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Ringabella Bay

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Overview





Ringabella Bay is situated on the south coast of Ireland and on the western side to the approach to the entrance to Cork Harbour. It offers an anchorage off a secluded beach with the possibility of landing on the beach or in the drying estuarial inlet immediately above. Boats that can take to the bottom may also dry in the creek.

Ringabella Bay is situated on the south coast of Ireland and on the western side to the approach to the entrance to Cork Harbour. It offers an anchorage off a secluded beach with the possibility of landing on the beach or in the drying estuarial inlet immediately above. Boats that can take to the bottom may also dry in the creek.

Set at the head of an east-facing coastal bight the bay offers good protection from all conditions with a westerly component with protection available all the way round to the north. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by the absence of any outlying dangers in the approaches to Cork Harbour.



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Keyfacts for Ringabella Bay



Last modified
July 1st 2020

Summary

A good location with safe access.

Facilities
Mini-supermarket or supermarket availablePublic house or wine bar in the areaPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 46.215' N, 008° 18.175' W

This is set on the 3-metre contour of the bay’s southwestern corner.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ringabella Bay initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 46.395' N, 008° 17.430' W
This is on the 10-metre contour outside the middle of the bay. It is a ¼ of a mile out from the bay' central marker buoy and ½ a mile out from its 2-metre contour.


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. Details for vessels approaching from the southwest are available in southwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location. There are no hazards in the approach for a vessel that maintains a sensible distance from the shoreline.


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 Ringabella Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Robert's Cove - 1.1 miles S
  2. Crosshaven - 1.3 miles N
  3. Drake’s Pool - 1.5 miles NNW
  4. White Bay - 1.7 miles NE
  5. Spike Island - 2.5 miles N
  6. Cork Harbour Marina - 2.9 miles NNW
  7. Cobh - 2.9 miles N
  8. Cuskinny - 3.2 miles NNE
  9. Glenbrook - 3.4 miles N
  10. Aghada - 3.5 miles NE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Robert's Cove - 1.1 miles S
  2. Crosshaven - 1.3 miles N
  3. Drake’s Pool - 1.5 miles NNW
  4. White Bay - 1.7 miles NE
  5. Spike Island - 2.5 miles N
  6. Cork Harbour Marina - 2.9 miles NNW
  7. Cobh - 2.9 miles N
  8. Cuskinny - 3.2 miles NNE
  9. Glenbrook - 3.4 miles N
  10. Aghada - 3.5 miles NE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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What's the story here?
Ringabella Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Ringabella Bay is a large and remote coastal bay situated slightly over a 1½ miles southwest of the entrance to Cork Harbour. Within the bay is the drying Ringabella Creek that is overlooked by the coastal village of Fountainstown. Channels through the creek are navigable on the tide for a distance of about 2¾ miles, as far as Minane Bridge.


Ringabella Creek within overlooked by Fountainstown
Image: Michael Harpur


Ringabella Bay has ample depths for leisure craft and only becomes shallow on a line drawn northward across the entrance to the creek from the out-most extremity of Ringabella Point. Vessels than can take to the bottom will find ample opportunity to dry inside Ringabella Creek on its extensive hard sand flats. There is an old stone quay ½ a mile within the entrance where a ferry boat once operated to Fountainstown. It has a shallow pool with local moorings close by.


Ringabella Creek as seen from the southern shore
Image: Michael Harpur



How to get in?
The approaches to Cork Harbour as seen from southward
Image: Macq97 via CC BY 2.0


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overviews Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location or Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location as appropriate for seaward approaches. Cork Harbour’s entrance is deep, sheltered, ¾ of a mile wide and highly visible upon approach. Ringabella Bay lies about 1½ miles north from Cork Head and southwest of the entrance.


Ringabella Bay as seen from Roches Point
Image: Michael Harpur


The bay opens between Fish Point, its southern extremity, and the southernmost point of Myrtleville Bay that forms its northern extremity about ¾ of a mile northward. A seasonal lit OFE1 yellow marker buoy, Fl(5) Y.20s, is situated 1½ miles east by southeast of Ringabella Bay and a further unlit seasonal marker buoy will be seen in the middle of Ringabella Bay itself.


Initial fix location Steer west by southwest from the initial fix that is set on the 10-metre contour outside the middle of the bay, a ¼ of a mile out from the bay' central marker buoy and ½ a mile out from the 2-metre contour. The bay possesses a small estuarial character on approach but vessels that cannot take to the bottom should not enter the creek.


Ringabella Bay and Creek
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The recommended anchoring position to remain afloat is about 200 metres east by southeast of Ringabella Point. Excellent sand holding will be found here. Land on the beach or, on a tide, further into Ringabella Creek.

Boats that can take to the hard may proceed into Ringabella Creek on high water and dry out within the inlet.


Why visit here?
Ringabella Bay takes its name from its Irish name Rinn an Bhile. Rinn means ‘point or headland’ and Bhilebile or plural bilen’ and anglicised to 'villa', means ‘sacred old tree’. So the name means headland or point of the sacred old tree. The bile was a tended tree with revered branches and the tools of office were made from its boughs.


Pretty Ringabella Creek at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


History of inhabitation runs deep in this natural coastal enclave and a very early human skull was excavated here. The male skull is thought to date from the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age and is one of the very few remains from this period that have been found in Ireland. It is also believed that the creek was used as a Viking base and they established a fort near the western boundary in the vicinity of where the old stone quay stands today.


One of Ringabella's old mooring posts
Image: Michael Harpur


During the 1700s and 1800s sloops entered the creek navigating its channels on Spring tides to as far as Minane Bridge. Transportation of heavy goods by sea was much easier than by road at the time and the sloops carried cargos of coal and sea sand that was used for use as fertiliser. Though a less convenient landing point for freight than other parts of Cork Harbour Ringabella offered more profitable landings owing to being outside and exempted from Cork’s harbour dues. The wooden mooring posts, about 300mm in diameter and approximately 1 metre high, used for mooring these boats can still to be seen on both the Fountainstown and Ringabella sides of the estuary.

James Joyce 1915
Image: Public Domain
Until as late as the 1960’s a ferry boat operated from the quay at Ringabella to the end of the spit, extending southward from the Fountainstown shore. This comprised a rowing boat, capable of holding about five people and it went back and forth on demand across the creek. The bay’s name was also alluded to in James Joyce’s epic classic ‘Ulysses’. On entering St Mary's Abbey Simon Dedalus uses ‘Ringabella’ and ‘Crosshaven’ as mock Fenian passwords to his old friend Ned Lambert who it appears must have been a Cork man.

Today Ringabella Creek is a quiet rural tidal estuary on the Cork coastline. It is undeveloped on the south side and very pretty, particularly so on a beautiful sunny day when at high water the sea sparkles. All this is set into rural pasture land that makes for a spectacular arrangement of greens. The surrounding fields are all cut into squares, each a different shade of green or yellow as if laid out in an artist’s paintbox.

From a boating point of view, the bight offers the first protected anchoring position just outside the mouth of Cork Harbour. It also offers a beautiful secluded anchorage off an extensive Blue Flag sandy beach. So it is unsurprising that it is much frequented by day-sailors from the harbour.


Ringabella Creek's extensive sand flats are a favourite for walkers at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


The anchorage is also an ideal location for late-arriving first-time-visitor to wait overnight so as to make a daylight entry into Cork Harbour. Although Cork Harbour is very well marked for night navigation, a night entry will challenge a newcomer owing to the lights of Cobh in the background and the vast amount of markers that there are in the lower harbour area. Ringabella makes this an unnecessary challenge in westerlies, just as White Bay does for easterlies. Beyond these outer anchorages, casual anchoring in the lower harbour is difficult to come by owing to the number of unlit moorings that will be encountered in useful anchoring locations. Ringabella Bay also makes for an ideal tide wait location at the mouth of the harbour.


What facilities are available?
Some 23 km south of Cork City, the little seaside village of Fountainstown overlooking Ringabella Bay and Roche's Point, has a basic shop and a pub and is comparatively well-linked by bus. There are 12 services a day to Cork, all operating via Carrigaline and Douglas, with 8 of the services operating via Crosshaven.
Cork Harbour is a major yachting centre for Ireland and as such you can get everything you need inside the lower harbour area. The main concentration of services however is a few sea miles away at Crosshaven.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to vessels at anchor at this secluded location.


With thanks to:
James O’Brien the Cork Harbour Marina owner and manager. Photographs with thanks to Michael Dymet, Madhu Matthew Mundack, Laurie Daunt, Gomilka, Raul Corral, Macq97 and Chris Murray.
















Ringabella Bay and Fountainstown overview


About Ringabella Bay

Ringabella Bay takes its name from its Irish name Rinn an Bhile. Rinn means ‘point or headland’ and Bhilebile or plural bilen’ and anglicised to 'villa', means ‘sacred old tree’. So the name means headland or point of the sacred old tree. The bile was a tended tree with revered branches and the tools of office were made from its boughs.


Pretty Ringabella Creek at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


History of inhabitation runs deep in this natural coastal enclave and a very early human skull was excavated here. The male skull is thought to date from the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age and is one of the very few remains from this period that have been found in Ireland. It is also believed that the creek was used as a Viking base and they established a fort near the western boundary in the vicinity of where the old stone quay stands today.


One of Ringabella's old mooring posts
Image: Michael Harpur


During the 1700s and 1800s sloops entered the creek navigating its channels on Spring tides to as far as Minane Bridge. Transportation of heavy goods by sea was much easier than by road at the time and the sloops carried cargos of coal and sea sand that was used for use as fertiliser. Though a less convenient landing point for freight than other parts of Cork Harbour Ringabella offered more profitable landings owing to being outside and exempted from Cork’s harbour dues. The wooden mooring posts, about 300mm in diameter and approximately 1 metre high, used for mooring these boats can still to be seen on both the Fountainstown and Ringabella sides of the estuary.

James Joyce 1915
Image: Public Domain
Until as late as the 1960’s a ferry boat operated from the quay at Ringabella to the end of the spit, extending southward from the Fountainstown shore. This comprised a rowing boat, capable of holding about five people and it went back and forth on demand across the creek. The bay’s name was also alluded to in James Joyce’s epic classic ‘Ulysses’. On entering St Mary's Abbey Simon Dedalus uses ‘Ringabella’ and ‘Crosshaven’ as mock Fenian passwords to his old friend Ned Lambert who it appears must have been a Cork man.

Today Ringabella Creek is a quiet rural tidal estuary on the Cork coastline. It is undeveloped on the south side and very pretty, particularly so on a beautiful sunny day when at high water the sea sparkles. All this is set into rural pasture land that makes for a spectacular arrangement of greens. The surrounding fields are all cut into squares, each a different shade of green or yellow as if laid out in an artist’s paintbox.

From a boating point of view, the bight offers the first protected anchoring position just outside the mouth of Cork Harbour. It also offers a beautiful secluded anchorage off an extensive Blue Flag sandy beach. So it is unsurprising that it is much frequented by day-sailors from the harbour.


Ringabella Creek's extensive sand flats are a favourite for walkers at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


The anchorage is also an ideal location for late-arriving first-time-visitor to wait overnight so as to make a daylight entry into Cork Harbour. Although Cork Harbour is very well marked for night navigation, a night entry will challenge a newcomer owing to the lights of Cobh in the background and the vast amount of markers that there are in the lower harbour area. Ringabella makes this an unnecessary challenge in westerlies, just as White Bay does for easterlies. Beyond these outer anchorages, casual anchoring in the lower harbour is difficult to come by owing to the number of unlit moorings that will be encountered in useful anchoring locations. Ringabella Bay also makes for an ideal tide wait location at the mouth of the harbour.

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:
Robert's Cove - 1.1 miles S
Oysterhaven - 4.4 miles SW
Kinsale Harbour - 5.6 miles WSW
Sandy Cove - 6 miles SW
Holeopen Bay East - 7.8 miles SW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Crosshaven - 1.3 miles N
Drake’s Pool - 1.5 miles NNW
Spike Island - 2.5 miles N
Cork Harbour Marina - 2.9 miles NNW
Glenbrook - 3.4 miles N

Navigational pictures


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


























Ringabella Bay and Fountainstown overview



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