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Sandy Cove

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Overview





Sandy Cove is situated immediately west of the entrance to Kinsale Harbour on the southwest coast of Ireland. It offers a scenic anchorage in a remote and secluded location.

Sandy Cove is situated immediately west of the entrance to Kinsale Harbour on the southwest coast of Ireland. It offers a scenic anchorage in a remote and secluded location.

Tucked into an inlet, behind a small island, Sandy Cove provides a good anchorage that is highly protected and virtually free of roll in most conditions. It is uncomfortable in easterly component winds when adjacent Kinsale or Oyster Haven may be easily availed of. Daylight access to the haven is straightforward and at any stage of the tide as it has no outlying dangers.
Please note

The singular problem with Sandy Cove is finding berthing space. On a sunny summer’s weekend, it tends to fill with yachts from Kinsale but there should be no problem on a weekday.




2 comments
Keyfacts for Sandy Cove



Last modified
July 2nd 2020

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Slipway availableMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periodsNote: sectioned off swimming area in the vicinity



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 40.680' N, 008° 31.130' W

This position is in the middle of the bay on the 2.7 metre contour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Sandycove initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 40.642' N, 008° 30.722' W
This waypoint is at the outer entrance midway between Sandy Cove Island the headland of Shronecan Point.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location and seaward approaches are covered in the Kinsale Harbour Click to view haven haven entry.


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 Sandy Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Kinsale Harbour - 0.9 miles N
  2. Oysterhaven - 1.7 miles ENE
  3. Holeopen Bay East - 2.3 miles S
  4. Holeopen Bay West - 2.4 miles SSW
  5. Coolmain Bay - 3.8 miles WSW
  6. Blindstrand Bay - 4.5 miles WSW
  7. Broadstrand Bay - 4.6 miles WSW
  8. Courtmacsherry - 4.7 miles WSW
  9. Seven Heads Bay - 5.3 miles SW
  10. Robert's Cove - 5.4 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Kinsale Harbour - 0.9 miles N
  2. Oysterhaven - 1.7 miles ENE
  3. Holeopen Bay East - 2.3 miles S
  4. Holeopen Bay West - 2.4 miles SSW
  5. Coolmain Bay - 3.8 miles WSW
  6. Blindstrand Bay - 4.5 miles WSW
  7. Broadstrand Bay - 4.6 miles WSW
  8. Courtmacsherry - 4.7 miles WSW
  9. Seven Heads Bay - 5.3 miles SW
  10. Robert's Cove - 5.4 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search



What's the story here?
Sandy Cove and Sandy Cove Island as seen from the west
Image: Michael Harpur



Sandy Cove is a small inlet at the mouth of Sandy Cove Creek that is protected by the small Sandy Cove Island that rises to 28 metres. The island is situated a ¼ of a mile southwestward of Shronecan Point that forms the western entrance to Kinsale Harbour. The small hamlet of Sandycove, with a population about 100, lies on the north shore overlooking the island from a distance of about 200 metres.


The slip at Sandycove
Image: Michael Harpur


An anchorage can be had to the north of the island in Sandy Cove Sound that has depths in excess of 2.7 metres. The best protection is further northwest but depths shallow quickly to below 1.5 metres so some sounding will be required.

Sandy Cove Creek, or Ardkilly Creek, as seen from the north
Image: Tom via CC BY 2.0


For vessels that can take to the bottom, there is also the potential of using the Sandy Cove Creek, also known as the Ardkilly Creek, that extends northward into the mainland.


How to get in?
The entrance is to the east of the island
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location for seaward approaches, and the Kinsale Harbour Click to view haven haven for the entrance area. Sandy Cove is situated immediately west of the Kinsale Harbour entrance, between Shronecan Point and Sandy Cove Island, which from seaward, appears to be an unremarkable hump.


The entrance as seen from the mainland
Image: Michael Harpur


Vessels should approach as if entering the centre of the mouth of Kinsale Harbour then turning to enter from the east passing in northward of Sandy Cove Island island when it opens from Shronecan Point.
Please note

No attempt should be made to enter from the south via the west channel between the mainland and the west side of the island. This side of the island is completely foul with Long Rock, a drying rocky reef, extending 200 metres out to seaward.



Initial fix location The Sandy Cove initial fix supports the entrance between Sandy Cove Island and the mainland’s Shronecan Point. From the initial fix continue directly up the inlet taking a central course. The neck is about 400 metres long and leads into Sandy Cove Sound situated off the northmost point of the island.


Sandy Cove
Image: Michael Harpur


Keep a sharp eye out for swimming activity as the area is a centre for sea swimming. Yellow cone buoys divide the entrance to create a wide lane for swimmers on the island side.

The small hamlet of Sandycove with its slip as seen from the anchorage
Image: Graham Rabbits


Haven location Anchor according to the draft and conditions in sand with very good holding. Land at the slip below the small hamlet of Sandycove on the north shore.


Sandy Cove Creek or Ardkilly Creek opening to the north
Image: Graham Rabbits


Vessels that can take to the bottom, can explore Sandy Cove Creek / Ardkilly Creek, that extends northward into the mainland.

Sandy Cove Creek as seen from the western shore
Image: Michael Harpur



Why visit here?
Sandy Cove is a beautiful little bay at the mouth of Ardkilly Creek that shelters behind its namesake island, Sandy Cove Island. It is situated on the west shores of the Castlepark Peninsula, which itself forms the western side of the entrance to Kinsale Harbour.


Sandy Cove and Sandy Cove Island as seen from the western headland
Image: Michael Harpur


The small rock ringed and grass-topped island is uninhabited except for a heard of feral goats. These have grazed upon the island’s lush green grasses for generations indicating that a reliable source of freshwater is available on the island. Over the centuries a number of ships have foundered on the rocks off the island, including the 147-ton brig Eliza that went aground on the island in 1826.


Local boat mooring northwest of the island
Image: Tom via CC BY 2.0


By contrast, the facing mainland shore has many large holiday homes and a tiny Sandy Cove hamlet with a permanent population of around 100. It is from here each September that the 'Sandy Cove Island Challenge' takes place. This is an annual open-water swimming race that has been held here since 1994 and attracts over three hundred swimmers. The swim departs from the slipway of the small hamlet, goes around Sandy Cove Island and back again to the slipway. The total distance is approximately 1,600 metres and the race has no handicapping applied and is open to all competent sea swimmers.


The placid hamlet of Sandycove
Image: Graham Rabbits


It is also possible to land on Sandy Cove Island. The best landing point is on some sand or shingle situated at the west end of the island facing the mainland shore and opposite the slip. Please note that Herring Gulls breed here and care should be taken by landing yachtsmen to avoid disturbing nesting birds.


The island is a centre for swimming
Image: Julien Carnot CC BY-SA 2.0


From a boating perspective, the sound between the island and shore makes for a delightful and out-of-the-way anchorage with all-round views over the lush green countryside. Yet it is only a five-minute drive from the town of Kinsale, which can be accessed by crossing the bridge situated on the opposite side of the Castlepark Peninsula.


Sandycove sunrise
Image: Peter Harding via CC BY 2.0


The protective island creates a perfect place for a vessel to swing peacefully on its chain for a few days and is a particularly good location for boats that have a young family aboard. The kids will find plenty to explore in the protected little inlet and it is also a good place to let young children loose with a 'dingy’; by anchoring in the neck of the bay the vessel will stand between them and the sea whilst being able to monitor them at all times from the cockpit.


What facilities are available?
Apart for the slip there are no facilities in the secluded Sandy Cove.


Any security concerns?
It would be unlikely that you would experience any issues at anchor in Sandy Cove.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photos with thanks to Julien Carnot, Andy Beacroft, YanoG, Graham Rabbits and Mario Luna.










Aerial views of Sandycove (i)




Aerial views of Sandycove (ii)


About Sandy Cove

Sandy Cove is a beautiful little bay at the mouth of Ardkilly Creek that shelters behind its namesake island, Sandy Cove Island. It is situated on the west shores of the Castlepark Peninsula, which itself forms the western side of the entrance to Kinsale Harbour.


Sandy Cove and Sandy Cove Island as seen from the western headland
Image: Michael Harpur


The small rock ringed and grass-topped island is uninhabited except for a heard of feral goats. These have grazed upon the island’s lush green grasses for generations indicating that a reliable source of freshwater is available on the island. Over the centuries a number of ships have foundered on the rocks off the island, including the 147-ton brig Eliza that went aground on the island in 1826.


Local boat mooring northwest of the island
Image: Tom via CC BY 2.0


By contrast, the facing mainland shore has many large holiday homes and a tiny Sandy Cove hamlet with a permanent population of around 100. It is from here each September that the 'Sandy Cove Island Challenge' takes place. This is an annual open-water swimming race that has been held here since 1994 and attracts over three hundred swimmers. The swim departs from the slipway of the small hamlet, goes around Sandy Cove Island and back again to the slipway. The total distance is approximately 1,600 metres and the race has no handicapping applied and is open to all competent sea swimmers.


The placid hamlet of Sandycove
Image: Graham Rabbits


It is also possible to land on Sandy Cove Island. The best landing point is on some sand or shingle situated at the west end of the island facing the mainland shore and opposite the slip. Please note that Herring Gulls breed here and care should be taken by landing yachtsmen to avoid disturbing nesting birds.


The island is a centre for swimming
Image: Julien Carnot CC BY-SA 2.0


From a boating perspective, the sound between the island and shore makes for a delightful and out-of-the-way anchorage with all-round views over the lush green countryside. Yet it is only a five-minute drive from the town of Kinsale, which can be accessed by crossing the bridge situated on the opposite side of the Castlepark Peninsula.


Sandycove sunrise
Image: Peter Harding via CC BY 2.0


The protective island creates a perfect place for a vessel to swing peacefully on its chain for a few days and is a particularly good location for boats that have a young family aboard. The kids will find plenty to explore in the protected little inlet and it is also a good place to let young children loose with a 'dingy’; by anchoring in the neck of the bay the vessel will stand between them and the sea whilst being able to monitor them at all times from the cockpit.

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:
Holeopen Bay East - 2.3 miles S
Holeopen Bay West - 2.4 miles SSW
Coolmain Bay - 3.8 miles WSW
Courtmacsherry - 4.7 miles WSW
Broadstrand Bay - 4.6 miles WSW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Kinsale Harbour - 0.9 miles N
Oysterhaven - 1.7 miles ENE
Robert's Cove - 5.4 miles ENE
Ringabella Bay - 6 miles NE
Crosshaven - 6.9 miles NE

Navigational pictures


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


































Aerial views of Sandycove (i)




Aerial views of Sandycove (ii)



A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:


Melven Macilwraith wrote this review on Oct 25th 2019:

While the chart makes it clear not to attempt the southerly entrance, the description does not, I once saw a french yacht left high and dry on the rocks after such an attempt. At low tide the depth inside the island is below 1.5m, anchor by depth sounder in other words. It must be 30 years since there was a shop in sandy cove. The swimming activity mentioned has increased recently and the entrance is divided by yellow cone buoys to create a wide lane for swimmers on the island side. While I would generally recommend Sandycove for shelter it should be left well alone in an easterly.

Average Rating: Unrated


Michael Harpur wrote this review on Apr 7th 2020:

Hi Melvin,
Many many thanks for this insight. I have sharpened up the detail so no mistake can be made about that southern entrance. Your feedback is most welcome.

Average Rating: Unrated

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Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.