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Rossaveel

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Overview





Rossaveel is tucked into the northeast corner of Cashla Bay on the northern shore of Galway Bay about twenty miles west of Galway Docks. It is a fishing harbour and village with a marina that welcomes visitors. Alternatively, it may be possible to lie alongside a friendly fishing boat, for a short stay, or anchor just off the harbour approaches in the lower end of the bay during a settled period.

Rossaveel is tucked into the northeast corner of Cashla Bay on the northern shore of Galway Bay about twenty miles west of Galway Docks. It is a fishing harbour and village with a marina that welcomes visitors. Alternatively, it may be possible to lie alongside a friendly fishing boat, for a short stay, or anchor just off the harbour approaches in the lower end of the bay during a settled period.

Nestled deep in the north end of a bay the harbour affords complete shelter and can be considered one of the most sheltered berths on this part of the coast. Safe access is possible in all reasonable conditions, at all stages of the tide, night or day via a well-marked and dredged approach channel.
Please note

The harbour is normally very busy and noisy with ferries to the Aran Islands, and it is recommended that you call the marina in advance to reserve a berth.




2 comments
Keyfacts for Rossaveel
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideShop with basic provisions availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation 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
Note: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3.7 metres (12.14 feet).

Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
August 20th 2021

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideShop with basic provisions availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation 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
Note: harbour fees may be charged



Marina +353 86 4181342       rossaveelfhc@agriculture.gov.ie      Ch.12, 14 [Marina Superintendent]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

53° 16.060' N, 009° 33.622' W

This is the position of the No.2 pierhead.

What is the initial fix?

The following Rossaveal Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
53° 12.916' N, 009° 34.812' W
This is on the 30 metre contour and in the white sector light of the directional light situated on Lion Point a white square concrete tower on a column, 4 metres in height, which leads into Cashla Bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location.

  • Steer a course of 10° T towards Lion Point indicated by a directional light situated there to pass
    between Killeen Point and Cannon Rock Starboard Buoy, Fl.G.5s. Cannon Rock.

  • Follow the buoys into the inner bay passing the contraction to less than 400 metres between Curraglass Point on the west and Lion Point and proceed northward passing the final two buoys on their correct side.

  • Turn south-eastward into the entrance channel, which is marked Rossaveel Pier's leading lights in line 116°T, to pass in through the inner beacons into the harbour.


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 Rossaveel for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Sruthan Quay - 0.5 miles WNW
  2. Greatman's Bay - 2.1 miles WNW
  3. Kiggaul Bay - 3.6 miles WSW
  4. Dinish & Furness Islands - 4.2 miles W
  5. Kilkieran Bay - 4.3 miles WNW
  6. Spiddle - 5.8 miles E
  7. Kilronan - 6.1 miles SSW
  8. Inishmaan - 6.2 miles S
  9. Inisheer - 7.5 miles S
  10. Fanore Bay - 8 miles SE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Sruthan Quay - 0.5 miles WNW
  2. Greatman's Bay - 2.1 miles WNW
  3. Kiggaul Bay - 3.6 miles WSW
  4. Dinish & Furness Islands - 4.2 miles W
  5. Kilkieran Bay - 4.3 miles WNW
  6. Spiddle - 5.8 miles E
  7. Kilronan - 6.1 miles SSW
  8. Inishmaan - 6.2 miles S
  9. Inisheer - 7.5 miles S
  10. Fanore Bay - 8 miles SE
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?
Rossaveel Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Rossaveel Harbour, or Rossaveal and Ros An Mhíl in Irish, is located on the northeastern shore near the head of Cashla Bay which opens to the north side of the North Sound approach into Galway Bay. It is located 7 miles to the east of Golam Head, 19 miles from Galway Docks. Positioned on the northeastern shore of upper Cashla Bay it is a well sheltered and busy harbour with a leisure boat marina and small boat pontoon. Home to a small Gaeltacht village, the harbour is the largest and busiest of Galway's fishing ports and acts as the main base for the Galway and Aran Co-op fishing fleet. It is also the primary harbour for passenger travel to the Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Óirr.


Fishing boats alongside Pier 1 (left) and Pier 2 (right)
Image: Michael Harpur


The harbour's 60 berth marina has three visitor berths, 13, 14 and 15 metres long, that carry a draft of 2.0 metres LAT. A fourth visitor berth is 16 metres long with 3.7 metres LAT. The least depth in the approach channel is 3.7 metres LAT. Those intending on visiting the marina should make contact in advance, VHF Ch. 12, 14 [Marina Superintendent], Mobile+353 (0)86 4181342, E-mailrossaveelfhc@agriculture.gov.ie (which has several recipients).

Rossaveel Marina
Image: Michael Harpur


Outside of the marina, the harbour has three quays, Ferry Quay, Pier 2 and Pier 1. The water depth is typically 3.7 metres, with one deepwater berth of 5.8 metres on Pier 2. It may be possible to come alongside an accommodating fishing boat alongside these piers. There is a drying area at the head of Ferry Quay. Those not intending to use the marina should take advice from the Harbour Office which may be contacted on Landline+353 (0)91 560506.

It is also possible to anchor west of a Martello Tower in the outer part of the bay, just off the approach. The anchorage is exposed to southerly winds.


How to get in?
The lower end of Cashla Bay with the Aran Islands in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location. Seaward approaches are from The North Sound, between Inishmore and Gorumna Island. Cashla Bay is located about 2 miles east of Greatman’s Bay and it is essential not to mistake this bay for Cashla. The inner Cashla Bay is entered between Killeen Point and Cashla Point about 1.1 miles eastward. It extends for about 3 miles northward and is easy to access. At the visible head of the bay are two small but remarkable features. Round Hill on the left, and Mount Ballagh on the right, backed by the superb chain of mountains called the Twelve Pins, or Benna Beola, that stretch between Lough Corrib and the Killary Bays.

Killeen Point, on the western side of the approach channel, is foul out to a ½ mile southward with Carrickmarian, which dries to 3.7 metres, and Narien Spit, with 0.3 LAT of cover. At night an outer sectored light, on a white concrete box with a short white column on Aillecluggish Point (close northeast of Killeen Point), shows red over the dangers and white over the channel visible 216°-W-000°-R-069°.

Cashla Bay - West of entrance Fl (3) WR 10s 8m W6M, R3M position: 53° 14.230’N, 009° 35.180’W

Access to Cashla Bay is through a well-defined and marked channel
The run up Cashla Bay as seen from north-westward
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix steer a course of 10° T towards Lion Point directional light tower, which provides a bearing and light for the well-defined and marked channel to the harbour through Cashla Bay.

Cashla Bay Directional Light Lion Point
Image: Mika Laureque via CC BY-SA 4.0
The Lion Point light is a white square concrete tower on a column, 4 metres in height Dir Iso WRG 5s (24hr). It stands close west of a wind turbine tower that will help locate it. The sectors are Green 005.0°-008.5° (3.5°), White 008.5°-011.5° (3°), Red 011.5°-015.0° (3.5°). Originally it had a vertical black stripe, as photographed, but this has changed to a red stripe to enhance daylight conspicuity.

Steering this course passes to the west of the Cannon Rocks light buoy and east of Killeen Point. The Cannon Rock starboard buoy, Fl.G.5s, marks Cannon Rock that lies in the centre of the outer approach. It dries to 1.7 metres, is fringed by foul ground.

Proceed up the entrance and once Temple Point and Carrickadda are passed, ½ mile north by northeast of Cannon Rock, take a central course up the narrowing bay. This leads into the outer anchorage west of Tóin an Chnoic (Tonacrick) Martello Tower that stands on the eastern shore under Rossaveel Hill Above it, the bay, which is 1 mile wide at the entrance, contracts to less than 400 metres between Curraglass Point on the west and Lion Point on the east, where it again expands and turns to the east.


Tóin an Chnoic overlooking the lower bay
Image: © Eoin Faherty


The inner part of Cashla Bay is then approached by a north track passing through the narrows marked by the Ship Rock port light buoy, Fl.R.3s, and the Lion Rock starboard light buoy, Fl.G.3s, at Lion Point. The Ship Rock buoy marks Ship Rock which lies close off a shingle beach on the north side of Curraglass Point and the Lion Rock mark the awash Lion Rock about 100 metres southwest.


The narrows marked by the Lion Point and Ship Rock light buoys
Image: Michael Harpur


Once through the narrows, there is excellent shelter and the track then leads north past the Struthan port hand light buoy, Q.R., marking a pair of awash pinnacle rock 250 metres northwestward. Then to a starboard hand light buoy, Q.G., 300 metres northeast.


South bound yacht passing Lion Rock buoy
Image: Michael Harpur


This starboard buoy marks the turning point into the entrance channel, which is marked by Rossaveel Pier's leading lights, in line 116° T, less than 100 metres beyond the buoy with a depth of 3.4 metres. The front, a white mast Oc 3s 7m 3M and the rear, 90m from the front, Oc 3s 8m 3M.

Rossaveel Pier - Front light Oc 3s 7m 3M position: 53°16.023’N, 009°33.393’W


Alignment path into the entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


This passes into the entrance north of a stone beacon upon the rock marking the extremity of the drying area to the west of the pier head and the awash Haberline Rock about 100 metres north of the transit. The harbour is then entered through inner beacons to the quayside.


Stone beacon marking the extremity of the drying area to the west of the
pierhead

Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The channel to the marina opens to the north immediately inside the entrance. Berth as directed by the marina office.

The channel to the marina immediately to port upon entering the harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


The ferries use pontoon berths in the southeast basin and fishing boats use Piers No. 1 & 2 to the southwest. It may be possible to come alongside an accommodating fishing boat temporarily in the harbour or dry out near the root of Ferry Pier.

Sruthan Quay Click to view haven, opposite Rossavel and on the west side of Cashla Bay, offers an alternate anchorage with the potential of picking up moorings. It is also possible to use the outer anchorage off of the Martello Tower where excellent stiff mud and shell holding will be found. This anchorage is exposed to south and southwest winds.


Why visit here?
Rossaveel, in Irish Ros an Mihl means 'peninsula of the whale or sea monster' although some believe it may also mean 'the wooded hill'. In the Galway area and on the west coast the word caisle was often used to signify a sea inlet of which Cashla Bay is the best example. It is also the name of the river which flows into the inlet.


Ros a’ Mhil tower, referred to as Tóin a' Chnoic
Image: N Chadwick via CC BY-SA 2.0


The bay remained untouched until the arrival of the Ros a’ Mhil tower, referred to as Tóin a' Chnoic 'the back of the hill', was constructed. It was one of three Martello towers that were built along the Galway Bay coastline. These were built to supplement a chain of signal stations along the coast of Connemara that were intended to signal the arrival of a Napoleonic invasion. The 40 ft high and 30 ft in diameter Ros a’ Mhil tower was built between 1811-14 and took around six months to construct. Cashla Bay was chosen because the inlet, behind Lyon's Point, derived from the Irish 'Gob an Laighin' 'Snout or peak Ui Liathain tribe', was a natural landing point. It was one of the safest anchorages on this part of the coast and boats lay in safety here with ready access to deep water.

Tóin an Chnoic (Tonacrick) Tower
Image: Graham Horn via CC BY-SA 2.0
The Martello's walls were built of Aran limestone, whitewashed to make the tower visible from the sea by day. It had a water tank, a magazine, stores and accommodation for an officer and thirty men with additional houses behind the tower. A large cannon on the roof offered a 365 range of fire. The defences were not large enough to be heavily manned and it was clear that the tower was designed as a bulwark to delay an invader until such time as defending troops could be moved into positions suitable for resisting an enemy’s move inland. The French never came although the Martello tower, then known locally as the Battery, was manned until the 1860s.


Soon after the tower the first of two piers, that were both named Cashla (Casla), was built in the bay. The first pier was erected by the legendary naval architect Alexandre Nimmo in 1823 at Costelo which is today within the extended marine complex that is Rossaveel Harbour. For over half a century the Martello Tower and Nimmo's old Costelo pier would remain the only manmade structures in Cashla Bay. The second Cashla Pier would be built under an 1883 Act about three-quarters of a mile opposite on the shore near Round Hill. The conflation in the records of the two different piers, under the single 'Cashla Pier' name, makes it difficult to differentiate the two and their purposes. The latter has been referred to as a small pier at 'Cashla Beg Coastguard Station' in records so perhaps its function was for the Revenue Men.


The stone structure of Nimmo's old Costelo pier is still evident today
Image: Michael Harpur


It was, however, Nimmo's original Costelo Pier that would thrive. Further out in Cashla Bay and close to deeper waters with better shelter and easier, safer all-tide access it was the natural setting for a pier in this bay. It underwent major restoration work and enhancement in 1881. This went without improved road access which the Piers and Roads Commission returned to improve in 1886. When this was completed, it was noted in their report that '[the] existing track from Rossaveel Harbour to main road made passable. Length about ¾ of a mile'. This would be the first official record in which the name 'Rossaveel Harbour' was mentioned.


Sections of Nimmo's old Costelo pier stone structure
Image: Michael Harpur


Today the port is one of five national fishery harbour centres in Ireland and has grown and expanded to become the main fishing port of the county. The regular catch of nearly 100 boats includes herring, mackerel, lobster and crab. As well as being a busy fishing port, a large amount of fish processing takes place in the area contributing to local employment. Nimmo's old Costelo pier is incorporated into the modern harbour complex that exists here now. The stone structure of the old pier is still evident in parts of the quay face.


Rossaveel is the primary harbour for passenger travel to the Aran Islands
Image: Michael Harpur


Rossaveel and Cashla Bay are part of the south district of Connemara, a region that is highly popular with tourists coming from within the country as well as international visitors, some using the nearby city of Galway with its many amenities as their base. Although it is one of the most popular regions of Ireland for tourism, the weather in Connemara could disappoint many visitors, sometimes very mild and humid, but because of the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually rather wet and windy especially in winter when storms happen frequently.


The mountains of The Twelve Bens in Connemara seen over the pierhead
Image: Michael Harpur


The region is almost constantly battered by westerly winds and the land around the Rossaveel shows every sign of its battering. Witness the bent trees, bent over by the strong westerly winds, and its stripped-back undulating nature with a thin layer of low-fertility soil overlaying granite bedrock. Outside of this, there is little the small field systems of stone boundary walls derive from a Rundale system of land division and tenure that was driven by the Congested Districts Board from 1891 to 1923 and subsequently handed on to the Irish Land Commission. All contribute to the granite landscape of Cashla Bay. It is a place where you must stop and take the time to appreciate the beauty and wildness of the region's landscape.


The Twelve Bens seen across the head of the bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Rossaveel is a Gaeltacht village set in the heart of Gaeltacht Na Gaillimhe the most populous of the Country’s Gaeltacht areas. It stretches from Baile Chláir, which is east of the city to Cloch na Rón in west Conamara, a distance of approx 100km, and from Oileáin Árainn northwards to the Mayo border. Irish is still the first language here and generations of Irish schoolchildren have come here for a week or two during their summer break to learn the language. It is also vaguely the area where a popular Irish language TV soap opera Ros na Run is set. Doubtless, this is because of the area's vistas over many islands, with the stunning backdrop of Knockmorden, the Maumturks, and The Bens, the Twelve Pins of Connemara.


Pier 1 and 2 used by the fishing boats
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, Cashla Bay is one of the most sheltered anchorages on this part of the coastline, once you leave Galway Harbour itself. It is also one of the few harbours that are accessible under storm conditions along this section of coastline. The bay has the added advantage of being lit with two fixed lights and a number of lit and unlit buoys making a day or night entry possible at any stage of the tide. It is the perfect all-weather base from which to explore the Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Óirr and Galway Bay as a whole. For those looking for some interesting pilotage exploring neighbouring Greatman's Bay, Kilkieran Bay and Bertraghboy Bay through a coast studded with rocks, islands and intricate passages makes for fascinating day-sailing.


Rossaveel's small boat harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


The bay can also take care of most of the essentials to keep a cruising vessel operational, a grocery shop for the restocking of provisions, fuel, water and electricity and toilets are available, and a pub and restaurant are a short distance from the quay. Another useful advantage is its close proximity to Galway city. Being only 20 miles away and served by local buses, it is easily reached for shopping expeditions or for exploring its culture without having to sail all the way in. Furthermore, with Galway Airport at Carnmore only 4 miles north of the city, Rossaveel could make a convenient location for a crew change. If a quicker journey than by ferry to the Aran Islands is required, Connemara Regional Airport at Inverin, 5 miles south of Rossaveel, has daily flights.


Bilge Keel yacht dried out at the head of Ferry Pier
Image: Michael Harpur


But there is very little else save for this and the unspoilt bay where anchoring or coming alongside guarantees some restful downtime. It can however be a little busy at times. As it is an important location in terms of the fishing industry and island transport it is normally very busy and noisy. If seclusion and scenery are sought after, the neighbouring Greatman's Bay may be preferred although it lacks facilities.


What facilities are available?
Water and shore power on the pontoons, freshwater and fuel on the quays, toilets on shore. A slipway and some marine engineering services are available. There is a grocery shop 0.5 mile from the quay and a pub and restaurant about a mile away.

There is a bus service, route 24, that connects Rossaveal with Galway city, and Galway city airport at Carnmore is just 24 miles away. There is also the Connemara regional airport (a.k.a. Minna airport) 5 miles to the south of Rossaveal at Inverin.


With thanks to:
eOceanic research, Peter Craven and Máirtín Mylotte.







Bird's Eye View Of Rossaveel



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Add your review or comment:


Paul Harrison wrote this review on Sep 14th 2015:

€20 a night for marina in 2015. Toilets and Shower ashore at no extra charge. simple, but good hot water and no time limit. Slip available.

Average Rating: ****


PETER CRAVEN wrote this review on Sep 19th 2018:

There is now a brand new marina with 100+ on the north side of the existing marina. (Not yet on the Google Earth satellite image (19/09/18). Power and water are available at each berth. Cost per night for 8m was €16.00. Harbour Master's mobile - John Donnelly - is 087 235 9735. Marina supervisor is Padraig 086 418 1342.
Fuel can be got from Gearoid Walsh 087 252 5088 who will deliver in his tanker for an extra €10. He is also a mine of local sailing information.


Average Rating: Unrated

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