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Passage East

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Overview





Passage East is located on the southeast coast of Ireland seven miles within and upon the western shores of Waterford Harbour. It is a small completely drying harbour that may only be used by vessels that can take to the bottom.

Vessels that can take to the mud will find complete protection from all conditions. The wide, unhindered and well-marked Waterford Harbour estuary provides safe access, night or day and at any stage of the tide but final access will require a sufficient rise of tide.
Please note

Tidal streams are a prime consideration within Waterford Harbour; a strong adverse current will make for slow progress, conversely, a favourable passage current will make the estuary quickly traversable.




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Keyfacts for Passage East
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPost Office in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
Jetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: rising tide required for accessRestriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
April 15th 2020

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPost Office in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
Jetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: rising tide required for accessRestriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



HM  +353 51 301400     HM  +353 87 2598297      Ch.14/10/13 [Waterford Port]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 14.426' N, 006° 58.336' W

The pierhead at the entrance.

What is the initial fix?

The following Passage East Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
52° 14.470' N, 006° 58.324' W
This is 100 metres outside and directly north of the entrance to the harbour.


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. Seaward approaches, along with the run up the harbour, are covered in the Port of Waterford Click to view haven entry.


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 Passage East for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Ballyhack - 0.2 miles NNE
  2. Arthurstown - 0.4 miles E
  3. Seedes Bank - 0.6 miles NNW
  4. Buttermilk Point - 0.8 miles NNW
  5. Duncannon - 1 miles SE
  6. Cheekpoint - 1.3 miles NNW
  7. Little Island - 2.1 miles W
  8. Dollar Bay - 2.2 miles SE
  9. Creadan Head - 2.2 miles SSE
  10. Templetown Bay - 2.8 miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Ballyhack - 0.2 miles NNE
  2. Arthurstown - 0.4 miles E
  3. Seedes Bank - 0.6 miles NNW
  4. Buttermilk Point - 0.8 miles NNW
  5. Duncannon - 1 miles SE
  6. Cheekpoint - 1.3 miles NNW
  7. Little Island - 2.1 miles W
  8. Dollar Bay - 2.2 miles SE
  9. Creadan Head - 2.2 miles SSE
  10. Templetown Bay - 2.8 miles SSE
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?
Passage East
Image: Michael Harpur


Passage East is a historic village built on the hillside of the River Suir’s western shore. It is located about seven miles within Waterford Harbour and has a small drying quay on the north side of the village. The village serves as the western terminus for the river ferry from Ballyhack.


The drying Passage East Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


This is a drying harbour and only suitable for vessels that can take to the mud. Leisure craft may anchor close northwest of the harbour but the berth is uncomfortable owing to the velocity that the tidal streams attain here in the narrowest part of the river. A vessel could not be left unattended and handling a tender would be difficult if not perilous at times.


How to get in?
The ferry passing from Passage East to Ballyhack
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the Port of Waterford Click to view haven for details of seaward approaches, entry to Waterford Harbour and the run up the estuary. From Passage Spit the facing villages of Passage East and Ballyhack will be seen and the pattern of the regular ferry crossing between them can be estimated. The ferry operates within very tight margins and should not be impeded.


The harbour entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix, set over the entrance, make a note of the run of the current and proceed in accordingly.


Passage East and its three quays
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Berth alongside one of the three main quays: Boathouse Quay, Hackett's Quay or Middle Quay or raft up if no wall space is available.

Boats alongside Passage East
Image: Michael Harpur


Vessels awaiting sufficient rise of the tide to enter can anchor to the northeast of the harbour but not in the vicinity of the ferry. This should only be a short stay anchorage as a totally secure long-term anchorage is available 400 metres to the north over the Seedes Bank Click to view haven.

If intending to anchor do not do so in such a fashion that the vessel can swing out and encroach upon the shipping channel. The main channel runs close to the west bank along here, as it does all the way to Hell Point, and very little movement is required for a vessel to cause an obstruction. Because of this boats that anchor here are often requested to move across to the Seedes Bank by the Harbour Master.


Why visit here?
Passage East takes its name from the Irish An Pasáiste, literally intending to describe 'a piece of water which one can swim' across and directly 'the passage'. The name stems directly from the role it has played from antiquity to the present day of providing a ferry service eastward to Ballyhack, on the opposite eastern County Wexford side of the estuary.


Bayeux Tapestry depiction of a Norman army in the field
Image: Public Domain


The original medieval settlement at Passage East centred on a fort designed to defend the waterways approaching Waterford. But the small harbour would play a central part in the turning point of the nation in 1170 during the Norman Invasion of Ireland.


Depiction of the Marriage of Aoife and Strongbow
Image: Public Domain


This was a two-stage process, which began on 1st of May 1169 when a force of loosely associated Norman knights landed near Bannow Bay. They were acting in support of Diarmait Mac Murchada, the ousted King of Leinster. The Passage East landing the following year, at what was then known simply as 'The Passage’, was part of the second wave and the 5th of the landing parties that bore down on Ireland in 1170. It was here that the leader of the invasion, the Earl of Pembroke, Richard de Clare, better known as Strongbow landed with 200 knights and 1,000 men. He then combined his forces with those of Raymond FitzWilliam le Gros who led the 4th landing on May 1st 1170 on Baginbun with 100 heavily armoured Norman, Welsh and Flemish mercenary knights. The combined armies of Strongbow and Raymond le Gros then advanced toward the walled city of Waterford and the conquest of Ireland began in earnest.


Bayeux Tapestry depiction of knight transport ships
Image: Public Domain


Two attacks on the city were repulsed before their joint forces found a weak spot in the walls that enabled them to enter and capture the town. Strongbow’s capture of Waterford consolidated the Cambro-Norman foothold in Ireland and his next objective was to take command of the province of Leinster by taking the strategic, political and trade centre of Dublin. Dublin fell just as quickly and the swift Cambro-Normans military takeover of the southeast of Ireland was to the largest part complete. Strongbow then married Diarmait's daughter, Aoife, to secure the political takeover by being named as heir to the Kingdom of Leinster. Strongbow then set about settling fellow Welshmen in the region.

King Henry II
Image: Public Domain
Fearing Strongbow’s designs to create a breakaway Norman kingdom Henry II, the King of England, Wales and northern France decided he needed to make a decisive move. To quash any such ideas and cement his authority and control over the newly acquired territory he landed in Passage East in 1171 with an army of 4,000 men that included 500 knights. This was an enormous show of force by any measure. 500 knights would mean at least 500 horses and most knights took at least two horses along with others for carrying supplies and arms and drawing carts etc. The horses were transported in boats that would have been beached and unloaded via the stern called Taride. It is likely that their capacity of the time was between 12-30 horses per ships. As such historians speculate that the fleet Henry II took to Ireland amounted to more than 400 ships. Leaving nothing to chance alongside the show of force he also carried papal authority for his conquest. Most significantly it was the first King of England to set foot on Irish soil and the beginning of 800 years of English, and later British, rule in Ireland.

After the invasion, the Normans noted the importance of Passage East. It was fortified with the 'Castle of Passage' to command the harbour and shipping up and down the important river. The small outpost continued to reflect the turning points of the nation’s history. 'The Garrison' as it was called in Medieval times, along with Ballyhack Castle, was attacked by Cromwell's New Model army in 1649. Legend has it that the phrase 'by hook or by crooke' was supposedly coined by Oliver Cromwell when he was deciding whether to approach Waterford Harbour via Hook Head or the village of Crooke adjacent to Passage East on the opposite side of the estuary.


Remains of the Geneva Barracks
Image: RTG via CC ASA 4.0


At the time the area belonged to the defender of Faithlegg, on Cheekpoint, Sir P. Aylward from the family who had held the area as an unbroken family line since the first Norman land grants. The castle was reduced to rubble by his serving officer General William Bolton, who dismantled its tower after taking it. Afterwards, Oliver Cromwell dispossessed the Aylward family of its lands and gave the estate to Bolton. In 1690, after his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, it was here where King James fled from Ireland. Likewise, the Geneva Barracks was erected in the 18th-century to house a community of silver workers from Switzerland who had to leave their homeland because of their Huguenot sympathies. The utopian colony failed and the building played a part in the aftermath of the 1798 United Irishmen Revolt. It was turned into a notorious prison and then point of departure for thousands of 1798 rebels that were transported out of the country.


Constrained by a high escarpment Passage East has changed little since 1905
Image: Public Domain


Today the peaceful, charming fishing village of Passage East is very much removed from any drama. History has left behind a distinctive architecture. It is home to a small but thriving fishing industry, which provides employment for a number of local people. The village is small and set into the physical constraints imposed by the location’s high escarpment. It has two open squares, surrounding streets and three main quays. It has a nice long beach leading to the south that provides for great fishing.

Leisure boats in Passage East Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


For the passing boater, it has good pubs and a reportedly good Chinese restaurant. The ferry that passes back and forth to Ballyhack is situated on the Waterford to Rosslare Europort road. The Passage East side of the river is less than 10 KM away from Waterford International airport and the city of Waterford is a short twenty-minute taxi ride.


What facilities are available?
Passage East has no facilities apart from the quays, pubs and small shops.


Any security concerns?
As the harbour completely dries, any passer-by can walk out and access your vessel. It is best that you clear the decks and fasten the vessel down if leaving it unattended.


With thanks to:
John Carroll, Ballyhack, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Michael Harpur.







Passage East Ballyhack and vessels navigating the narrows between



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