The anchorage offers good protection from all conditions except from the northeast. It can be subject to northwest swell when its outer fringing rocks cover at high water. In such cases Fenit, less than ten miles away, provides all round protection. Access to Scraggane Bay is straightforward in daylight at any stage of the tide.
Keyfacts for Scraggane Bay
Summary* Restrictions applyA good location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position52° 18.624' N, 010° 2.000' W
This is the position of the head of the pier that is situated in the northwest end of Scraggane Bay.
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
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How to get in?
from Tralee Bay
Image: © William Glasgow Howe
Scraggane Bay located within a bight at the head of the peninsula that lies directly south of Illauntannig and separates Brandon Bay from Tralee Bay. There is a pier on the west side with two slipways. The small village of Fahamore, on the Brandon Bay side of the peninsula, is accessible via a short walk from Scraggane Bay pier. It provides an anchorage amongst fishing boats plus a pier.
From the Scraggane Bay initial fix head south into the bay. The bay is entered between Doonagaun Island, a small island off the north end of Scraggane Point on the west side, and the reefs and shallows that extend from Rough Point on the east side. Rough Point may be also distinguished by an old telegraph tower standing on the point and Doonagaun Island is low but always visible. Doonagaun Island has deep water close by and it is best to prefer this side of the entrance keeping between 100 and 200 metres off the island upon approach.
Once inside the entrance proceed south for ¼ of a mile to anchor outside of the moored fishing vessels.
Anchor according to draught and conditions. 2 metres will be found with the pierhead bearing 287° and the east side of Illauntannig bearing 023°. 3 metres can be found 150 metres east from the pier and shallower draft vessels will find about 1 metre with swinging room just southeast of the pier.
Continuing further southward of the pier requires a high great degree of care. A reef of large boulders extends from the pier to occupy the southwest corner of the bay. Likewise, a shoal occupies nearly the entire southern half of the bay with a small central part awash at low water springs.
Image: © Dwane Doyle
The pier and slip are actively used by fishermen mooring and slipping large lobster crates. The lobster crates are generally moored, almost submerged, off the pier and amongst the fishing vessels. There is also a very active dive school operating from the pier. As the pier is busy, subject to swell, and has a foul bottom it should be avoided by leisure craft. It does provide a very good slip for landing provided a sharp watch is maintained for lobster crates.
Image: Terry Ballard
Why visit here?Scraggane Bay, in Irish An Scragán or "Scraggies", as it is colloquially known, is a small fishing port that is home to a fleet of about twenty fishing trawlers. The main local catch consists of lobster, flat-back crab, spider crab, Atlantic crayfish, Atlantic salmon and mackerel.
Visitors will also see the unusual aspect of this fleet, as nearly all the fishermen use traditional Irish curraghs for trawler tenders. This is because the master curragh builder Monty O'Leary is located across the peninsula, in Fahamore, busily constructing curraghs, or Naomhóg.
The traditional curragh was constructed with ribs made of sally rods with the ends being brought up through holes in a strong gunwale frame. Over the ribs were placed longitudinal pieces of thin deal and this was then covered with canvas or hides. This was all then blackened and made water-tight with bitumen (tar). The ancient boats could be managed with great dexterity as the traditional design provided qualities that are only seen today in modern craft made from advanced technologies. The boat’s elasticity enabled a curragh to recoil from a shock that would stove-in a heavy structured vessel and their lightness provided such buoyancy that they floated like ducks on the water.
These craft are still in use today but are more likely to have an outer skin of fibreglass to replace the hide. They still look delicate but are surprisingly strong and resilient when used on the often rough Atlantic coast. Having the boats constructed in the area has made this bay a centre for curragh enthusiasts and this love of the boats reaches a climax each July. Then the bay hosts a currach racing regatta where currach racing teams from Ireland’s entire western seaboard, from Kerry to Galway, come to compete in the All-Ireland Currach racing series.
Image: Terry Ballard
Fahamore derives its name from the Irish An Faiche Mor meaning ‘The Big Green’; a reference to the big open space in front of the famous Spillane’s Pub. The local economy of the village and bay area is underpinned by tourism through holiday home rentals, pubs and restaurants, and particularly for watersport enthusiasts as Scraggane Bay is used extensively for flat water windsurfing. The areas consistent wind and protection from the Atlantic waves makes it sailable in almost any condition, regardless of wind direction. This capability was recently observed by the Sunday Times when it voted it the No.1 windsurfing destination in the World. Scuba diving, sea angling and walking are other popular leisure activities here. Those who enjoy a hike should plan a visit to the 14ft high standing stone with a cross situated in a field at Candiha at the southern end of the bay.
From a cruising perspective, Scraggane Bay is another interesting and very pleasant anchoring opportunity in this area of outstanding natural beauty. For when the sun shines here, this area looks more like the Caribbean than the west coast of Ireland.
What facilities are available?There is a water tap on the pier outside a basic but well cared for public lavatory. The small village of Fahamore, at Brandon Bay less than 10 minutes’ walk, has pubs and some basic shopping serving about 50 houses.
Any security concerns?Never an incident known to have occurred in Scraggane Bay.
With thanks to:Mark Murray, Yacht 'Motivator'.
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