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Holeopen Bay East

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Overview





Holeopen Bay East is situated on the southwest coast of Ireland about fifteen miles southwest of Cork Harbour. The bay is immediately northeast of the Old Head of Kinsale and it offers a remote and secluded anchorage but it is not possible to land here.

The bay provides a tolerable anchorage that is protected from conditions with a westerly component. Access is straightforward as it is completely open and absent of any obstructions.
Please note

This is a deep water anchorage in fine shale and gravel. Vessels anchoring here should be prepared to put out a lot of chain to make the best of the holding. This would not be a place you would leave a vessel unattended for very long.




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Keyfacts for Holeopen Bay East
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: landing not recommended, possible or permitted here

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
6 metres (19.69 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.



Last modified
May 8th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: landing not recommended, possible or permitted here



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 37.000' N, 008° 32.000' W

In the middle of the bay from which you can see where the original hole that existed through the Isthmus from Holeopen Bay East out into Holeopen Bay West.

What is the initial fix?

The following Holeopen Bay East initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 36.000' N, 008° 31.000' W
This waypoint is approximately three quarters of a mile to the southeast by east of the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse Fl (2) 10s 72m 20M. A course of 344° (T) from here will lead in to the bay.


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.


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 Holeopen Bay East for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Holeopen Bay West - 0.4 miles W
  2. Sandy Cove - 2.3 miles N
  3. Kinsale Harbour - 3.2 miles N
  4. Coolmain Bay - 3.4 miles WNW
  5. Oysterhaven - 3.5 miles NNE
  6. Blindstrand Bay - 3.5 miles W
  7. Broadstrand Bay - 3.7 miles W
  8. Seven Heads Bay - 4 miles WSW
  9. Courtmacsherry - 4.2 miles W
  10. Dunworly Bay - 5.4 miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Holeopen Bay West - 0.4 miles W
  2. Sandy Cove - 2.3 miles N
  3. Kinsale Harbour - 3.2 miles N
  4. Coolmain Bay - 3.4 miles WNW
  5. Oysterhaven - 3.5 miles NNE
  6. Blindstrand Bay - 3.5 miles W
  7. Broadstrand Bay - 3.7 miles W
  8. Seven Heads Bay - 4 miles WSW
  9. Courtmacsherry - 4.2 miles W
  10. Dunworly Bay - 5.4 miles WSW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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How to get in?


Holeopen Bay East is situated on the east side of bold projecting Old Head Of Kinsale headland that is bounded by steep cliffs with a prominent lighthouse on its southern extremity. It is entered between Kitchen Point, just over half a mile northward of the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse, and Black Head, just under a mile further northward. The bay offers a remote and secluded anchorage but it is not possible to land here.

The conspicuous Old Head of Kinsale and lighthouse provides a conspicuous mark for at least twenty miles in all directions. The head’s outer portion rises to a height of 76 metres and is almost isolated except for a narrow isthmus, about 120 metres across, that connects it to the mainland.




The ruin of De Courcy Castle stands over the isthmus, and a short distance to the north of it there is an old telegraph tower. On the extreme southern point of the head is the lighthouse. The 30 metres high tower is painted black with two white belts and is visible in clear weather for up to 20 miles. There is a disused light structure standing about half a mile north of the light on the eastern side of the headland

Old Head of Kinsale - lighthouse Fl (2) 10s 72m 20M position: 51°36.287'N, 008°32.018'W



Eastern Approach Approaching from the east is straightforward as there are no obstructions and the initial fix can be dispensed with for a direct approach into Holeopen Bay.



Western Approach Approaching from the west to the initial fix is just as obvious.

Initial fix location From the initial fix a course of 344° (T) from here will lead in to the bay. Make note of the Bream Rock on approach. This lies on the east side of the head, half a mile north of the lighthouse. It is a low-lying flat that extends out 200 metres from the shore and is steep-to.



Apart from the Bream Rock the ‘Old Head’ has no off-lying dangers and in settled conditions presents little issue.
Please note

Races and overfalls form off the head at the extremity of the tides; to the southwest of the head in a west-going stream, and to the southeast of the head in an east-going stream. When overfalls are observed vessels should keep a mile off.




Haven location The anchorage is situated off the narrow neck halfway out on the eastern side and in the middle of Holeopen Bay East. It is located about 0.8 of a nautical mile due north of the lighthouse itself.

The ruin of De Courcy Castle standing over the isthmus makes a good lead-in mark. Drop anchor according to personal preference.



Why visit here?
With spectacular cliffs, Holeopen Bay is situated off the mighty Old Head of Kinsale headland that extends 7km out to sea. Its extremity is further marked by a much-venerated lighthouse that is a prime seafaring landmark and steeped in history. The bay takes its name from the subterranean passage through the isthmus north of the Old Head of Kinsale.

The first light was established on the Head in 1665 in a simple cottage lighthouse. The tower was completed in 1843 and was designed by George Halpin. Like all of the other Irish Lighthouses, the Old Head became automated in 1987. In its time this lighthouse has overlooked historic events that have shaped the nation. But on a placid sunny day of May 15th, 1915 it watched over an event that would shape world history.

On that day, eleven miles to the south of the Old Head, in the position of 51° 24.73’N, 008° 32.84’W the Cunard ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed. The vessel went down in twenty minutes killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard and only leaving 761 survivors. Those aboard included a large number of illustrious and internationally renowned people. These including the American millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt, Alice Moore Hubbard, author and woman's rights activist, and her writer and philosopher husband Elbert Hubbard and many more. Likewise Ireland’s renowned art collector, founder of Dublin’s Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Sir Hugh Lane went down with the ship. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany and significantly contributed to the American entry into World War I.

The attack is steeped in controversy that continues to the present day. At the time of the attack, the Lusitania was carrying a large quantity of rifle ammunition and other supplies necessary for a war economy, as well as civilian passengers. So there were legitimate grounds for the German attack. Moreover, the Germans knew it was carrying munitions and the German Consulate warned intending passengers that the Lusitania was a legitimate target. It is also claimed that these munitions expedited the sinking of the ship thus causing the high mortality rate. Survivors say the ship was not sunk by the first torpedo but by a second, internal, explosion. Contemporary investigations into the precise causes of the ship's loss were obstructed by the needs of wartime secrecy and a propaganda campaign at the time to ensure all the blame fell upon Germany.

The Old Head of Kinsale itself was formed by differential erosion. An outcrop of hard sandstone is lodged between two layers of shale which is eroded by marine action at a faster rate than the sandstone. This has also caused the subterranean caves that cut through the narrow neck of the peninsula in and out to the opposite side. Hence the anchorage acquired its name Holeopen Bay east with the corresponding Holeopen Bay West on the west and opposite side of the headland.

Chief amongst these caves was one that ran under the Old Head isthmus itself. In 2008 this spectacular hole, that lends the bay its name, collapsed and was filled by a landslide. This was a pity as in the past it was possible for a tender to go through this subterranean pass without difficulty from Holeopen Bay East out to Holeopen Bay West. The distance was approximately two hundred metres but it required settled conditions in order to paddle through and you had to be on slack water as it pours through on the tide. As this added a fun aspect to the bay it is hoped that the subsided material is washed out by future heavy weather opening the hole for exploration once again. Interestingly it is said that industrious lighthouse keepers used these caves to technically declare the Old Head Lighthouse an island and petitioned for the island allowance.



Today the Old Head of Kinsale is popular with golfers who come to play on its 18 Hole golf course that opened in 1997. The Old Head's transformation from public beauty spot to private golf course has been highly controversial. It is rumoured that to get planning permission for the golf course the owner had to allow the general public access, but since 1997 very few of the general public has been allowed on to the course which has been criticised for being elitist and is one of the most expensive golf courses in Ireland.

From a boating perspective, Holeopen Bay is a convenient place to drop into and wait out a tide or to have a lunch break. It is also possible to stay overnight in settled conditions. Because this is a major headland there is always a chance of seeing some of the larger marine wildlife. It is not uncommon to spot Sunfish, Porpoises or Dolphins, as well as the spectacular bird colonies on the western side of Holeopen Bay.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities in this secluded bay.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a leisure vessel anchored in this bay.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photos with thanks to German Federal Archive, Dr. David J Otway, Julien Carnot, tiarescott, Peter Gerken and Burke Corbett.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.





















Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (i)




Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (ii)




Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (iii)



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