England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes
Boat
Maintenance
Comfort
Operations
Safety
Other



NextPrevious

Holeopen Bay East

Tides and tools
Overview





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

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

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



Be the first
to comment
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
March 24th 2021

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
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

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.

  • Vessels approaching from the east may enter directly

  • Vessels rounding the head should be watchful for the race and Bream rock


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. Castlepark Marina - 3 miles N
  4. Kinsale Harbour - 3.2 miles N
  5. Coolmain Bay - 3.4 miles WNW
  6. Oyster Haven - 3.5 miles NNE
  7. Blindstrand Bay - 3.5 miles W
  8. Broadstrand Bay - 3.7 miles W
  9. Seven Heads Bay - 4 miles WSW
  10. Courtmacsherry - 4.2 miles W
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. Castlepark Marina - 3 miles N
  4. Kinsale Harbour - 3.2 miles N
  5. Coolmain Bay - 3.4 miles WNW
  6. Oyster Haven - 3.5 miles NNE
  7. Blindstrand Bay - 3.5 miles W
  8. Broadstrand Bay - 3.7 miles W
  9. Seven Heads Bay - 4 miles WSW
  10. Courtmacsherry - 4.2 miles W
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search

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.

Expand to new tab or fullscreen



What's the story here?
Holeopen Bay East
Image: tiarescott via CC BY 2.0


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 a ½ 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. It is a deep water anchorage in fine shale and gravel and it would not be a place to leave a vessel unattended for very long. Vessels anchoring here will need to have a good length of chain and be prepared to put it out to make the best of the holding.


How to get in?
The Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse
Image: Burke Corbett


Convergance Point Use the details provided in available in southwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location for approaches. The Old Head Of Kinsale with its lighthouse provides a conspicuous mark for at least twenty miles in all directions.

The Old Head, as it is generally referred to, is a bold projecting headland, bounded by steep cliffs, that makes for an unmistakable feature of this coastline. 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.

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 also the ruin of 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


The De Courcy Castle and signal tower
Image: Burke Corbett


The ruin of a 12th-century De Courcy Castle stands over the isthmus, and a short distance to the north of it there is an old 18th-century signal tower.

Vessels approaching from the east will find no obstructions and the initial fix can be dispensed with for a direct approach into Holeopen Bay. Approaches from the west to the initial fix are just as obvious.
Please note

Races and overfalls form off the head at the extremity of the tides. These form 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.




Bream Rock as seen from the anchorage
Image: Burke Corbett


On final approaches make note of the Bream Rock. This lies on the east side of the head, ½ 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.


The ruin of De Courcy Castle makes a good lead-in mark
Image: Burke Corbett


Initial fix location From the initial fix a course of 344°T from here will lead into the bay. The ruin of De Courcy Castle standing over the isthmus makes a good lead-in mark.


Subterranean passage through the isthmus as seen from the anchorage
Image: Burke Corbett


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. Drop anchor according to personal preference.


Why visit here?
Holeopen Bay takes its name from the subterranean passage that passes through the isthmus north of the Old Head of Kinsale. The Old Head of Kinsale is made of a 350 million years old hard sandstone outcrop that is lodged outside a layer of shale. The subsequent differential erosion of marine action works faster on the shale than the sandstone. This in time, has created the deep indents of Holeopen Bay East and the corresponding Holeopen Bay West. Likewise, the subterranean caves that cut through the narrow neck of the peninsula in and out to the opposite sides providing the name 'holeopen', east and west.


View under the isthmus through the subterranean cave
Image: Burke Corbett


Chief amongst these caves was one that ran under the Old Head isthmus itself. In 2008 this spectacular hole 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 slack water as tidal streams it pours through on the tide.


Canoeists in the cave
Image: Tourism Ireland


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. 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'.


The ruins of the original cottage lighthouse as seen from the anchorage
Image: Burke Corbett


Being a prime seafaring landmark the mighty Old Head of Kinsale was amongst the first heads to receive a light. The first light was established on the Head in 1665. This was not in the form of a tall tower but rather a simple stone-vaulted cottage lighthouse with a platform either built on the roof or positioned adjacent to the cottage. A fire was lit on the platform in certain conditions and this acted as the precursor to the lighthouse of later centuries. During this time the promontory of the Old Head was anxiously looked for by the homeward-bound vessels from America, who generally sighted the Old Head of Kinsale before any other landmark of the British Isles. The cottage can still be seen from the anchorage and three other cottage lighthouses survive from the period at Howth Head, the Copeland Islands and Loop Head (See Holeopen Bay West External link for more information on the 12th-century De Courcy Castle and 18th-century signal tower).


The much venerated Old Head of Kinsale lighthouse
Image: Burke Corbett


The tower seen today 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. None more important than that that took place on the placid sunny day of May 15th, 1915. On that day, eleven miles to the south of the Old Head, the torpedoing of the Cunard ocean liner Lusitania would shape world history.


Depiction of the torpedoing of the Lusitania
Image: Public Domain


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 a controversy that continues to the present day.


Mourners following the bodies of the victims to the Old Cemetery
Image: Public Domain


At the time of the attack, and despite assertions to the contrary, 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. Survivors say the ship was not sunk by the first torpedo but rather by a second internal explosion. And it was this that caused the high mortality rate. 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.


Lusitania mass grave
Image: Public Domain



Queenstown (now Cobh) was the centre of rescue operations and the survivors were accommodated in local hospitals, lodging houses and private homes. Nearly three days after the sinking 150 of her victims were buried in mass graves in the Old Church cemetery, 1 mile north of Queenstown. 80 of them were never identified. The Lusitana Peace Memorial standing in Casement square in the centre of Cobh stands as a memorial to all who died aboard the Lusitania and those who assisted in the rescue effort.

The Lusitania Monument in Cobh
Image: William Murphy via CC BY SA 2.0



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 a public beauty spot to a 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.

The Old Head is now occupied by the Old Head Golf Links
Image: tiarescott via CC BY 2.0


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. As it 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.







Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (i)




Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (ii)




Aerial Old Head of Kinsale (iii)



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:

Please log in to leave a review of this haven.



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.