Providing there is no swell, the anchorage affords tolerable shelter in winds from the northeast through southeast to southwest. The access between Rossan Point and Glen Head is straightforward when unaffected by weather or tidal conditions, and the outer bay is free from encumbrances.
Keyfacts for Glen Bay
SummaryA tolerable location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position54° 42.604' N, 008° 45.203' W
this is the position at the anchorage at Glen Bay.
What is the initial fix?
Not what you need?
- Malin Beg Bay - 3 nautical miles SSW
- White Strand Bay - 3 nautical miles SSW
- Rathlin O'Birne Island - 3.7 nautical miles SW
- Teelin - 6.6 nautical miles SE
- Dawros Bay - 10.2 nautical miles NE
- Killybegs - 11.7 nautical miles ESE
- Church Pool & Portnoo - 13.4 nautical miles NE
- Inishmurray - 17.1 nautical miles S
- Mullaghmore - 18.1 nautical miles SE
- Arranmore Island - 19 nautical miles NNE
How to get in?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 sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southwest bound sequence; western approaches may use either description.
This west facing bay is situated approximately 1.5 miles northeast of Malin More Head and is located about 11 miles northwest of Killybegs. With a straightforward access it is entered between Rossan Point on Malin More Head and Glen Head, a distance of about 2 miles, and affords a convenient temporary anchorage on the passage north providing there is no swell in winds from northeast through southeast to southwest.
The recommended anchorage is off the south side of the bay to the east of Rinmaesa Point, well up in the bay in a depth of about 7 metres. However it is inadvisable to anchor in Glen Bay if the winds are forecast from west or northwest as the anchorage is then untenable.
From a possible dinghy landing onto the sandy beach at the head of the bay, it is a short walk up to the village of Glencolumkille.
The stretch northwards from Malin Beg Head presents a spectacular succession of cliffs and stacks, and Glen Bay affords one of the few reasonably sheltered temporary anchorages on this part of the coast.
Why visit here?The coast from Carrigan round by Glencolumbkille to Loughros Bay has some of the grandest combinations of cliff scenery in Ireland, and situated midway along this stretch is the small inlet of Glen Bay which is overtopped by lofty precipices and which opens out from Glencolumbkille at its head where the Glen river discharges into the bay, to its entrance between Glen Head and Malin More Head.
Glencolumbkille, also known as Glencolmcille, or in Irish : Gleann Cholm Cille translates into English as “valley of Colm Cille”. Saint Colm Cille is one of Ireland's three patron saints, the others being Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid, and he together with his followers lived in the valley for a time, and the ruins of several of their churches can still be seen there. Tucked into the rugged landscape of the southwest Gaeltacht of County Donegal the village is still an Irish speaking community, although English has been steadily replacing Irish as the main language.
The district round Glencolumbkille was once famous as being the parish of Father James McDyer who championed the rights of rural people and helped establish community based industries in the area. He was transferred to Glencolumbkille parish in 1951 and when he arrived he saw that it was suffering from a lack of employment and consequently emigration. This was not a new problem, as these circumstances having been present since the time of the Great Famine a hundred years previously. During the previous seventy years the Parish had lost 60% of its population due to the problems of poor land, distance from any centre of population, and lack of industry. Father McDyer was determined to do all he could to break this cycle, and he set about developing local industry and amenities, some of which are hugely successful to this day, and in 1967 he founded the Glencolmcille Folk Village which was built in the form of a typical settlement and in which each house is an exact replica of a dwelling used by the local people in each of the three successive centuries, 18th 19th and 20th , and is equiped with the furniture, artifacts and utensils of its particular period. The Village has continued to thrive over the 45 years its been open and is now one of the major tourist attractions in the area.
Glencolumbkille is home to the well known Dublin born artist Kenneth King whose works depict naval and merchant shipping, lighthouses, and coastlines. The British composer Sir Arnold Bax made many extended visits to Glencolumbkille between 1904 and the 1930's and apparently he composed much of his music and wrote many of his poems and stories whilst staying there. He describes the district and its villages and the life of its inhabitants in his autobiography Farewell My Youth. The following is a passage from the book :-
“At one end of the little Glen Bay was a wilderness of tumbled black rocks, for some reason named Romantia (a particularly 'gentle' or fairy haunted place, I was told in Dooey opposite.), and upon this grim escarpment the breakers thundered and crashed, flinging up as from a volcano, towering clouds of dazzling foam which would be hurled inland by the gale to put out the fires in the cottage hearths. The savagery of the sea was at times nearly incredible. I have seen a continuous volume of foam sucked, as in a funnel, up the whole six hundred foot face of Glen Head, whilst with the wind northwest, a like marvel would be visible on the opposite cliff.
There were days when you had to lean hard up against the wind to keep your feet at all. Yet in that unearthly valley there always seemed to be a core of peace in the heart of the most ravening tempest.”
Visitors will confirm that Bax's description of the district still remains true today.
The 1992 film The Railway Station Man starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland was shot on location at Glencolumbkille.
There are few facilities at this location though at Glencolumbkille and Cashel both approximately one mile up from the beach you will find provisions shops, a laundrette, a post office, a choice of pubs and bars, and a restaurant.
What facilities are available?The facilities available at Glen Bay are about one mile up the road from the sandy beach at the two villages of Glencolumbkille and Cashel which are only half a mile apart, and where you will find, provisions shops, post office, bars and a restaurant, a laundrette, a health centre, a hotel, a hostel, and many guest houses. There is also a tourist information office in the Lace House at Cashel.
With thanks to:inyourfootsteps.com site research. Photography with thanks to Kenneth Allen, Anne Burgess, Kay Atherton, Adie Jackson and John M.
The following video presents footage of a kayaking trip around Glen Bay.
Add your review or comment:
Iain Miller wrote this review on Oct 19th 2017:
To north of Glen Bay is a huge stretch of uninhabited coastline, living slightly out to sea of this coast there is a huge collection of world class sea stacks.
The free guidebook is http://uniqueascent.ie/sea_stack_guide
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