The anchorage off the harbour offers good protection from all southerly conditions but it is entirely exposed to any northerly condition. Access is straightforward, night or day and at all stages of the tide, from the north using a leading line situated behind the small harbour that is lit at night.
Keyfacts for Caladh Mór Pier
SummaryA tolerable location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position53° 6.169' N, 009° 34.892' W
This is the end of the breakwater at Caladh Mór harbour. It exhibits a light FL.G 5s 8m 4M.
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Inisheer - 3 nautical miles SE
- Kilronan - 3.2 nautical miles WNW
- Doolin Pier (Ballaghaline Quay) - 8.2 nautical miles SE
- Kiggaul Bay - 9.7 nautical miles NNW
- Rossaveel - 9.9 nautical miles N
- Sruthan Quay - 10.1 nautical miles N
- Fanore Bay - 10.2 nautical miles E
- Greatman's Bay - 10.9 nautical miles NNW
- Dinish & Furness Islands - 11.4 nautical miles NNW
- Liscannor Bay - 12.2 nautical miles SE
What's the story here?
Image: Ashleigh Contracts
Inishmaan is 2¾ miles long, about 1.1 miles wide, from southeast to northwest, and attains 80 metres at its highest point. It terminates on its western side in 37 metre high vertical cliffs, against which the ocean swell breaks in all its force throwing spray to a great altitude above the cliff. It is the least populated of the Aran Islands with a population of about 170. On the northwest side of the island is the small boat harbour of Caladh Mór Pier.
Image: © Paranoid Android
In 2008 the pier was extended and two breakwaters to provide wave protection. It has an L-shaped jetty and a pier with 3.5 metres LAT throughout that is used by the ferry.
How to get in?Use Ireland’s coastal overview for Loop Head to Slyne Head for seaward approaches. The ancient fort of Dún Chonchúir or Conor's Fort, conspicuously rises near the central summit of the island. Along the ridge, but sheltered by the crowning step, several village houses may be seen. Three large wind turbines reside near the island's southwest point. Being the tallest features on the islands they provide an excellent seamark.
Image: Tourism Ireland
Inishmaan is separated from Inishmore by Gregory Sound and from Inisheer by Foul Sound, terminates on its southwest side in a vertical cliff about 37 metres high. Being surrounded by cliffs, and particularly in westerly winds, quite a sea state rises in Gregory's Sound when the swell claps against the cliffs on the southwest side of Inishmaan.
Image: Tourism Ireland
From the initial fix track in towards Caladh Mór harbour on the leading line alignment 192½ °. By day front mark white triangle apex on a column, with a white triangle apex down on the column as a rear mark, by night Oc.6s8m. The harbour is lit port and starboard.
Image:Image: © Paranoid Android
Anchor according to draft clear of the fairway of the small boat harbour Caladh Mór. This is the most popular location to anchor off the islands. The ferries from Rossaveal on the mainland use this harbour and should not be impeded, but they do not normally stay overnight.
An alternative temporary anchorage is also available on the east side of the island opposite Cora Point. It has a 140 metres long boat slip and pier that provides a temporary anchorage in fine weather with offshore winds. A boat should not be left unattended at this anchorage.
Why visit here?Inishmaan, in Irish 'Inis Meáin', the official name that was formerly spelt 'Inis Meadhóin', meaning 'middle island'; is as the origins of its name suggest the middle one of the three main Aran Islands.
Together with Inishmore and Inisheer and their outliers make up the Aran Islands Group which extends 15 miles in a southeast to northwest direction. Situated in County Galway off the west coast of Ireland they are located at the entrance to Galway Bay and affords the bay some shelter and protection from the North Atlantic Ocean and the prevailing winds.
Image: Peter Murry via CC BY-SA 4.0
Although Inishmaan is the second largest of the three main Aran Islands, it is the quietest and most tranquil and a place to escape the crowds although its fine reasonably new harbour has made getting to the island more accessible. It is a very attractive island with a permanent population of about 200 who use Irish almost exclusively as their everyday language. The pace of life is slow and a profound sense of peace and tranquillity accompanies any walk or cycle ride. This serenity makes the island a precious sanctuary from the rush of modern life and its isolation guarantees its place as a stronghold of traditional culture.
Image: William Cassidy via CC BY-SA 2.0
There are numerous examples of early settlements that dot the limestone landscape, and the oval fort of Dun Chonchuir is one of the finest complete ring forts in existence. Also to be found here is the beautiful Cill Cheanainn and the Church of Mary Immaculate with its magnificent stained glass windows by the famous Harry Clarke Studios. Nearby is Teach Synge the restored island cottage of writer John Millington Synge for whom Inishmaan Island was a favourite retreat.
Image: © Paranoid Android
Inishmaan hosts a centre which runs renowned Irish language and culture courses where you can learn about the history and traditions of the island from music and poetry, to set dancing and ecology. The island has its own small airport and general facilities include a provisions shop, a chippy, restaurants, pubs, a hotel and a choice of B & B's.
What facilities are available?Water and shore power are available at the harbour, and at the nearby village there are hotels and B & B's, a shop for provisions, pubs and restaurants, and a fish & chip shop. There is a ferry service that connects the island with Rossaveal on the mainland.
With thanks to:eOceanic.com site research
Add your review or comment:
PETER CRAVEN wrote this review on Jul 14th 2016:
The only way into this haven is from the North, leaving the breakwater to the West. Do not attempt (as I did) to enter from the south. There are lots of rocks between the south end of the breakwater and the shore. The location of the old drying pier South of the new breakwater and pier can act as a magnate but must be ignored. The positioning of the lights on the Navionics chart above is incorrect. The lights are on the breakwater and pier end, not in the water.Average Rating: Unrated
Michael Harpur wrote this review on May 17th 2018:
Thank you Peter. I have carried out the full write-up on this location because I saw you had a hair-raising experience here.Average Rating: Unrated
Florian Pittet wrote this review on May 20th 2022:
The entrance of the harbour with Easterly wind and a fair swell is quite impressive. We've been quite relieved to feel that the powerful wave that arrived with us in the harbour was pushing the boat approximately in the right direction. (still quite close to the breakwater on my opinion).
We took a sheltered place at the north end of the Easter pier as indicated by our pilot book. Two ferries from the Doolin ferry company (that do not serve Inismaan) arrived after us to take shelter from the small craft warning announced for the night and asked us (kindly but firmly) to move. We had to move a small fishing boat to make some room. We finally moored at the south end of the pier on the last mooring cleat that was too close to the boat considering the tide. As a quite strong wind was coming from the east our boat was pushed away from the pier because her mast was above it. Our neighbour fishing boat had no mast so she stood near the pier. Strange turbulent waves where entering the harbour from time to time and shaking mainly the south part. One of those wave pushed our boat oddly against the pier and our bow and anchor smashed against the pier (luckily without damage). So I spent part of the night adjusting the lines to the tide to avoid new bumps. I would not recommand this harbour by Easterly wind, specially at spring tide.
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