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Church Pool & Portnoo

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Overview






Please note

eOceanic has been made aware of this haven. We are looking for a sailor with first-hand experience to provide their direct personal insights so that we may complete our write up. In advance of this we have posted these preliminary research notes. Do you know this location? Please contact us or click the 'Report a Mistake or Omission' button below to help share this location with the sailing community.


Church Pool is a bay on the southern coast of the larger Gweebara Bay which is situated between Dawros Head and Crohy Head on the northwest coast of Ireland. This small pretty bay lies to the east of Inishkeel Island and offers a safe anchorage with some moorings for visitors, and a further anchoring opportunity in settled weather in Portnoo Bay on the opposite side of Inishkeel Island.

Both anchorages afford good shelter in all reasonable weather conditions although Church Pool may be uncomfortable in strong winds from the north or northeast. The anchorage at Portnoo is more exposed to swell but is better sheltered from the northeast winds by the island. Access to both bays is straightforward in most conditions, with the opportunity of a dinghy landing on the beach off Portnoo village.



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Keyfacts for Church Pool & Portnoo
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseScenic 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
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
May 30th 2017

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseScenic 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

54° 50.778' N, 008° 26.840' W

this is the position at the anchorage at Church Pool.

What is the initial fix?

The following Church Pool initial fix. will set up a final approach:
54° 53.562' N, 008° 33.343' W
this is the position in the North Atlantic Ocean midway between Crohy Head and Dawros Head.



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 Church Pool & Portnoo for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Dawros Bay - 2 miles WSW
  2. Burtonport - 5.1 miles N
  3. Rutland Harbour & Island - 5.1 miles N
  4. Arranmore Island - 5.4 miles N
  5. Cruit Bay - 7.1 miles N
  6. Owey Island - 7.7 miles N
  7. Killybegs - 7.9 miles S
  8. Glen Bay - 8.3 miles SW
  9. Bunbeg - 8.4 miles NNE
  10. Teelin - 9.1 miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Dawros Bay - 2 miles WSW
  2. Burtonport - 5.1 miles N
  3. Rutland Harbour & Island - 5.1 miles N
  4. Arranmore Island - 5.4 miles N
  5. Cruit Bay - 7.1 miles N
  6. Owey Island - 7.7 miles N
  7. Killybegs - 7.9 miles S
  8. Glen Bay - 8.3 miles SW
  9. Bunbeg - 8.4 miles NNE
  10. Teelin - 9.1 miles SSW
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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How to get in?


Route location The 'Erris Head to Malin Head' coastal description provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northeast bound Route location sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southwest bound Route location sequence; western approaches may use either description.

Gweebara Bay is an open west facing bay with straightforward access off the North Atlantic Ocean lying between Crohy Head to the north and Dawros Head to the south, a distance of approximately 6.5 miles. The Gweebara River estuary to the east of Church Pool has a dangerous shallow sand bar across the entrance and should never be approached, and great care must be taken not to mistake the entrance of the river for Church Pool.

Haven locationChurch Pool is the best anchorage between Aranmore Island and Rossan Point and gives excellent shelter in winds between west northwest and south east, but is uncomfortable in any strength of wind from the north or northeast. Six seasonal visitors moorings have been laid for visiting yachts.

On the other side of Inishkeel Island there is an alternative anchorage in settled weather in Portnoo Bay which is closer to the small holiday village of Portnoo and its facilities, and also has the benefit of easy access for a dinghy landing on to the beach. The south east of Inishkeel Island is half joined to the mainland by a neck of sand which dries, and during low tides of the Spring months it is possible to walk out across the sandbank to the island from near the village of Narin. This sandbank divides Portnoo Bay to the west from Church Bay to the east, both bays having splendid sandy beaches. The coastal scenery between here and Rossan Point is stunning, with 150 metre high stacks and towering cliffs.

Portnoo is well sheltered from the northeast winds by Inishkeel but is much more exposed to the swell than Church Pool. It has a concrete quay on the southwest side and it is recommended that small craft should anchor off this quay in depths of 2 to 5 metres as the absence of swell and in really calm conditions it is a pleasant place to stay overnight.


Why visit here?
Close to Church Pool, the superb sandy beaches at Portnoo and Narin are extremely popular with visiting tourists and locals, which makes the district a busy place during the holiday season, with many staying in the several holiday cottages and caravan sites that have been built in the area. To cater for this trade Portnoo has hotels and guest houses together with a few small shops, one of which is a good provisions store, a post office, a couple of excellent bars, and a well recommended restaurant which is perfect for a great nights craic.

For those sailors who fancy a spot of golf, Narin and Portnoo Golf Club is considered to be one of the most scenic challenging links courses in Ireland, with a meandering route over and around the dunes, with sweeping views over Gweebara Bay. The sheltered waters between Portnoo pier and Inishkeel Island surrounded by the rugged coastline from Rosbeg round to Portnoo make for ideal sailing conditions enjoyed by the Rosbeg/Portnoo Sailing and Watersports Club which is based at the old boathouse in Portnoo.

The Blue Flag beach at Narin has been acclaimed as the best beach in Donegal with its long golden strand with sand dunes as far as the eye can see. It is set in a cove and with protection from Dunmore Head it is relatively sheltered and perfect for bathing. During the summer season the beach is attended by a lifeguard and there are toilet facilities and a cafe nearby.

One of the most popular events in the area takes place annually during June, this is the Rosbeg and Portnoo Seafood Festival and the fun weekend includes free seafood, an oyster opening competition, and plenty of music and drinking ensuring a lively atmosphere. If you happen to be sailing in the area during that weekend be sure to stop off for a visit.

A new experience for visitors to the area is the Dolmen Eco Centre at Kilclooney just a mile inland south of Narin, which has interesting displays and information about the districts wildlife, ecology, archaeology, and geology, together with the necessary cafe and Tourist Information point.

The attractive island of Inishkeel, which is accessible on foot across a sand spit from the mainland, has two ruined early Christian churches, an ancient walled graveyard just above the beach on the east side, and the remains of an old farmhouse. St. Conal founded a Monastery on the island in the 6th century and St. Conal's Church is one of the two ruins together with the other ruined church of St. Mary's. Traditionally when it is possible to walk across the sandbank during the Spring months, a pilgrimage took place to the ecclesiastic site on the island.

Portnoo is the best location near Church Pool for facilities that include a shop for provisions, a Post Office, and restaurants and bars.




What facilities are available?
The small holiday village of Portnoo has a shop for provisions, a Post Office, restaurant and bars, and hotels and guest houses.


With thanks to:
inyourfootsteps.com site research. Photography with thanks to Grace Smith, Bart Whelan, Kenneth Allen, Oliver Dixon, A McCarron and Brian Deeney of Donegal Cottage Holidays.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.





























Aerial view of Portnoo Beach



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Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.