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Kilmore Quay

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Overview





Kilmore Quay is situated on the southeast corner of Ireland, 13 miles east of Hook Head, 8 miles west of Carnsore Point and immediately north of the Saltee Islands. It is a small fishing port that offers a well-run marina with excellent onshore facilities.

Kilmore Quay is situated on the southeast corner of Ireland, 13 miles east of Hook Head, 8 miles west of Carnsore Point and immediately north of the Saltee Islands. It is a small fishing port that offers a well-run marina with excellent onshore facilities.

Kilmore Quay provides complete protection. In strong to extreme southeasterly conditions there can be some motion in the harbour, mostly in wintertime, but other than that it is perfectly settled. Access requires attentive navigation owing to the surrounding area’s numerous outlying rocks and strong currents. Final harbour access is reasonably good in most conditions: the quay is clearly marked with navigational buoys and illuminated transits that make for safe and easy access day or night, at any stage of the tide. In severe conditions the entrance would be highly challenging, so it should not be taken for granted that this is a safe haven to run to in all conditions.
Please note

The entrance can be exposed to strong southeasterly winds, particularly near high water, when a first-time visitor should not attempt entry.




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Keyfacts for Kilmore Quay
Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWaste disposal bins availableGas availableShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingMSD (marine sanitation device) pump out facilitiesHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaScuba diving cylinder refill capabilitiesBus service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Marina 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
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 5 or more from E, ESE, SE and SSE.Note: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
1 metres (3.28 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
May 27th 2022

Summary

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWaste disposal bins availableGas availableShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaPost Office in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingMSD (marine sanitation device) pump out facilitiesHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaScuba diving cylinder refill capabilitiesBus service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Marina 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
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 5 or more from E, ESE, SE and SSE.Note: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 10.230' N, 006° 35.190' W

This is the position of the west breakwater’s southernmost pier head. It is immediately south of the harbour entrance, where the Kilmore Quay Light (Q RG 7m 5M) stands.

What is the initial fix?

The following Kilmore Quay initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 9.200' N, 006° 35.300' W
This waypoint is Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker, a red and white buoy with a long white flash (Iso 10s). The buoy is positioned between Kilmore Quay and Little Saltee Island.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location.
  • Kilmore Quay is approached from the Kilmore Quay Safe Water Mark Lighted Buoy, moored seasonally a mile outside the harbour. From here transits lead into the mouth of the harbour.

  • From the west a course of due east onto the Safe Water Buoy clears the dangers from Little Island and the main.

  • From the east a seasonally marked pass leads to the Safe Water Buoy through the middle of St Patrick’s Bridge, a rock and shingle ridge running out to the island.

  • From the south, once clear of the dangers to the south of the Saltee Islands, vessels may elect to pass around either side of Little or Great Saltee and approach as above, or pass through ‘Saltee Sound’, between the two islands.

  • Saltee Sound requires some attentive eyeball navigation as the fairway is reduced to a width of about ⅓ mile by outlying rocks and shoals that fringe the islands.


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 Kilmore Quay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Little Saltee (landing beach) - 1.7 nautical miles S
  2. Little Saltee (west side) - 2 nautical miles S
  3. Little Saltee (east side) - 2.1 nautical miles S
  4. Great Saltee (landing beach) - 3.1 nautical miles SSW
  5. Gilert Bay - 3.5 nautical miles SSW
  6. Georgina’s Bay - 3.6 nautical miles SSW
  7. Bannow Bay - 8.2 nautical miles WNW
  8. Baginbun Bay - 8.8 nautical miles W
  9. Fethard On Sea - 8.8 nautical miles W
  10. Carne - 9.1 nautical miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Georgina’s Bay - 3.6 miles SSW
  2. Bannow Bay - 8.2 miles WNW
  3. Baginbun Bay - 8.8 miles W
  4. Fethard On Sea - 8.8 miles W
  5. Carne - 9.1 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search

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?
Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Kilmore Quay is a small, attractive fishing village and harbour situated close east of Crossfarnoge, locally known as Forlorn Point. The harbour lies 4 miles northward of the Saltee Islands, comprising Great Saltee and Little Saltee, along with numerous rocks and shoals. Although primarily a fishing village, leisure facilities such as sailing, sea angling charters and pleasure trips to the Saltee Islands contribute significantly to its economy.


Leisure boats in Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


The harbour has a 55-berth marina in the northeast corner, of which 15 are set aside for visitors. The marina can support draughts of up to 2.4 metres, but some recent silting in the entrance has reduced maximum approach depths to 0.9 metres on the bottom of a big low spring tide. Despite the low number of visitor berths, the harbour is mostly able to accommodate all comers. Space is at a premium, however, just before or after the biannual Cork Week event, when the level of transit leisure traffic can overwhelm the harbour’s capabilities. Although no pre-bookings are accepted, it is advisable to contact the harbour master a couple of days before arriving to take advice and make him aware of your intentions.
Landline+353 (0) 53 912 9955, E-mailharbourmaster@wexfordcoco.ie. The current berthing fees are posted on the Kilmore Quay Marina Rates Page External link.
Please note

A sharp lookout should always be kept for lobster pots in and around the Kilmore Quay area.




How to get in?
The Saltee Islands provide excellent seamarks for the location of Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location for seaward approaches. The two low-lying Saltee Islands, Great Saltee and Little Saltee, 4 miles to the south of Kilmore Quay, provide an excellent seamark for its location. On closer approaches the wind farms located to the northwest and east of Kilmore Quay will be the first marks to present themselves. Then Ballyteige Castle, nearly a mile north-northeast of the extremity of Crossfarnoge Point, will be seen, plus a chapel with a belfry about 0.4 miles within the same point.


Approaching Kilmore Quay from the west, with the Saltee Islands to starboard
Image: Burke Corbett


Western Approach Vessels approaching from the west will find no obstructions on a direct course across Ballyteige (also Ballyteigue) Bay from a point 1 mile south of Hook Head. Standing off Hook Head clears Tower Race, which forms during the Waterford Harbour ebb and is stronger than the west going stream. A midway course between the mainland and the islands to Kilmore Quay’s red and white safe water marker buoy (where the initial fix is set) presents no dangers. Kilmore Quay, immediately east of Crossfarnoge (or Forlorn) Point, is 13 miles east by northeast of Hook Head.

Kilmore Quay safe water marker – white long flash – position: 52° 09.200’N, 006° 35.300’W

For the final 1½ miles leading up to the safe water marker, steer to track down near due east onto the buoy. There is limited room to deviate in this last stretch as to the south of the track are the Murroch’s Rocks and Jackeen Rocks, situated southwest of the marker and northwest of Little Saltee. Likewise, any deviation to the north will take a vessel too close to the Forlorn Rock, with 1.2 metres of water, situated west-southwest and nearly ½ mile offshore of Crossfarnoge Point.


Low-lying Kilmore as seen from the east
Image: Burke Corbett


Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east may make use of a pass through the middle of St Patrick’s Bridge. The St Patrick's Bridge passage offers the shortest and simplest route to the inshore area between Kilmore Quay and the Saltee Islands. It also provides the quickest route from Carnsore Point to Hook Head.


St Patrick’s Bridge extends from the shore ⅓ mile from Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


St Patrick’s Bridge is situated within the 1¾-mile-wide gap between the shore and the more northern Little Saltee Island. It is a ridge of rock and shingle that curves back from the northernmost point of Little Saltee to the mainland east of Kilmore Quay. The attached ends dry off a considerable distance from each side; at about midway between the island and the shore, if a little closer to Little Saltee, there is a passage over the ridge with 2.4 metres at LWS. It is well marked from April to September by two seasonal port and starboard light buoys, with the direction of buoyage being from west to east.

Starboard marker – green buoy Fl G 6s 2M – position: 52°09.300’N, 006° 34.700’W

Port Marker – red buoy Fl R 6s 2M – position: 52°09.135’N, 006° 34.700’W


St Patrick’s Bridge is about a mile off when Little Saltee (right) covers Great Saltee
Image: Burke Corbett


On approach, the 35-metre-high Little Saltee Island, on the southern side, plus the constant use by leisure and fishing boats, should make the bridge and passage plain to see. A local boatman’s set of waypoints will align the bridge for crossing at the optimal point.

St Patrick’s Bridge East – alignment waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 33.000’W

St Patrick’s Bridge – waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 34.700’W

St Patrick’s Bridge West – alignment waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 35.650’W

The bridge crossing aligns a vessel to track down on Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker, where the initial fix is located. If the tide is foul over the bridge, however, it is best to approach from the south via Saltee Sound.


The low-lying Saltee Islands as seen from a southeasterly approach
Image: Burke Corbett


Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the far south have several rocks to circumvent to the south of the Saltees, but there are clear passages between many of them. For a safe passage around the Coningbeg Rock, Coningmore Rocks and the Brandies, plus the other shoals and shallows where breakers may be experienced, see the additional notes available in Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location coastal description.

It is advisable to stand well off the islands on closer approaches as there are several dangerous outlying rocks. Once south of the islands, the options are to pass around either side of Little or Great Saltee, to take the western or eastern approaches as described above, or to pass through Saltee Sound between the two islands.


Saltee Sound as seen from Great Saltee
Image: Michael Harpur


Saltee Sound has depths in the fairway of 8 to 10 metres and is about ⅔ mile wide. It provides a particularly useful alternative for an eastern-approaching vessel too late to catch the tide on St Patrick’s Bridge. The tide over St Patrick’s Bridge turns up to two hours earlier than in Saltee Sound, at HW Dover +0400. The stream in Saltee Sound then turns southeastward at HW Dover +0600, attaining a rate of 3.5 knots. So, if a vessel has missed the tide on St Patrick’s Bridge, the Sound may be availed of.

Saltee Sound requires some attentive eyeball navigation as the fairway is reduced to a width of about ⅓ mile by many unmarked outlying rocks and shoals around the Islands, as well as irregular currents that occur within its confines. It is truly the reserve of a local boatman in poor visibility or boisterous conditions, but in good conditions will provide a visitor with a safe passage. Having the benefit of a reliable engine and the additional notes in the Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location coastal description, reviewed alongside a good chart (Admiralty Chart 2740) or reliable plotter, a stranger may freely approach Kilmore Quay through Saltee Sound.


The key area to observe is where the passage is reduced to a width of 600 metres between the foul ground extending west from Little Saltee and the Sebber Bridge, which runs off from the north end of Great Saltee. The dangers fringing the Sound are Goose, Galgee and the Sebber Rocks. The Goose is a half-tide rock that dries to 2.6 metres, located 200 metres from the southwest point of Little Saltee. Stay well clear as there is a dangerous off-lying portion of the rock that never uncovers about 15 metres to the southwest of Goose Rock.


Goose Rock with its southwestern head showing
Image: Michael Harpur


Galgee Rock, nearly dry, lies about 150 metres southwest from Little Saltee’s southern extremity. Another danger, locally known as ‘Whistler Rock’, lies about 150 metres off the southeast corner of Little Saltee with about a metre of cover, so it is advisable to stand well off the southern end of Little Saltee.


The Sebber Bridge
Image: Michael Harpur


Sebber Bridge is a shallow ridge of boulders and coarse gravel that extends ¾ mile northward from the northeast point of Great Saltee. It has low-water depths of less than 0.6 metres 600 metres from the shore, where it then begins to descend to 4 metres. Special care is required for this reef as the streams run approximately east and west through Saltee Sound and directly across Sebber Bridge.


The western shoreline of Little Saltee Island
Image: Burke Corbett


Making good a course of 330° (R150°) through Saltee Sound, keep about midway between the islands, if a little closer to Little Saltee. Once through Saltee Sound round Goose Rock and then plot a path along the west side of Little Saltee Island, following the 4-metre contour parallel to the island to the Kilmore Quay safe water marker. This should take a vessel outside of Privateer Rock and inside Murroch’s Rock. Privateer Rock is flat with about 3 metres of cover. This should present a problem only for deep-keeled yachts if there is a southwesterly groundswell of a metre, which is often the case here. Locally known ‘Privateer Rock’ (unnamed on charts) is clearly charted ½ mile west of the centre of Little Saltee Island. The primary concern is Murroch’s Rock, awash at low water, which lies just under ¾ of a mile to the northwest of Little Saltee Island.


Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker with the leading marks aligned in the background
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the Initial Fix, located at Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker, turn northward for the mile run into the harbour.


Kilmore Quay’s 007.8° in-line alignment marks situated close east of the harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


The leading marks will be seen immediately east of the harbour area and consist of two white pylons with red stripes 007.8° in-line. At night both lights (Oc W 4s) will be seen slightly east of the green sector of the breakwater light.

Rear Kilmore alignment beacon – position: 52° 10.440’N, 006° 35.055’W


Tracking in with the leading marks aligned
Image: Michael Harpur


The beacons mark a dredged channel with 1.9 metres LAT, which leads to the east of the head of the harbour’s western breakwater. At night the entrance can also be approached in the green sector 354° to 003° of the Kilmore Quay Light (Q RG 7m 5M), standing at the southern end of the breakwater.


Yacht tracking in, as seen from the shore
Image: Michael Harpur


The helm should take care not to get pushed off the transits by cross tides, which can be strong on the approach. There are shoals on both sides of the path and, closer in, rocks called the ‘Lings’, which remain covered at all times but have little depth of water over them.


Approaching the entrance
Image: Michael Harpur


The entrance lies in the southeast corner of the harbour facing east and is about 25 metres wide. Its southern side is classified as a landing berth, however, so it may often be narrowed by a large fishing vessel berthed alongside. On the final approach to the entrance, keep 25 metres off the pierhead of the western breakwater then turn hard to port for the entrance. Then pass within the inner face of the western breakwater, port side, and the southern end of the east quay, starboard side. Do not overshoot the entrance as the entire area quickly shoals to the east of the harbour.


Local boat entering Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


A warning has been issued of silting near the entrance. This is located in the area from the Pierhead light to the end of the West Pier and approximately 50 metres eastwards of Kilmore Quay Harbour. The reduction in depth, reported in 2017, gives a limiting depth of 0.9 metres when entering the harbour at Low Water Springs.


Kilmore Quay harbour layout
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Inside the inner harbour there will be many large fishing boats along with smaller lobster and angling craft. The quays have plenty of depth alongside; the 250-metre-long west quay carries 3 metres and the 110-metre east quay has a depth of 5 metres.

The finger pontoon marina is situated in the northeast corner of the harbour and supports up to 2.4 metres. Berth as directed by the harbour master.
Please note

Please note this is a working harbour and yachts should take care not to impede fishing boat movements.




Why visit here?
Kilmore Church
Image: Michael Harpur
Kilmore Quay derives its name from the Irish Cé na Cille Móire, meaning ‘Quay of the big church’. It is a small, quiet fishing village renowned for its lobster and deepsea fishing, picturesque thatched houses and the beautiful Saltee Islands that lie offshore.

The village has shallow historical roots by Irish standards. The 1640 Down Survey map shows no sign of any village here. It came about a century later and was entirely born out of the lucrative offshore fishing grounds off the Saltee Islands. Almost all 18th-century fishing operated out of small, beach-launched boats, and although Kilmore provided a beach, it was exposed and had little or no nearby haven for a small boat to run to for shelter. Around the late 1780s local fishermen took it upon themselves to establish a more secure position to moor boats in Kilmore. Stones were collected from St Patrick’s Bridge and along the foreshore, and at high tide they were floated in on rafts and piled to create an L-shape boat haven, with each arm extending out about 60 metres.


Although a year’s breakwater work was often wiped out by a single winter storm, this simple barrier served the purposes of the local fishermen for many years. Around this haven the village began to slowly develop, houses were built and additional boats added. By the early 1840s about 100 boats, averaging four men in each, actively fished out of here. It was dangerous work, however, and especially so operating out of a makeshift fair-weather harbour; there were a lot of fatalities on this very dangerous coastline.


Ballyteige Bay’s long low beach, backed by sand dunes
Image: Michael Harpur


The area from Hook Head to Carnsore Point was a deadly stretch of water for the sailing vessels of the time. It had strong currents, an inconspicuous low-lying land profile and a host of off-lying dangers. Its maritime toll of death and destruction earned it the title of Graveyard of a Thousand Ships. Ballyteige Bay, immediately west of Kilmore, presents a perfect example of a sailing ship trap.


Memorial Garden statue remembering the lives lost at sea
Image: Michael Harpur


The Hook Peninsula presents a western boundary, Great Saltee Island the eastern with the further enclosing St Patrick’s Bridge reef, and finally the low-lying sand dune system at the head of the bay. Add the prevailing southwesterly winds, regularly attaining gale force with low visibility in the winter, and the trap is perfectly set. Navigation errors, stormy conditions and poor visibility brought sailing boats in here totally unaware of the danger until it was too late. Attempts to break out ended in the destruction of ship and crew, aptly illustrated by the Mexico in the Fethard entry. In the 1800s hardly a winter week passed without some vessel and its crew foundering here.


The Memorial Trail & Garden
Image: Michael Harpur


This appalling loss of ships and lives along the southeast coast added impetus to the creation of a proper safe harbour, based upon the tentatively established fishermen’s efforts. By the 1850s the first government-backed pier was constructed in Kilmore Quay to support the fishermen. Soon its use extended well beyond fishing and sailing schooners, enabling the import of coal and export of potatoes to become commonplace here. The much-needed Kilmore Quay Lifeboat was established in 1847. Thus began a long and distinguished history, during which it has saved more than 100 lives and been awarded nine silver medals and one bronze medal for extraordinary courage in the line of duty. This original harbour set down the template for the quay that is encountered today. Although some of the old walls remain, major redevelopment took place in the mid-1990s, when the harbour was extended, deepened and received a 55-berth marina. The marina introduced a new dimension to boating along the south coast of the country, bringing with it safe berthage and onshore facilities for all small and medium-sized craft.


Kilmore, with one of its many thatched cottages
Image: Michael Harpur


Today Kilmore Quay’s special characteristics are immediately obvious. Set at the foot of a largely unexciting low-lying countryside, the small fishing and holiday village is truly a little gem. It is a world of placid ‘old-world’ tranquillity, emphasised by its neat, traditional white-washed houses, dotted with thatched cottages. Some of these cottages have stood undisturbed for more than two centuries. All this surrounds the harbour walls of the very active harbour, looking out over the Saltee Islands.


The Saltee Islands as seen from Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


The quaint fishing village has its charms, but bird-watching, recreational angling and diving are its main tourist attractions. The most popular of these has to be visiting the bird life on the Saltee Islands. This is the best-known bird sanctuary in Ireland, and the cliffs of these large granite outcrops host the largest population of birds anywhere off the Irish coast. Even those uninterested in birdlife will find the short passage to the islands well worthwhile, as they are particularly beautiful. Around the islands anglers regularly pull in a wide variety of fish species, including bass, cod, shark, tope, ling, mackerel, pollock, skate and whiting. Likewise, the surrounding Graveyard of a Thousand Ships offers some of the most spectacular wreck diving in Ireland, especially around the Saltee Islands and Coningbeg Rock.


Kilmore tourist boat
Image: Tourism Ireland


Walkers, too, will find a hike around the harbour past the Memorial Trail and Garden to Ballyteige Burrow a must. The magnificent beach and dunes system presents a 9km coastal stretch to the Bar of Lough, situated opposite Cullenstown. Rich in wildflowers and butterflies, it is the finest sand dune system in southeast Ireland and a lovely place to walk. Kilmore is the perfect setting to return with a hearty appetite to sample some of the excellent daily catch from a wide variety of outlets at all price points.

Ballyteige Burrow beach
Image: Michael Harpur
From a boating perspective, Kilmore Quay is one of the nation’s key leisure ports. Located on a pivotal corner of Ireland, with no nearby all-weather alternatives, it makes for an obvious transit location. The charming village provides little if any diversion for vessels entering or exiting the Irish Sea, and has very well-marked access paths and all the requisite onshore facilities, including a marina, chandlery, boatyards, customs services, plus the shops, good food and pubs. Quite apart from its seagoing capabilities, Irish boatmen, as well as international sailors (who represent a third of all leisure vessels that visit Kilmore Quay), agree it is a most attractive place to visit and to enjoy.


What facilities are available?
There are 15 visitor berths and, although this seems a low number, the marina manages to accommodate its guests, even in peak seasons. All marina pontoons provide water, electricity and Wi-Fi, while the marina offers bicycle hire and rubbish disposal. Coin-operated shower facilities can be found in the harbour master’s building, along with coin-operated washers and dryers. Diesel is available on the quay; large quantities by tanker can be arranged via the harbour master, and smaller quantities by jerry can. Further details and prices are available on the Kilmore Harbour Website.

Kilmore also offers an excellent chandlery, marine engineering and lift-out capabilities, including boat storage and surveys. The village has two mini-supermarkets and a post office, plus a pharmacy in Upper Kilmore, about 5km from the marina. A wide selection of good pubs and restaurants, plus a hotel are all within a short walk from the Marina.

Kilmore Quay is located on R739, 22km from Wexford town and just 19km from the international ferry port at Rosslare. A Wexford bus calls twice a day to Kilmore Quay all year round.


Any security concerns?
Kilmore is a quiet provincial fishing port with little or no risk of criminality. The Marina, where most visiting pleasure vessels will stay, is well protected with key fob security plus 24-hour camera surveillance, which is maintained by the harbour office.


With thanks to:
Phil Murphy, Kilmore Quay Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Michael Harpur, David Staincliffe and Burke Corbett.





Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, Ireland
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Kilmore Quay harbour area within the entrance
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The marina in the northeast corner
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Kilmore Marina
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Fishing boat dried out on Kilmore's slipway
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Angling boats in the northwest corner of the harbour
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The entrance to the harbour
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The entrance to the harbour narrowed by a berthed fishing boat
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Kilmore Quay's 007.8° in-line alignment marks situated close east of the
harbour

Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Boat heading out to the islands
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Ballyteige Bay's long low beach backed by sand duns
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur




Kilmore Quay approach




Aerial view of Kilmore Quay




Aerial view of Kilmore Quay and St. Patrick's Bridge




Early morning aerial of Kilmore Quay




A canoe in and around the Harbour in Kilmore Quay




More views of the quay and village




Unravel Travel TV provides a tourist overview to Kilmore Quay


About Kilmore Quay

Kilmore Church
Image: Michael Harpur
Kilmore Quay derives its name from the Irish Cé na Cille Móire, meaning ‘Quay of the big church’. It is a small, quiet fishing village renowned for its lobster and deepsea fishing, picturesque thatched houses and the beautiful Saltee Islands that lie offshore.

The village has shallow historical roots by Irish standards. The 1640 Down Survey map shows no sign of any village here. It came about a century later and was entirely born out of the lucrative offshore fishing grounds off the Saltee Islands. Almost all 18th-century fishing operated out of small, beach-launched boats, and although Kilmore provided a beach, it was exposed and had little or no nearby haven for a small boat to run to for shelter. Around the late 1780s local fishermen took it upon themselves to establish a more secure position to moor boats in Kilmore. Stones were collected from St Patrick’s Bridge and along the foreshore, and at high tide they were floated in on rafts and piled to create an L-shape boat haven, with each arm extending out about 60 metres.


Although a year’s breakwater work was often wiped out by a single winter storm, this simple barrier served the purposes of the local fishermen for many years. Around this haven the village began to slowly develop, houses were built and additional boats added. By the early 1840s about 100 boats, averaging four men in each, actively fished out of here. It was dangerous work, however, and especially so operating out of a makeshift fair-weather harbour; there were a lot of fatalities on this very dangerous coastline.


Ballyteige Bay’s long low beach, backed by sand dunes
Image: Michael Harpur


The area from Hook Head to Carnsore Point was a deadly stretch of water for the sailing vessels of the time. It had strong currents, an inconspicuous low-lying land profile and a host of off-lying dangers. Its maritime toll of death and destruction earned it the title of Graveyard of a Thousand Ships. Ballyteige Bay, immediately west of Kilmore, presents a perfect example of a sailing ship trap.


Memorial Garden statue remembering the lives lost at sea
Image: Michael Harpur


The Hook Peninsula presents a western boundary, Great Saltee Island the eastern with the further enclosing St Patrick’s Bridge reef, and finally the low-lying sand dune system at the head of the bay. Add the prevailing southwesterly winds, regularly attaining gale force with low visibility in the winter, and the trap is perfectly set. Navigation errors, stormy conditions and poor visibility brought sailing boats in here totally unaware of the danger until it was too late. Attempts to break out ended in the destruction of ship and crew, aptly illustrated by the Mexico in the Fethard entry. In the 1800s hardly a winter week passed without some vessel and its crew foundering here.


The Memorial Trail & Garden
Image: Michael Harpur


This appalling loss of ships and lives along the southeast coast added impetus to the creation of a proper safe harbour, based upon the tentatively established fishermen’s efforts. By the 1850s the first government-backed pier was constructed in Kilmore Quay to support the fishermen. Soon its use extended well beyond fishing and sailing schooners, enabling the import of coal and export of potatoes to become commonplace here. The much-needed Kilmore Quay Lifeboat was established in 1847. Thus began a long and distinguished history, during which it has saved more than 100 lives and been awarded nine silver medals and one bronze medal for extraordinary courage in the line of duty. This original harbour set down the template for the quay that is encountered today. Although some of the old walls remain, major redevelopment took place in the mid-1990s, when the harbour was extended, deepened and received a 55-berth marina. The marina introduced a new dimension to boating along the south coast of the country, bringing with it safe berthage and onshore facilities for all small and medium-sized craft.


Kilmore, with one of its many thatched cottages
Image: Michael Harpur


Today Kilmore Quay’s special characteristics are immediately obvious. Set at the foot of a largely unexciting low-lying countryside, the small fishing and holiday village is truly a little gem. It is a world of placid ‘old-world’ tranquillity, emphasised by its neat, traditional white-washed houses, dotted with thatched cottages. Some of these cottages have stood undisturbed for more than two centuries. All this surrounds the harbour walls of the very active harbour, looking out over the Saltee Islands.


The Saltee Islands as seen from Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


The quaint fishing village has its charms, but bird-watching, recreational angling and diving are its main tourist attractions. The most popular of these has to be visiting the bird life on the Saltee Islands. This is the best-known bird sanctuary in Ireland, and the cliffs of these large granite outcrops host the largest population of birds anywhere off the Irish coast. Even those uninterested in birdlife will find the short passage to the islands well worthwhile, as they are particularly beautiful. Around the islands anglers regularly pull in a wide variety of fish species, including bass, cod, shark, tope, ling, mackerel, pollock, skate and whiting. Likewise, the surrounding Graveyard of a Thousand Ships offers some of the most spectacular wreck diving in Ireland, especially around the Saltee Islands and Coningbeg Rock.


Kilmore tourist boat
Image: Tourism Ireland


Walkers, too, will find a hike around the harbour past the Memorial Trail and Garden to Ballyteige Burrow a must. The magnificent beach and dunes system presents a 9km coastal stretch to the Bar of Lough, situated opposite Cullenstown. Rich in wildflowers and butterflies, it is the finest sand dune system in southeast Ireland and a lovely place to walk. Kilmore is the perfect setting to return with a hearty appetite to sample some of the excellent daily catch from a wide variety of outlets at all price points.

Ballyteige Burrow beach
Image: Michael Harpur
From a boating perspective, Kilmore Quay is one of the nation’s key leisure ports. Located on a pivotal corner of Ireland, with no nearby all-weather alternatives, it makes for an obvious transit location. The charming village provides little if any diversion for vessels entering or exiting the Irish Sea, and has very well-marked access paths and all the requisite onshore facilities, including a marina, chandlery, boatyards, customs services, plus the shops, good food and pubs. Quite apart from its seagoing capabilities, Irish boatmen, as well as international sailors (who represent a third of all leisure vessels that visit Kilmore Quay), agree it is a most attractive place to visit and to enjoy.

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:
Great Saltee (landing beach) - 1.9 miles SSW
Gilert Bay - 2.1 miles SSW
Georgina’s Bay - 2.2 miles SSW
Bannow Bay - 5.1 miles WNW
Fethard On Sea - 5.5 miles W
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Little Saltee (west side) - 1.3 miles S
Little Saltee (east side) - 1.3 miles S
Little Saltee (landing beach) - 1.1 miles S
Carne - 5.6 miles ENE
Ballytrent - 5.9 miles ENE

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Kilmore Quay.




























































Kilmore Quay approach




Aerial view of Kilmore Quay




Aerial view of Kilmore Quay and St. Patrick's Bridge




Early morning aerial of Kilmore Quay




A canoe in and around the Harbour in Kilmore Quay




More views of the quay and village




Unravel Travel TV provides a tourist overview to Kilmore Quay



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Add your review or comment:


Kevin Monks wrote this review on Apr 28th 2009:

Bicycles are available for hire from the Harbourmasters Office.A most welcome place to stay,

Average Rating: ****


Rodolphe Thimonier wrote this review on Jun 19th 2016:

Nice harbour, with welcoming and helpful harbour master. Challenging entry with strong cross-current, even on an average tide.

Average Rating: Unrated

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