The small rocky inlet provides good protection from all but strong northerly conditions. Access is straightforward at any stage of the tide but daylight is required to locate and enter the cove.
Keyfacts for Dunmanus Harbour
Summary* Restrictions applyA good location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position51° 32.550' N, 009° 39.882' W
This is the position of the anchorage in Dunmanus Harbour
What are the initial fixes?The following waypoints will set up a final approach:
(i) Dunmanus Bay initial fix
51° 30.700' N, 009° 51.200' W
This initial fix positions an Atlantic approach to Dunmanus Bay and is set midway between Sheep's Head and Mizen Head.
(ii) Dunmanus Harbour initial fix
51° 32.780' N, 009° 39.920' W
This is immediately outside the entrance and a quarter of a mile from the anchoring area. Keeping the castle on a bearing of 173°T from here will steer the vessel through the centre of the entrance and into the anchoring area.
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Toormore Cove - 1.1 miles SSE
- Carrigmore Bay - 1.1 miles S
- Kilcrohane Pier - 1.4 miles NNW
- Dooneen Pier - 1.7 miles WNW
- Goleen - 2 miles SSW
- Kitchen Cove - 2.2 miles NNE
- Ballynatra - 2.2 miles WNW
- Croagh Bay (Long Island Sound) - 2.4 miles SE
- Dunbeacon Cove - 2.6 miles NE
- Coney Island - 2.7 miles ESE
How to get in?
Dunmanus Harbour is a small and deep rocky creek on the south shore of Dunmanus Bay. It is located about eight miles from the entrance, one mile to the south of Carbery Island, and it is the first haven on this shoreline. Dunmanus Bay presents a rugged cliff face for most of the passage to Dunmanus Harbour and although Carbery Island provides an excellent positioning mark as the harbour is not readily evident on approach.
The four-storey Dunmanus Castle, showing over the low Dunmanus Point, offers the first conspicuous mark and the harbour then opens as a vessel continues eastward.
Details for the run up the long and narrow Dunmanus Bay are covered in the Dunbeacon Harbour entry.
Keeping the castle on a bearing of 173°T from the initial fix will steer a vessel through the centre of the entrance and into the anchoring area. The entrance has numerous rocks close along its shores on either side of the entrance and is little over 150 metres wide at its narrowest point. Within the entrance, rocks encroach over a hundred metres from the eastern shoreline. Keeping in depths of more than 10 metres of water at the entrance and reducing to no less than 4 metres when the bay opens out, clears all dangers.
Anchor just outside local moorings according to draft and conditions. Land in the southeast corner of the bay at the substantial pier behind Rinneen Island.
The pier is home to a handful of local fishing boats. It has just enough water off the head to float a boat at low tide, but at low springs it may be necessary to lift the engine and paddle the last short distance. Tenders may be taken up on to a hard gravel shore that joins a track about 100 metres east of the pier, and it may be possible for a boat to come alongside for a short period at high water. A medium-sized vessel could dry out alongside its eastern wall subject to local advice and availability. Dunmanus Strand situated in the eastern end of the harbour, beyond Rinneen Island, dries out.
Why visit here?Dunmanus Harbour, in Irish Dún Mánais meaning ‘fort of the O'Mahoneys’ derives its name from its signature tower house that overlooks the harbour from the south of the inlet.
One of the many tower houses built along the coast by the O’Mahony family this is the best preserved of them all. Built in about 1430 by Donagh Móre O'Mahoney it remained occupied by the family without a break for almost two centuries until 1602. It was then captured by Carew and from that point on, it was taken and retaken. Occupied in the 1620s and 30s by William Hull, and later Dermot MacCarthy Reagh, in 1655 it was sold, firstly to Emmanuel Moore, and then to Sir William Petty.
Although the tower house is the most conspicuous historical mark it is by no means the only historical object overlooking the harbour area. Just to the south of the mouth of the river that flows into the harbour, there is a strange burial boulder located in a flat grassy pasture that floods on spring tides. The rectangular 2.4 metre high and flat-topped boulder rests above three support stones that fill with water. Known as the Dunmanus East Boulder Burial there is no historical record of this megalithic monument or who was buried there.
From a boating point of view, this is the first and very well sheltered harbour of Dunmanus Bay. It should be safe to moor a vessel here for several days to explore the area that is situated in the divide between Dumanus and Roaringwater Bays. Apart from the sturdy pier and road access, there are no facilities at this harbour. It is a wild and bleak place where you are most likely to be on your own with nature. Those fond of mussels and other shellfish and who are prepared to do some exploration will find plenty here to dine on.
What facilities are available?Water is available from nearby houses but no supplies are available locally. The road running along the south side of the harbour leads to Long Island Bay’s village of Toormore. It is situated about 3.5 km along the road from the harbour. Here restaurants and a pub plus basic provisions can be had.
With thanks to:Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Mike Searle, Graham Horn and Burke Corbett.
A photo montage of the area around Dunmanus
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