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Horseshoe Harbour

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Overview





Located off Ireland’s southwest corner Sherkin Island creates the natural harbour of Baltimore that is situated between it, other islands and the mainland. Horseshoe Harbour is outside this natural enclosed harbour on the southeast and seaward side of the island itself, adjacent to Baltimore’s southern entrance. The aptly named harbour provides a secluded anchorage.

Located off Ireland’s southwest corner Sherkin Island creates the natural harbour of Baltimore that is situated between it, other islands and the mainland. Horseshoe Harbour is outside this natural enclosed harbour on the southeast and seaward side of the island itself, adjacent to Baltimore’s southern entrance. The aptly named harbour provides a secluded anchorage.

Entirely enclosed, save for a very narrow entrance, the small bay provides good protection from all winds except progressive south to southeast conditions. Should these develop to force five and above the bay would become uncomfortable. Access is available at all states of the tide but the narrow entrance requires excellent visibility and attentive navigation.
Please note

Horseshoe Harbour should not be approached in any developed southerly conditions.




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Keyfacts for Horseshoe Harbour
Facilities
Water available via tapGas availableShop with basic provisions availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
4 metres (13.12 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 5th 2021

Summary

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Water available via tapGas availableShop with basic provisions availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 28.325' N, 009° 23.950' W

In the middle of the inner harbour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Baltimore Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
51° 28.120' N, 009° 23.423' W
This is a ¼ of a mile due south of the entrance, midway between Beacon & Barrack Point in the white sector of the lighthouse.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location.

  • Standing 400 metres off south-eastern coastline of Sherkin Island clears all dangers.

  • Keep close to the southwest side of the entrance to avoid rocks encroaching from the eastern side.

  • The remaining channel is only 30 – 40 metres on the southwest side so eyeball navigation is required.



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 Horseshoe Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Castle Ruins - 0.2 miles N
  2. Kinish Harbour - 0.4 miles WNW
  3. Baltimore - 0.7 miles NE
  4. Turk Head - 0.9 miles NNW
  5. Quarantine Island - 0.9 miles N
  6. Trá Bán - 1.1 miles NNW
  7. East Pier - 1.1 miles NNW
  8. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.3 miles NNW
  9. Inane Creek - 1.5 miles NNE
  10. Calf Island East - 2 miles WNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Castle Ruins - 0.2 miles N
  2. Kinish Harbour - 0.4 miles WNW
  3. Baltimore - 0.7 miles NE
  4. Turk Head - 0.9 miles NNW
  5. Quarantine Island - 0.9 miles N
  6. Trá Bán - 1.1 miles NNW
  7. East Pier - 1.1 miles NNW
  8. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.3 miles NNW
  9. Inane Creek - 1.5 miles NNE
  10. Calf Island East - 2 miles WNW
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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What's the story here?
Horseshoe Harbour on the southeast end of Sherkin
Image: Michael Harpur


Horseshoe Harbour is situated in an inlet located on the southeast side of Sherkin Island ¼ of a mile west of the approach path to the southern entrance to Baltimore Harbour which lies between Beacon Point and Barrack Point on Sherkin Island that is marked by a lighthouse. It has a very narrow entrance that is further constricted by rocks off the western shore. But once inside it opens up beautifully to provide a deepwater anchorage that is at once very secluded and a short distance from the harbour area and other locations.

Expect to anchor in 4 to 5 metres and come ashore at a rocky landing at the back of the cove.


How to get in?
The southern shore of Sherkin Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the approaches in the Baltimore Click to view haven entry for the lead into the its southern entrance. Keep well off Barrack Point that forms the western side of the Baltimore entrance. The area, to the south of the Barrack Point Light House, on the southwest side of the entrance channel, has an outcropping of rocks extending almost 150 metres south to Wilson Rock, HW 0.1 metre, awash at its southernmost point. The foul area wraps westward around the Barrack Point headland encroaching upon and constricting the entrance to Horseshoe Bay.


The entrance to Horseshoe Harbour as seen from within
Image: Sean McCarthy's Holiday House, Sherkin Island


Initial fix location From the initial fix the Baltimore harbour marks will be clearly visible. The narrow southeast facing entrance to Horseshoe Harbour should be identifiable behind Barrack Point, immediately west of the Baltimore entrance. Steer directly west from the Baltimore initial fix for about 300 metres until a cluster of houses can be seen on a bearing of about 320°T on the west side of Horseshoe Harbour. Then steer towards the entrance.


The rocks on the east side of the entrance just visible
Image: Michael Harpur


The approach should be made keeping very close to the southwest side. Keen eyeball navigation is required as the eastern starboard side of the entrance is covered with rocks that only dry at low water springs. They extend 75 metres off the eastern side of the entrance narrowing the entrance channel to a distance of 30 – 40 metres on the southwest side.
Please note

The easiest approach is at low water when the reefs surrounding the entrance are visible.



On entry, as its name appropriately implies, the harbour opens out inside. Once inside the entrance and proceeding up the harbour, vessels need to immediately alter course to prefer the northeast side of the harbour. This is to keep clear of rocks that lie off the western shore. They are immediately inside the entrance and close to the inner southwest point.


Yacht in Horseshoe Harbour
Image: Philipp Hullmann via CC ASA 4.0


Haven location Anchor in the middle of the harbour where 4 to 5 metres will be found clear of local boat moorings. Land, by tender, at the head of the harbour. The best landing to be had is on a small beach in the northwest corner. A cottage will be seen with steps cut into the rock on its eastern side.


Why visit here?
Sherkin Island's intrest is covered in the entry for the primary anchorage off Castle Ruins Click to view haven.

Horseshoe Harbour as seen from the north over Castle Ruins
Photo: Sean McCarthy's Holiday House, Sherkin Island



What facilities are available?
Sherkin Island has two good pubs and a restaurant. General stores are available across the harbour in Baltimore but may be limited. You can however catch a bus to take you to the larger provincial town of Skibbereen (approximately 10km) where a wider range of provisions are available.

Ferries sail from Baltimore to Schull further along the coast, to Sherkin Island, and to the more remote Cape Clear Island.


Any security concerns?
Never a security issue known to have occurred off Sherkin Island.


With thanks to:
Diarmuid Minihan, Baltimore Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Graham Rabbit, Joe Stump, Anthony Beal and Mark Murray.







Sean McCarthy's Holiday House promotional video




Murphy’s Pub & Islanders Rest Guest House promotional video



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