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White Bay

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White Bay is situated on the south coast of Ireland immediately within the entrance to Cork Harbour. It offers an anchorage off a secluded beach.

White Bay is situated on the south coast of Ireland immediately within the entrance to Cork Harbour. It offers an anchorage off a secluded beach.

Set inside the neck of Cork Harbour, and on its eastern shoreline, it offers good protection from any condition with an easterly component. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by Cork Harbour, one of the most easily approached and well-marked harbours in the world.

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Keyfacts for White Bay
HM  +353 21 4273125      info@portofcork.ie      Ch.12, 14, 16

About White Bay

White Bay is a beautiful anchorage set into the Cork Harbour entrance. It provides views of Cork’s Lower Harbour to the north, plus Roche’s Point Lighthouse and the outer Ringabella Bay coastline to the south.

This remote, secluded location is best known by rod fishermen and particularly those who like to harvest a night tide. Its best fishing is to be had in the deep water channel 150 metres out from the beach which is ideal for boatmen who want to try their luck. Flatfish, Bass, Codling, Conger Eels and Dogfish plus Rays are regularly pulled in here.

The anchorage also offers a unique opportunity to explore nearby Fort Davis. Originally, Fort Carlisle, it was renamed Fort Davis on its return to the Irish state in July 1938. This was in memory of Cork’s Thomas Davis, (1814 –1845) the revolutionary Irish writer and poet who was the chief organiser of the Young Ireland movement. Fort Davis corresponds with Fort Meagher, previously known as Fort Camden, at the opposite side of the entrance.
The two forts together, set on harbour entrance promontories, are dramatic features and they are positioned at the narrowest point of the entrance where they would have had most effect at closing out an enemy invader. These entrance forts were, however, a late Cork Harbour military construction.

The first fortifications were built to protect Cork City and were in and around the surrounds of the ancient metropolis. In the 18th century, fortifications were built on Haulbowline Island to protect the anchorage and the garrison town of Cobh. Fort Camden and Fort Carlisle were started around 1780 and constructed during the American War of Independence. Convict labour was used to complete the construction of both these forts and they remained there for decades afterwards, until finally at the end of 1867 the convicts were replaced by military and civilian labour.

Today the forts are known colloquially as "Camden" and "Carlisle", and not by their official titles. Since being handed over to the Irish military most of the installations have ceased to be used for military purposes and have seen little upkeep in the ensuing decades. Fort Meagher is now being renovated and cared for by local volunteers and enthusiasts and can be visited by the public on open days. It can be accessed by a walk from Crosshaven. Although less elaborate than Fort Camden, Fort Carlisle continues to be used by the Defence Forces for FIBUA training but is not secured and is in a neglected state. A visit to the site will prove absorbing to anyone who has an interest in military history as three centuries of military fortifications can be seen side by side – see video below.

From a sailing point of view, White Bay offers visitors a beautifully secluded anchorage off an extensive white sand Blue Flag beach. It is also an ideal location for late arriving first-time-visitors to park up overnight to address Cork’s lower harbour in daylight. 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 may find a night entry challenging. White Bay makes this an unnecessary challenge during easterlies, just as the Ringabella anchorage, immediately outside the entrance, provides a useful berth during westerlies. Beyond these outer anchorages, casual anchoring in the lower harbour is difficult owing to the number of unlit moorings that will be encountered in any useful anchoring location.

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:
Aghada - 1.8 miles NNE
Northeast of Great Island - 3 miles NNE
East Ferry Marina - 2.5 miles NNE
Cuskinny - 1.8 miles N
Cobh - 1.9 miles NNW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Ballycotton - 5.9 miles E
Knockadoon Harbour - 9.4 miles ENE
Youghal - 10.9 miles ENE
Ardmore Bay - 13.5 miles ENE
Helvick - 18.7 miles ENE

Navigational pictures

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

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