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Northeast of Great Island

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Great Island is situated on the south coast of Ireland within Cork’s extensive natural harbour. The island is the largest in Cork Harbours and this anchorage is located off its northeastern corner. The haven offers a remote anchorage in beautiful rural surroundings.

Great Island is situated on the south coast of Ireland within Cork’s extensive natural harbour. The island is the largest in Cork Harbours and this anchorage is located off its northeastern corner. The haven offers a remote anchorage in beautiful rural surroundings.

Being both in the upper harbour and up-river the anchorage offers complete protection from all conditions. A vessel could be left unattended here all year but when staying aboard it can get a little uncomfortable in a strong north-westerly. In these circumstances, better protection can be had by moving a short distance and re-anchoring off the north mainland shore. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by Cork Harbour, one of the most easily approached, well-marked and safest natural harbours in the world.
Please note

The run-up to this anchorage is about seven miles from the entrance. Passage tides will be a prime consideration as they attain 3 kn on springs and the trip is best avoided on the ebb with a strong south-easterly. A capable tender and outboard will be required as the best landing positions are a good distance from the anchoring location. Although very well marked for night navigation, owing to Cobh’s lights and the vast amount of markers in the lower harbour area, first-time visitors should prefer a day entry as it may prove challenging at night.

Keyfacts for Northeast of Great Island
HM  +353 21 4273125      info@portofcork.ie      Ch.12, 14, 16

About Northeast of Great Island

The name Great Island, is a shortening of the Irish name Oileán Móran Barraigh meaning "Great island of the Barrys". The latter referred to the powerful Barry family who occupied and settled the area during Norman times. Prior to their arrival the island was called Oilean Ard na Neimheadh meaning the "High, as in status, island of Neimheadh" in deference to Neimheadh a legendary leader who invaded Ireland in ancient times.

Scarcely featuring in sailing circles today this haven is a not only a beautiful location but a perfectly secure anchorage. This was not the case in the past when it was well recognised and extensively used by ships of all types.

The Trafalgar and Waterloo Towers, seen on approach, speak of a Naval history when Nelson used this anchorage to safely berth his warships. In the following centuries, it was extensively used as wait location for schooners carrying cargoes of up to 300 tonnes of coal, timber, iron and slate plus later on flax for the linen industry, to be loaded and unloaded at Ballynacorra. At the time Ballynacorra, in Irish Baile na Cora meaning "Town of the Weir", served as the port for the town of Midleton situated less than 2 km to the north of the quays. The small port closed in 1962 as it was deemed too expensive to dredge the growing levels of river silt at the entrance, and the channel is extremely shallow today. Today this presents an interesting opportunity for vessels anchored in this haven, as a visit to Midleton is not only useful for shopping but provides for a very interesting day out.

Midleton, historically Middleton, acquired its name from being the midway town, 10 miles each way, between Cork and Youghal. It is a pleasant market town with many grey stone buildings dating mainly from the early 19th century. Today a satellite town of Cork City, it is most famous for its school, Midleton College, founded in 1696 and its distillery that produces some of the world’s favourite Irish whiskey.

The word "whiskey" is derived from the Irish language. It is an anglicisation of the Irish phrase ‘Uisce beatha’ meaning "the water of life". This was the name given to it by Irish monks of the early Middle Ages; itself a direct translation of the Latin ‘aqua vitae’. The English name stemming from a mispronunciation of the word ‘Uisce’ and this may, in turn, have influenced the modern Irish word for whiskey that is ‘fuisce’. Whatever the case, anyone who is ‘fond of a drop’ will find a visit to Midleton more than enlightening. Cork Distilleries, formed in 1825, merged into Irish Distillers in 1967, and as of 2011 owned by French spirits group Pernod Ricard, has its distilleries here. It produces ‘Paddy Whiskey’, taking its name from Patrick J Flaherty a salesman for Cork Distilleries in the 1920s, and the world famous ‘Jameson Whiskey’. Alongside these, they distil other branded vodka and gin products at the new Midleton distillery complex that was opened in 1975.

The Old Midleton Distillery hosts frequent ‘Jameson Experience’ tours throughout the day. These guided tours show how whiskey was made in the past and the old stone building has many examples of 19th-century industrial architecture including an impressive fully functional waterwheel. The site also boasts the world’s largest pot still, a copper dome with a capacity of 140,000 litres. At the outset of the tours an appeal is normally made for a "whiskey taster", so those who are interested should be ready to step forward. If you are not selected a complimentary glass of Jameson's Irish whiskey is always made available at the end of the tour.

In addition to these attractions, Midleton also has excellent shopping and a very popular farmers' market on Saturdays at the old site of Midleton Mart, now called Market Green. So a mixture of pleasure and purpose can be had here.

A tender or shallow draft vessel, or indeed vessels that can take to the hard, may stay over to visit this interesting town by riding a flood tide up the 2.5 miles of river from this haven. This is very easily achieved as the southern end of the River Owenacurra, in Irish Abhainn na Cora meaning "River of the Weirs", is marked with occasional white buoys and the final lengths between the central path between pronounced winding banks. On final approach the warehouses on the east bank at the old port of Ballynacorra will be seen converted into modern housing called the ‘Charleston Wharf’ and a vessel can come alongside a slip just beyond these close to the quays. A short walk beyond this is Midleton. If tide times are inconvenient Midleton is likewise only a 7km bicycle ride from the East ferry pier.

Other options in this area

Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
East Ferry Marina - 0.5 miles SSW
Cuskinny - 1.7 miles SW
Cobh - 2.4 miles WSW
Cork City Marina - 6 miles W
Glenbrook - 3 miles WSW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Aghada - 1.3 miles S
White Bay - 3 miles SSW
Ballycotton - 5 miles ESE
Knockadoon Harbour - 7.8 miles E
Youghal - 8.7 miles ENE

Navigational pictures

These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Northeast of Great Island.

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Add your review or comment:

Rodolphe Thimonier wrote this review on Jun 16th 2016:

Nice anchorage with good holding in mud/silt and subject to tidal currents. Yet I dont recommend going farther west than the mooring buoys of local boats and the longitude of 8 12.4W as there is old uncharted and unmarked aquaculture gear that is only revealed at low water.

Average Rating: ****

Michael Harpur wrote this review on May 4th 2018:

Noted, thank you!

Average Rating: Unrated

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