Set within a narrow high sided inlet at the head of a bay, Goleen offers good protection in offshore winds but is exposed to south and southeast conditions. Access requires attentive navigation as although there are no off-lying dangers on the approach, the inlet is narrow and fringed by detached rocks on its north side.
Keyfacts for Goleen
Summary* Restrictions applyA tolerable location with attentive navigation required for access.
Position and approaches
Haven position51° 29.664' N, 009° 42.321' W
In the middle of the harbour in 2 metres
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Crookhaven - 1.1 miles SSW
- Carrigmore Bay - 1.3 miles ENE
- Toormore Cove - 1.6 miles ENE
- Dunmanus Harbour - 2 miles NNE
- Dooneen Pier - 2.6 miles N
- Ballynatra - 2.7 miles NNW
- Croagh Bay (Long Island Sound) - 2.9 miles E
- Kilcrohane Pier - 3 miles N
- Coney Island - 3.2 miles E
- Colla Harbour - 3.4 miles E
How to get in?
Goleen lies in a narrow high sided inlet in the northwest corner Ballydivlin Bay which is situated to the northeast of Crookhaven. It is entered between Sheemon Point and Ballyrisode Point that is situated about a mile and a half to the northeast and is Ballydivlin Bay’s eastern extremity.
Vessels approaching Goleen may use the Crookhaven Harbour general approach directions as Goleen’s entrance lies one mile north of the entrance to Crookhaven.
The northeast corner, or the Ballyrisode Point side of the bay, should be avoided as there are many dangers here. Foul ground extends for nearly half a mile south of the point. The key danger is the unmarked Amsterdam Reef situated about 800 metres south from the point and awash at low water. About midway between the reef and the point is Amsterdam Rock that shows 1-2 metres above the water.
Closer in and to the west of Ballyrisode Point are the shallow rocky patches of Murrilagh, Tom Shine's Rock and Murrilaghmore that obstruct the northeast head of the bay. The alignment 093°T of Amsterdam Rock situated 400, metres south-southeast of Ballyrisode Point, and the south side of Dick's Island, a mile to the east and close to Castle Point, clears all these inshore dangers. In settled weather, it is possible to pass between Toormore and Ballydivlin Bay by cutting midway between Ballyrisode Point and the visible Amsterdam Rock. The 400-metre wide gap has at least a depth of 10 metres.
No outlying dangers will be found in the centre of Ballydivlin Bay or in the northwest corner in the approach to Goleen.
The key to finding Goleen is to identify the narrow inlet in the rocks that may not be readily apparent until quite close in. A very useful sea mark is the conspicuous spire of Goleen Church. Bringing this into alignment with the 156 metres high Callaros Oughter behind, on a bearing of 270°T, leads into where the narrow cleft in the rocks and pier immediately within will make itself known. The initial fix sets up this track.
Anchor in the pool below the quay situated on the south side of the inlet where 8 metres will be found. It is advisable to moor bow and stern with two anchors as there is no swing room in the inlet. The area beyond the pier shallows and dries very quickly. Land at the outer pier. At high water, it is possible to proceed up the inlet to a slip and small boat pier near the village.
Why visit here?Goleen derives its name from the Irish An Goilín that means ‘little inlet’. This clearly describes the narrow cleft through which the Kireal-coegea Creek exits into the northwest corner of Ballydivlin Bay.
The small rural village of Goleen, situated close west of the inlet, was built during the nineteenth century. Its origins came from being a crossroads where regular cattle fairs were held. In time, merchants built shops around the market and today the streets of Goleen can be seen to be unusually wide as the houses were originally built to be shops.
Farming has historically been the mainstay of the locals in the rural surrounds. However the lands here are hilly and rocky, and although extremely beautiful, have limited soil cover. This provides poor agricultural potential and many of them have diversified into tourism today.
From a boating point of view, the little harbour is simply beautiful, with an unusually tight anchorage along this coast. Although the upper end of the inlet dries at low water, there is ample water at the quay and entrance for leisure vessels moored bow and stern. The narrow high sided inlet provides excellent offshore wind protection, and the village which has a choice of pubs and restaurants provides for most needs.
What facilities are available?The village of Goleen has four pubs, four shops, and a petrol station. The old Church of Ireland building has been de-consecrated and is home to a sail maker.
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred to vessel anchored in Goleen.
With thanks to:Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to A McCarron and Burke Corbett.
The following video presents a photo montage of Mizen Head and surroundings.
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