the most notable landmark of the surrounding area. The monument commemorates the Co Antrim people who died in the First World War. It was later rededicated in remembrance to those from the County who died in the Second World War when the figures 1939-1945 were added to the inscription. The summit rewards the visitor with panoramic views from Carrickfergus to Belfast and across Belfast Lough, with Scotland and the Mourne Mountains in evidence on clear days. Likewise, golfers may find the golf course beneath the Knockagh monument of interest. First laid on the slopes in 1894 it is a challenging 9-hole mature parkland golf course with a Par of 71.
For the cruising boater, Greenisland offers a convenient anchorage just over a mile from Carrickfergus. Close to nearby Newtownabbey it also offers good rail connections to the city with plenty immediately ashore to make it worthwhile to launch the dingy.
What facilities are available?The secluded anchorage off Green Island has no facilities. The nearby semi-rural town of Greenisland has a number of shops to cater for its settlement of 5,000 people. These include grocery shops and newsagents, a petrol filling station, a butcher's shop, a bakery, a chemist, an off-licence, a café, and a number of takeaway food outlets plus a hotel and restaurant.
It lies 14 km (9 miles) north-east of Belfast and 5 km (3 miles) south-west of Carrickfergus. A railway station provides direct rail links to both the Belfast and Larne directions, from around 5am until 11pm. Most Ulsterbus, Belfast and Carrickfergus to Whitehead bus services, take a ten minute detour into the Greenisland estate before continuing to their destination. These provide the village with frequent transport links in each direction.
Any security concerns?Never an incident known to have happened to a vessel anchored off Green Island.
With thanks to:Michael Fitzsimons, Groomsport Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Albert Bridge, Jerkyboy6, Peter Clifford, Pastor Sam, Richard Luney, Goya.
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