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Ardmore Bay

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Overview





Ardmore Bay is situated on Ireland’s south coast midway between Dungarvan and Youghal. It is an open bay with a good landing at a small pier at its head where it is possible to anchor or pick up moorings.

Ardmore Bay is situated on Ireland’s south coast midway between Dungarvan and Youghal. It is an open bay with a good landing at a small pier at its head where it is possible to anchor or pick up moorings.

This is a tolerable location in anything south round to northwest or in settled conditions. However, the bay is entirely exposed to any wind that has the slightest easterly component. Access is straightforward at any state of the tide as the bay is open, clear of danger and shoaling gradually to the shore.



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Keyfacts for Ardmore Bay



Last modified
May 8th 2020

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Gas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableShore based toilet facilitiesShowers 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 locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresBicycle hire available in the areaShore 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 landingQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 56.980' N, 007° 42.960' W

At the head of the small pier’s outer breakwater.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ardmore Bay initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 56.460' N, 007° 41.080' W
This is a mile to the south-southeast of the bay upon the 20 metre contour and directly east of Ram Head. A course of 310°(T) will lead into the centre of the bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southern Ireland’s Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location.
  • Between Helvick Head and Youghal Bay, the coast is high, bold, precipitous and free from outlying dangers.

  • Pass into the bay northeast of Ardmore Head and anchor according to draft.


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 Ardmore Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Youghal - 2.9 miles W
  2. Knockadoon Slip - 4.2 miles SW
  3. Helvick - 5.5 miles NE
  4. Dungarvan Town Quay - 5.7 miles NNE
  5. Ballynacourty (The Pool) - 6 miles NNE
  6. Ballycotton - 7.9 miles SW
  7. Stradbally Cove - 8.6 miles NE
  8. Northeast of Great Island - 11.5 miles WSW
  9. Boatstrand Harbour - 11.8 miles NE
  10. East Ferry Marina - 11.8 miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Youghal - 2.9 miles W
  2. Knockadoon Slip - 4.2 miles SW
  3. Helvick - 5.5 miles NE
  4. Dungarvan Town Quay - 5.7 miles NNE
  5. Ballynacourty (The Pool) - 6 miles NNE
  6. Ballycotton - 7.9 miles SW
  7. Stradbally Cove - 8.6 miles NE
  8. Northeast of Great Island - 11.5 miles WSW
  9. Boatstrand Harbour - 11.8 miles NE
  10. East Ferry Marina - 11.8 miles WSW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



What's the story here?
Ardmore pier and slipway
Image: Michael Harpur


Ardmore Bay, northeast of Ram and Ardmore Heads, is open an open bay with the small historic village Ardmore at its head. The village is overlooked by the ruins of a cathedral and a 12th-century Round Tower situated to the southwest. It is primarily a seaside resort, with a permanent population of around 430, that increases in the tourist season.

Ardmore slipway
Image: Michael Harpur


The east-facing bay is exposed but clear of danger and shoals gradually to the shore. It affords temporary anchorage in fine weather on a bottom of rock and sand. Landings can be made on the small breakwater and boat slip in the corner of the bay near the village. Locally referred to as the boat cove it is protected by two breakwaters and has recently seen some significant development. It lacks any depth of water to enable a vessel to come in and is primarily used to protect landings and to enable a handful of small local open fishing boats to be hauled clear of the water.

Cliff House Hotel as seen from the anchoring area
Image: Burke Corbett


The Cliff House Hotel, conspicuously situated on the south shore of the bay, has laid two heavy-duty moorings in the bay. These are situated directly in front of the hotel and in close proximity to the harbour. Use of the moorings is free of charge but, it goes without saying, vessels making use of these should reciprocate usage by bringing trade to the hotel. To ensure availability please call the hotel in advance on Landline+353 (0)24 87800, E-mailinfo@cliffhousehotel.ie.


How to get in?
Ardmore Bay
Image: Conor Lennon


Convergance Point Use southern Ireland's coastal overview Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location for seaward approaches. Ardmore Bay is entered ½ a mile to the northeast of Ram Head between Ardmore Head and a rocky point a mile to the north of the head. Vessels approaching from the east may approach the eastward facing bay without impediment.


The Ram Head peninsula as seen from the south
Image: Burke Corbett


Vessels approaching from all other directions will find the Ram Head peninsula readily identifiable from the south by its distinctive square watchtower. Vessels should keep at least 500 metres off Ram Head and or keep outside the 10-metre contour to avoid off-lying rocks and shallows that extend from the head.


The bay opening as Ardmore Head is rounded
Image: Burke Corbett


Initial fix location From the Ardmore Bay initial fix, located to the east of Ram Head, a course of 310°T will lead into the centre of the entrance of the bay. The bay itself is located close north of Ram Head and then to the northeast of Ardmore Head. The distinctive 1987 wreck of the Samson crane ship that ran aground under the inner cliffs at Rams Head will be seen as the bay is entered.


Samson crane ship wreck inside Ardmore Head
Image: Burke Corbett


The mouth of the bay is just under a mile wide between Ardmore Head and a rocky point called the Black Rocks that form the north boundary of the bay. The Black Rocks uncover out to a distance of 400 metres from the shore.


Approaching the anchorage and village in the southwest corner of the bay
Image: Burke Corbett


From the centre of the bay, proceed towards the village pier situated in the southwest corner of the bay. An ancient round tower, standing on the slope of a hill a little above the village of Ardmore, will be a conspicuous marker. It is advisable not to progress any further in of a clearing line of 230°T to the Bay’s distinctive Round Tower. Keeping east of this clearing line keeps a vessel clear of the Black Rocks.


The boat cove as seen from seaward
Image: Burke Corbett


Haven location Anchor in sand and rock in about three metres north by northwest of the pier or pick up the hotel moorings.


Breakwater for the boat cove
Image: Conor Lennon


Land alongside the village slip that has substantial buttressing by a recent breakwater plus an outer pier. Do not cut the corner of the new inner breakwater that extends eastward from the shore alongside the slip. A rocky outcrop extends from the head of this breakwater likewise the inner shore beneath the cliff face is rocky.


Why visit here?
Ardmore derives its name from the Irish 'Aird Mhor' meaning the 'great height' that describes the bay’s eastern promontory that rises to 58 metres. The village is historically significant for being the birthplace of Irish Christianity.

Ardmore Cathedral and Round Tower
Image: Tourism Ireland


The monastery was founded here as early as 316 AD by St Declan who was born in Ireland and educated in Wales. This was nearly a century before the coming of St Patrick who was born in Scotland and lived 390 – 461 AD. The ruins of the small church of St Declan's Oratory is overlooked by the villages' signature landmark 30-metre high 12th century Round Tower. Standing over the village and bay, and highly conspicuous on the latter stages of an easterly approach, this tower is believed to mark the burial place of St. Declan.

St Declan's Church and The Round Tower
Image: Tourism Ireland
St. Declan is little spoken of but nonetheless is seen as being very important. It has often been proposed, because he formed the first Christian church and being a native Irishman, that St. Declan should be the patron saint of Ireland in preference to St. Patrick. What is certain is his Ardmore archaeological legacy is truly magnificent. The west gable wall within the ruins of the 12th-century Cathedral is of particular historical note. It features well preserved Romanesque stone carvings in a series of arcades. These depict scenes from the old and new testaments that are thought to have been retrieved from an earlier 9th-century building.


Many believe the stone Round Tower was a bell tower, but it certainly was a place of refuge for the Monks and important ecclesiastical documents and treasures. The entrance doorway of the tower is some four metres above ground level and would have offered a short-term bolthole from a seaborne raid. It can be visited today via a short ascent from the village where St. Declan's Well will be passed in the vicinity of the footpath commencing to the east of the pier.

What cannot be seen today is any trace of Ardmore Castle or more appropriately castles. There is no visible trace of these today but this was not so in the past. Smith writing in 1746, records 'Ardmore is now no more than a village, there appears at present, the stump of a castle; and not long since, was a much larger one there, which was taken down.'


Aerial view of St Declan's Church and The Round Tower
Image: John Finn


In 1844 Mr O’Flanagan wrote in his 'Historical and Picturesque Guide to the Blackwater in Munster' 'There are also traces of two ancient castles, but neither history nor tradition throws any light on the persons by whom or the purposes for which they were erected'. They had evidently completely vanished in 1860 when Hayman’s 'Guide to Youghal, Ardmore and The Blackwater' appeared, as he has no mention of them. One castle stood just below the Oratory immediately outside the cathedral grounds. It was laid siege to in 1642 and capitulated within a day.

The Round Tower Ardmore
Image: Tourism Ireland
The tale of the siege has a sparse account in historical documents; writers on the civil war in Ireland are very sparing in their notices of the subject. It is thought that the brutal treatment extended to defenders, after they capitulated with a request for mercy, was unpalatable and it was a story best left untold. The best account to be found is in Edmund Borlase’s 1743 'The History of the Irish Rebellion' where he provides a detailed military description of how... Lord Dungarvan and the Lord Broghill, summoning the Castle of Ardmore in the County of Waterford, belonging to the Bishop of Waterford, [and] after some petty boasts to withstand the utmost hazard it was yielded 26 of August 1642, on mercy’.

Borlace’s account of the battle is militaristic, triumphant and to be entirely objective the surrender of the castle was the only reasonable outcome. Moreover, the defenders fought a stalwart battle throughout the day. It was only after the church and tower had been taken, situated on the higher ground above the castle and eliminating more than a quarter of the defending forces, that the castle was surrendered 'on mercy'. 'Mercy' was however scarce that day as Borlace continues 'women and children being spared, but a hundred and forty men were put to the sword'. Objectively the taking of the castle was very much less the brave feat that colours Borlace’s narrative. The Garrison that took the castle was one of several operating in the area and sizeable; as Borlace describes in the advance to the castle... 'Our forces were about 400. All muskets, besides 60 horse, part of the two Lords troops'. This vastly outnumbered the 140 defending men that had only two muskets to hold the church and castle from the advancing garrison of professional soldiers.

‘ Oh! sadly shines the morning sun,
On leaguer’d castle wall,
When bastion, tower and battlement,
Seem nodding to their fall.

Re castle, 1642. by James Buckley.


Today Ardmore is a quaint little seaside resort and fishing village. The level of fishing activity is however small, and declining due to a lack of harbour investment. Only a limited number of open-boat fishermen are active from the village. As a tourist resort Ardmore is thriving and this is largely driven by its beautiful protected beaches. Fronting Ardmore Bay is the mile-long blue flag beach known locally as the ‘Main Beach’, and the adjacent Curragh, Ballyquin, Whiting Bay and Goat Island are four equally stunning beaches.

Monument to Ardmore's fishing heritage between the village and pier
Image: Michael Harpur


The village itself has an art gallery, pottery and craft shops, plus a choice of fine hotels, restaurants and pubs for that most important meal. It has the added enchantment of being part of the Gaelic speaking 'Coastal Gaeltacht' district of the Ring, 'An Rinn'. Signposts shop names and businesses of the community are all conducted in Gaelic. This makes for a unique visitor experience, as the love of Irish music, song and dance, together with the language is very special.


Napoleonic tower on Rams Head
Image: Tourism Ireland


Those who like to stride out should not miss the highly rewarding 'Cliff Walk' out along the Ram’s Head peninsula, This begins near the Cliff House Hotel and ends back in the village main street and is well marked by posts along the route. It provides breath-taking scenery and views over the extent of Ardmore Bay from the 64-metre high rocky headland. There are several historic features of interest en route.


Samson wreck on the inner shore of the peninsula
Image: Kevin Higgins via CC BY-SA 2.0
The Gothic style watchtower, a seamark that readily identifies Ram’s Head, was built in the 1860s as part of the Irish coastlines defences during the Napoleonic wars. The smaller more easterly watch station was used to monitor passing sea and air traffic during World War 2.

The notable 'Samson' wreck, on the inner shore of the peninsula, was a crane barge. During a December storm in 1987, it was being towed from Liverpool to Malta and was cut loose from its two tugboats off the Welsh coast. The crew members were subsequently rescued and the Samson blew a couple of hundred miles to its final resting point on the rocks of Ardmore Bay. Here it has been rusting away ever since cast in the new role as a tourist attraction and popular wreck for divers.


The recovered 12 pounder stern gun from SS Foloa
Image: Michael Harpur


There are many other older wrecks in the bay area including the 'Marechal de Noailles', 'Bandon, Peri', 'Scotland', 'Sextusa','Peg Tranton', and more recently 'Anne Sophie' and Fee des Ondes. The remaining keel of the latter wreck may still be seen at low tide on the main beach. Four miles out to the south of Rams Head lies the wreck of Cunard lines SS 'The Folia' that draws much attention for both local and visiting divers. The 131 metres (430ft) long, twin funnelled passenger liner was built in 1907 and was armed with a 12 pounder 12 cwt stern gun during World War One. She was nonetheless torpedoed in March 1917 by a German U-Boat when bound from New York to Bristol about 4 miles southeast of Ram Head. The U-Boat commander allowed the crew to take to their lifeboat who then heard the church bells of Sunday Service. Following the sound, they arrived into Ardmore where they were well catered for by the people of the village. The captain and 67 crew survived the sinking and 7 were found to be missing, presumed killed by the explosion. The stern gun from The Folia was recovered by a team of local divers and presented to the village of Ardmore in March 2017.


Local fishing boats on the slipway
Image: Michael Harpur


The well-kept family resort and the small quaint fishing village has plenty to offer the passing cruiser. It may not be the best anchorage in the world but is perfectly serviceable for a short stay. Moreover, access is direct and easy plus there is a very good landing area. Once inside, the village is charming and it comes with beautiful sweeps of beach, wonderful and interesting cliff walks and offers a superb archaeological site to explore.


What facilities are available?
Ardmore has in the past been largely overlooked by the cruising community and as such has few facilities specifically tailored to visiting yachtsmen. The small pier and quay has a slipway. The village immediately above has facilities to support a permanent population of about 350 that is vastly increased during summer by visitors, plus people who stay in the caravan park above the beach. The main street has a mini supermarket, a pharmacy plus a number of pubs, restaurants and hotels. A petrol station is open in the village during the summer providing fuel by Jerry cans. Bus Éireann provides a three times daily bus service No. 260 Ardmore / Youghal / Cork and twice daily the 362 Ardmore / Dungarvan / Waterford. Waterford airport is within 40 minutes drive. The hotel offers showers and internet access for people utilising their facilities.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored or on moorings in Ardmore Bay.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett and Siobhan Ryan, THE CLIFF HOUSE HOTEL, Ardmore, Co Waterford.Photos with thanks to Burke Corbett, Mik Herman, Kevin Higgins, Mjrogers50, John Finn and Michael Watson.







Aerial overview of Ardmore Bay


About Ardmore Bay

Ardmore derives its name from the Irish 'Aird Mhor' meaning the 'great height' that describes the bay’s eastern promontory that rises to 58 metres. The village is historically significant for being the birthplace of Irish Christianity.

Ardmore Cathedral and Round Tower
Image: Tourism Ireland


The monastery was founded here as early as 316 AD by St Declan who was born in Ireland and educated in Wales. This was nearly a century before the coming of St Patrick who was born in Scotland and lived 390 – 461 AD. The ruins of the small church of St Declan's Oratory is overlooked by the villages' signature landmark 30-metre high 12th century Round Tower. Standing over the village and bay, and highly conspicuous on the latter stages of an easterly approach, this tower is believed to mark the burial place of St. Declan.

St Declan's Church and The Round Tower
Image: Tourism Ireland
St. Declan is little spoken of but nonetheless is seen as being very important. It has often been proposed, because he formed the first Christian church and being a native Irishman, that St. Declan should be the patron saint of Ireland in preference to St. Patrick. What is certain is his Ardmore archaeological legacy is truly magnificent. The west gable wall within the ruins of the 12th-century Cathedral is of particular historical note. It features well preserved Romanesque stone carvings in a series of arcades. These depict scenes from the old and new testaments that are thought to have been retrieved from an earlier 9th-century building.


Many believe the stone Round Tower was a bell tower, but it certainly was a place of refuge for the Monks and important ecclesiastical documents and treasures. The entrance doorway of the tower is some four metres above ground level and would have offered a short-term bolthole from a seaborne raid. It can be visited today via a short ascent from the village where St. Declan's Well will be passed in the vicinity of the footpath commencing to the east of the pier.

What cannot be seen today is any trace of Ardmore Castle or more appropriately castles. There is no visible trace of these today but this was not so in the past. Smith writing in 1746, records 'Ardmore is now no more than a village, there appears at present, the stump of a castle; and not long since, was a much larger one there, which was taken down.'


Aerial view of St Declan's Church and The Round Tower
Image: John Finn


In 1844 Mr O’Flanagan wrote in his 'Historical and Picturesque Guide to the Blackwater in Munster' 'There are also traces of two ancient castles, but neither history nor tradition throws any light on the persons by whom or the purposes for which they were erected'. They had evidently completely vanished in 1860 when Hayman’s 'Guide to Youghal, Ardmore and The Blackwater' appeared, as he has no mention of them. One castle stood just below the Oratory immediately outside the cathedral grounds. It was laid siege to in 1642 and capitulated within a day.

The Round Tower Ardmore
Image: Tourism Ireland
The tale of the siege has a sparse account in historical documents; writers on the civil war in Ireland are very sparing in their notices of the subject. It is thought that the brutal treatment extended to defenders, after they capitulated with a request for mercy, was unpalatable and it was a story best left untold. The best account to be found is in Edmund Borlase’s 1743 'The History of the Irish Rebellion' where he provides a detailed military description of how... Lord Dungarvan and the Lord Broghill, summoning the Castle of Ardmore in the County of Waterford, belonging to the Bishop of Waterford, [and] after some petty boasts to withstand the utmost hazard it was yielded 26 of August 1642, on mercy’.

Borlace’s account of the battle is militaristic, triumphant and to be entirely objective the surrender of the castle was the only reasonable outcome. Moreover, the defenders fought a stalwart battle throughout the day. It was only after the church and tower had been taken, situated on the higher ground above the castle and eliminating more than a quarter of the defending forces, that the castle was surrendered 'on mercy'. 'Mercy' was however scarce that day as Borlace continues 'women and children being spared, but a hundred and forty men were put to the sword'. Objectively the taking of the castle was very much less the brave feat that colours Borlace’s narrative. The Garrison that took the castle was one of several operating in the area and sizeable; as Borlace describes in the advance to the castle... 'Our forces were about 400. All muskets, besides 60 horse, part of the two Lords troops'. This vastly outnumbered the 140 defending men that had only two muskets to hold the church and castle from the advancing garrison of professional soldiers.

‘ Oh! sadly shines the morning sun,
On leaguer’d castle wall,
When bastion, tower and battlement,
Seem nodding to their fall.

Re castle, 1642. by James Buckley.


Today Ardmore is a quaint little seaside resort and fishing village. The level of fishing activity is however small, and declining due to a lack of harbour investment. Only a limited number of open-boat fishermen are active from the village. As a tourist resort Ardmore is thriving and this is largely driven by its beautiful protected beaches. Fronting Ardmore Bay is the mile-long blue flag beach known locally as the ‘Main Beach’, and the adjacent Curragh, Ballyquin, Whiting Bay and Goat Island are four equally stunning beaches.

Monument to Ardmore's fishing heritage between the village and pier
Image: Michael Harpur


The village itself has an art gallery, pottery and craft shops, plus a choice of fine hotels, restaurants and pubs for that most important meal. It has the added enchantment of being part of the Gaelic speaking 'Coastal Gaeltacht' district of the Ring, 'An Rinn'. Signposts shop names and businesses of the community are all conducted in Gaelic. This makes for a unique visitor experience, as the love of Irish music, song and dance, together with the language is very special.


Napoleonic tower on Rams Head
Image: Tourism Ireland


Those who like to stride out should not miss the highly rewarding 'Cliff Walk' out along the Ram’s Head peninsula, This begins near the Cliff House Hotel and ends back in the village main street and is well marked by posts along the route. It provides breath-taking scenery and views over the extent of Ardmore Bay from the 64-metre high rocky headland. There are several historic features of interest en route.


Samson wreck on the inner shore of the peninsula
Image: Kevin Higgins via CC BY-SA 2.0
The Gothic style watchtower, a seamark that readily identifies Ram’s Head, was built in the 1860s as part of the Irish coastlines defences during the Napoleonic wars. The smaller more easterly watch station was used to monitor passing sea and air traffic during World War 2.

The notable 'Samson' wreck, on the inner shore of the peninsula, was a crane barge. During a December storm in 1987, it was being towed from Liverpool to Malta and was cut loose from its two tugboats off the Welsh coast. The crew members were subsequently rescued and the Samson blew a couple of hundred miles to its final resting point on the rocks of Ardmore Bay. Here it has been rusting away ever since cast in the new role as a tourist attraction and popular wreck for divers.


The recovered 12 pounder stern gun from SS Foloa
Image: Michael Harpur


There are many other older wrecks in the bay area including the 'Marechal de Noailles', 'Bandon, Peri', 'Scotland', 'Sextusa','Peg Tranton', and more recently 'Anne Sophie' and Fee des Ondes. The remaining keel of the latter wreck may still be seen at low tide on the main beach. Four miles out to the south of Rams Head lies the wreck of Cunard lines SS 'The Folia' that draws much attention for both local and visiting divers. The 131 metres (430ft) long, twin funnelled passenger liner was built in 1907 and was armed with a 12 pounder 12 cwt stern gun during World War One. She was nonetheless torpedoed in March 1917 by a German U-Boat when bound from New York to Bristol about 4 miles southeast of Ram Head. The U-Boat commander allowed the crew to take to their lifeboat who then heard the church bells of Sunday Service. Following the sound, they arrived into Ardmore where they were well catered for by the people of the village. The captain and 67 crew survived the sinking and 7 were found to be missing, presumed killed by the explosion. The stern gun from The Folia was recovered by a team of local divers and presented to the village of Ardmore in March 2017.


Local fishing boats on the slipway
Image: Michael Harpur


The well-kept family resort and the small quaint fishing village has plenty to offer the passing cruiser. It may not be the best anchorage in the world but is perfectly serviceable for a short stay. Moreover, access is direct and easy plus there is a very good landing area. Once inside, the village is charming and it comes with beautiful sweeps of beach, wonderful and interesting cliff walks and offers a superb archaeological site to explore.

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:
Youghal - 2.9 miles W
Knockadoon Slip - 4.2 miles SW
Ballycotton - 7.9 miles SW
White Bay - 13.5 miles WSW
Aghada - 12 miles WSW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Helvick - 5.5 miles NE
Dungarvan Town Quay - 5.7 miles NNE
Ballynacourty (The Pool) - 6 miles NNE
Stradbally Cove - 8.6 miles NE
Boatstrand Harbour - 11.8 miles NE

Navigational pictures


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












































Aerial overview of Ardmore Bay



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