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Robert's Cove

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Overview





Roberts Cove is a small coastal inlet that is situated just over three miles southwest of the entrance to Cork Harbour and approximately halfway between Robert’s Head and Cork Head.

Roberts Cove is a small coastal inlet that is situated just over three miles southwest of the entrance to Cork Harbour and approximately halfway between Robert’s Head and Cork Head.

This inlet provides an exposed anchorage that is open from south round to southeast. It offers marginal protection from south-westerly conditions up to a Beaufort force 3-4, but after that, it will tend to roll uncomfortably. However shallower draft vessels may go deeper into the cove to find more protection. In general, it should be considered a fair-weather anchorage for southerly winds but it is well protected from all other quarters. Access is straightforward in daylight as there are no unmarked off-lying hazards in the immediate area.



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Keyfacts for Robert's Cove
Facilities
Water available via tapShop with basic provisions availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic 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
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
2 stars: Exposed; unattended vessels should be watched from the shore and a comfortable overnight stay is unlikely.



Last modified
March 8th 2021

Summary

An exposed location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapShop with basic provisions availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic 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° 44.530' N, 008° 18.630' W

Half way up the inlet.

What is the initial fix?

The following Robert’s Cove initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 44.300' N, 008° 18.300' W
This waypoint is set half way between Robert’s Head and Cork Head, just under a mile north by northwest of Daunt Rock. A course of 322° (T) for a quarter of a mile will place a vessel outside the mouth of the bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the southwest are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location.


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 Robert's Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Ringabella Bay - 1.1 miles N
  2. Crosshaven - 2.4 miles N
  3. Drake’s Pool - 2.4 miles NNW
  4. White Bay - 2.7 miles NNE
  5. Spike Island - 3.6 miles N
  6. Oyster Haven - 3.7 miles WSW
  7. Cork Harbour Marina - 3.8 miles N
  8. Cobh - 4 miles N
  9. Cuskinny - 4.3 miles NNE
  10. Glenbrook - 4.4 miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Ringabella Bay - 1.1 miles N
  2. Crosshaven - 2.4 miles N
  3. Drake’s Pool - 2.4 miles NNW
  4. White Bay - 2.7 miles NNE
  5. Spike Island - 3.6 miles N
  6. Oyster Haven - 3.7 miles WSW
  7. Cork Harbour Marina - 3.8 miles N
  8. Cobh - 4 miles N
  9. Cuskinny - 4.3 miles NNE
  10. Glenbrook - 4.4 miles N
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?
Robert's Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Robert’s Cove is a small narrow inlet situated about ½ a mile westward of Cork Head and a little more than the same north of Robert's Head. The cove has a small village that includes two pubs, near its head which are overlooked by the Roberts Cove Holiday Park on the northeastern high ground.


The small village overlooking Robert's Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


With its long flat, gradually descending beach deeply set into gently rolling hills the small bay is a popular destination for bathers and day-trippers from Cork City during the summer months.


How to get in?
Robert's Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Approach details are available in southeastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the southwest are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location. The narrow inlet blends in with its surrounding cliffs and locating its position from seaward will require some keen eyeball navigation.


Robert's Cove Signal Station with the first house of the cove just showing
Image: Burke Corbett


From the west, after rounding the head and turning towards the initial fix, the cove should make itself known by its caravans and a bungalow set on the eastern side of the narrow inlet. These should be seen just before the cove opens up. It may be more difficult to spot from the east where the coastline presents as a solid cliff wall.

The buildings at the head of the cove starting to show themsleves
Image: Burke Corbett


Initial fix location From the initial fix steer northwestward for the entrance that is a ¼ of a mile distant.

If the cove still cannot be identified at this point make a course for the conspicuous square top of the Robert's Head Signal Station on the headland to the west of the initial fix. It is set on a 73 metres high headland and is located ⅓ of a mile to the southwest of the cove. Proceed towards the cliff face beneath the tower and the bay, being orientated north-northwest/south-southeast, will soon open and reveal itself. A white house will appear first on this line of approach.


The top of Robert's Cove Signal Station seen to the west of the approach
Image: Burke Corbett


Once the cove has made itself known alter course towards the outer end of the cove. The Robert's Cove Inn will be seen, most likely painted a conspicuous colour, and a stone arched bridge plus a seawall at the head of the bay.


The cove opening up with the Robert's Inn and bridge visible
Image: Burke Corbett


Procced in clear of its heads sounding all the way in. The inlet within is approximately 350 metres long of which about half dries at low water.

Anchor according to draft in the entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to the vessels draft where there is good holding in sand. The shallower the vessel’s draft, the further it may enter into the cover and the more protection the cove provides.

Robert's Cove as seen from the anchoring area at its entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


Land by dingy on the hard sand beach at the head of the inlet. Vessels that can take to the bottom will find an excellent flat beach to dry upon.

Hard sand beach at the the head of Robert's Cove
Image: Michael Harpur



Why visit here?
Originally formed by a retreating glacier, Roberts Cove, in Irish Cuainín Riobaird most likely took its name from the Roberts family who owned a local slate quarry.


The Head of Robert's Cove at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


Samuel Lewis', 1837 'A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland' noted 'At Roberts' Cove is a valuable slate quarry, belonging to Sir Thomas Roberts, Bart., but it is not worked to any considerable extent. Britfieldstown, the seat of Sir Thomas Roberts, Bart., is pleasantly situated in a secluded spot above Roberts' Cove . . . The Cove affords a commodious shelter for vessels of 200 tons' burden, which occasionally arrive laden with coal, and return with cargoes of slate'. The 1842 Ordnance Survey map of the area noted Britfieldstown House, the seat of the Roberts family, was situated further to the north of the signal tower and close to the cove. But the families' fortuned must have ebbed away as in 1851 the estate was sold on behalf of Sir Thomas Howland Roberts who was listed as 'an insolvent debtor'. The family home became derelict by the 1970s and the only remains to be seen are parts of a walled garden and a derelict gate lodge. The small cove however has several remaining interesting buildings.


Robert's Cove's pretty old coastguard building with its private slip
Image: Michael Harpur


The beautiful raised building with a slipway situated on the northwest side was once a coastguard station, the most westerly of the eight stations that constitute the district of Cove. The Robert's Cove Inn, which dominates the head of the inlet, was originally the site of an old mill. It once hosted a community of monks who milled corn here and also later turned their hand to the import of coal and reciprocal export of Roberts slate.


The Robert's Cove Inn
Image: Michael Harpur


The extensive signal tower on the headland to the southwest was built in 1806 to provide a watch location for a Napoleonic invasion. A total of 81 of these towers were built on strategically high and often remote, exposed locations near the coast. They all had inter-visibility with each other communicating by using flags and balls on a mast in front of the tower. It is also possible that the station was also used as a watch station by the coastguards that were based in Robert’s Cove but its time was short-lived. The threat of a French invasion diminished after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 and the high maintenance costs, caused the abandonment of most of the weather-beaten towers. They became derelict soon after, mainly due to the ravages of the weather in their exposed locations. It is however possible that Robert's Head signal tower continued to be used into the early years of the 20th-century as a fog signal station as it had subsequent structural additions to facilitate the manning of the station for this use.


Robert's Head Signal Tower
Image: Jonathan Thacker via CC BY SA 2.0


Today Robert's Cove is one of the most scenic bays on the southwest Cork coastline. The cove hosts a small village that consists of several houses, a caravan park and two pubs one of which is a gastropub. Recessed from the coast and sheltered from the breeze by its high western headland the calm waters of the enclosed cove are ideal for families and swimming. Bathers enter from the beach, or further out on the western side where readily accessible rocks give access to deeper waters. Walkers will find the coves cliff walks offer spectacular views out over the coastline. All of this and its proximity to the city make it a popular summer destination for day-tripping Corkonians.


Picnic Bench overlooking Robert's Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, this is a picturesque place to visit. Although far from being the perfect all-weather anchorage it is a very snug little inlet that is frequented by surprisingly large vessels. It provides a good landing beach for a tender and is ideal for a bilge-keeler to dry out on. It is the ideal location to let a family boat to let the kids off to play and, there is a choice of pubs and a very good restaurant for the adults aboard. These make it a well worthwhile stop over in favourable conditions to enjoy this pleasant stretch of coastline, some pints and a nice meal.


What facilities are available?
Robert's Cove hosts a small village that consists of a number of houses, a caravan park and two pubs. There is a tap at the head of the bay near a grassy area that was placed there for the benefit of campers. There are no other facilities except for the bars plus a good beach to land a dinghy with car access almost alongside. The pubs offer good food daily during the season with an extensive bar and dinner menu available nightly throughout the year. Sunday lunch is on offer from 12.30 to 14.30. The village is situated 5km from Minane Bridge, 12km from Carrigaline and 25km from Cork.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel in Robert's Cove.


With thanks to:
Anthony McCarthy, local yachtsman, and Burke Corbett. Photographs with thanks to aspecticide, Brian Catcart, Mark Murray and Burke Corbett.










Roberts Cove Overview



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