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Lonehort Harbour

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Overview





Lonehort Harbour is located on Ireland’s southwest coast, in Co. Cork, near the entrance to Bantry Bay. It is situated about a mile from the eastern end of Bear Island and on its southern shoreline. This very small ancient harbour offers an anchorage in a remote and secluded setting.

Though very small Lonehort Harbour offers complete protection and is one of the most sheltered of Bantry Bay’s outer harbours. However attentive navigation with the benefit of moderate weather and daylight is required for access. Though it may be entered at any state of the tide the inner entry channel is narrow and it requires a vessel to circle around a reef within the inner harbour.
Please note

There are no marks to avoid the rocks in the entrance and access requires skilfully circumventing these dangers.




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Keyfacts for Lonehort Harbour
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 2 or more from ENE, E, ESE, SE, SSE, S, SSW, SW, WSW and W.Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific length

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
2 stars: Careful navigation; good visibility and conditions with dangers that require careful navigation.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
May 10th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with careful navigation required for access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 2 or more from ENE, E, ESE, SE, SSE, S, SSW, SW, WSW and W.Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific length



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 38.263' N, 009° 47.852' W

In the inner bay close to the northern shore

What is the initial fix?

The following Lonehort Harbour initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 38.127' N, 009° 47.177' W
This is situated about three hundred metres outside the haven entrance which is situated west by northwest of here.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Mizen Head to Loop 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 Lonehort Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Lawrence Cove - 0.7 miles W
  2. Mill Cove - 1.7 miles WNW
  3. Adrigole - 2.5 miles NE
  4. Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 2.6 miles W
  5. Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 2.9 miles W
  6. Ballynatra - 3.1 miles SSE
  7. Dooneen Pier - 3.2 miles SSE
  8. Kilcrohane Pier - 3.3 miles SE
  9. Kitchen Cove - 4.1 miles ESE
  10. Ballycrovane Harbour - 4.6 miles NW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Lawrence Cove - 0.7 miles W
  2. Mill Cove - 1.7 miles WNW
  3. Adrigole - 2.5 miles NE
  4. Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 2.6 miles W
  5. Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 2.9 miles W
  6. Ballynatra - 3.1 miles SSE
  7. Dooneen Pier - 3.2 miles SSE
  8. Kilcrohane Pier - 3.3 miles SE
  9. Kitchen Cove - 4.1 miles ESE
  10. Ballycrovane Harbour - 4.6 miles NW
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?
A view over the eastern end of the island with Lonehort Harbour top right
Image: Glen Harrington


Lonehort Harbour is an ancient natural harbour situated on the south coast of Bear Island about a mile from its eastern extremity. It provides leisure craft with excellent shelter in moderate weather. The channel has a least charted depth in the entrance of 1.8 m but it has been reported to be
slightly less.


Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south will find the high and rugged Bear Island about 4.5 miles north of Sheep’s Head. Though a significant island, it can often be difficult to distinguish from the land behind it. The island rises to 209 metres at its western summit where the conspicuous ruin of an old telegraph tower stands. A mile to the east of it the island rises to its 270-metre high central summit Knockanalling to descend gradually towards the eastern point. A mile east-northeast of Knockanalling, on a 164 metres high crest, is a conspicuous Martello tower. Another prominent Martello tower will be seen on a 95-metre high crest on the southern shore. This is located about a mile and a half east-southeast from the higher tower and to the north of Cloonaghlin Head. Lonehort Harbour is situated on the south coast of Bear Island about a mile from its east end.



Western Approach Vessels following the coastline from the west will find Bear Island’s southern shore steep with cliffs on its western side, with deep water close to the breakers. Off its middle part of the island, at about 200 metres from the shore, lies the 12-metre high Greenane Rock, and 200 metres further to the south of it a smaller rock, about 0.9 metres high, called the Feagh Rock. Half-a-mile to the east of these rocks and about 800 metres southwest of Cloonaghlin Head, distinguished by the aforementioned Martello tower, there is a rocky patch with 7.3 metres of water that breaks in westerly gales.



Eastern Approach The eastern extremity of the island, Lonehort Point, is low, shelving, and ill-defined. It terminates in a dangerous reef, very much in the way of vessels going into Bearhaven by the east entrance. The highest part of this reef, called Carrigavaddra, is situated 800 metres southeast from Lonehort Point, just covered on neap tides. It is marked by an unlighted beacon on a 2.7-metre high rocky area half a mile southeast of Lonehort Point.

Carrigavaddra Perch – (unlighted) position: 51° 38.670’N 009° 46.330’W

Convergance Point Lonehort Harbour's east-facing entrance is situated north of Leaghern's Point and obscured to western and southern approaches. The long mound of the butts of a rifle range, set on Leaghern's Point, however, provide a unique promontory mark. Rounding this headland from the west and south, keeping the firing range to port, eventually opens the east facing entrance to Lonehort Harbour.




Lonehort Harbour’s initial fix is situated about three hundred metres outside the haven entrance. The butts of Leaghern's Point rifle range will be clearly seen over the promontory that forms the western side of the entrance, thus making the harbour's approach unmistakable.



The key to entering Lonehort Harbour is to round the half tide Carrigvaud Rock that is central and divides the lower or outer part of the harbour in two. To access the harbour's inner part, an entering vessel must round this rock turning through 180° whilst keeping the rock to starboard, before breaking off along the north shore to the anchoring area in the northeast corner of the harbour.
Please note

With a least depth of 1.8 metres available it may be easiest for a first-time entrant to approach the haven near low water when most rocks are exposed, and the partially exposed Carrigvaud Rock makes itself known on its western end and by its floating weed.




Initial fix location From the initial fix proceed east keeping a central path into the entrance. On the south side of the entrance channel is another rock that shows just off the Bear Island shoreline. Stay north of this during the approach, passing between it and Carrigvaud Rock.



Then having passed south of, and then turning around Carrigvaud Rock to pass on its western side hugging the northwest shore, turn back to the northeast. Here along the north shore proceed towards the anchorage where the deepest water is to be found.



Once past the stones on the south side of the inner haven, which were constructed by the Vikings to stop swells getting into the anchorage and extending into the channel from the island's narrow eastern end, the haven widens out again to give ample room.


Haven location Anchor in sand and shale in the middle of the northeast section of the harbour keeping 40 metres off the north shore. More than 6 metres of water can be found here.



Land on the beach at the northeast corner. From here a path leads east then climbs a steep bank to the house overlooking the anchorage. This then joins the old military road near a picnic area.


Why visit here?
Lonehort Harbour derives its name from the Irish word ‘Tongphort' that usually referred to a fortified ship harbour of Viking origin.

Human occupation on Bere Island goes way back to prehistoric times as the islands Megalithic tombs and Standing Stones confirm. However, in the 9th-century the Vikings certainly found their way here, as the harbour's name implies, and made a significant base in the surrounds.

The haven’s protection is largely enhanced by the underwater breakwater extending from the eastern shoreline that prevents a groundswell entering the harbour. Local folklore stated that this was constructed by the Vikings and recent research has finally proven that the material of the structure is at variance with the underlying sandy seabed suggesting that the breakwater was man-made. In 1995 the base foundations of a stone jetty were found extending from the beach at the eastern end of the harbour. This would have accommodated shallow draught boats, and an archaeological excavation of this feature unearthed a Viking 'Naust'; a boathouse used for the repair or storage of boats. Made up of medium-sized stones it was intermixed with several shards of early modern pottery and a single modern coin. Subsequent aerial photographic and early cartographic evidence suggests that an earthen enclosure surrounded the harbour.

Another invading military power landed in Lonehort Harbour on June 1st / 2nd 1602 when it played host to Elizabeth I’s invasion fleet. The fleet was under the command of the English General, Sir George Carew, Lord President of Munster. He had a resounding victory over the Irish at Kinsale in 1601 and came with an army that was in excess of 3,000 men. Generals Charles Wilmot and Richard Percy also arrived with their regiments, boosting the numbers of the invading force to 5000. Sir George Carew ordered a road to be built across the island to transport the pro-English forces to Dunboy castle opposite the western entrance to Bearhaven. Carew’s army crossed to attack the castle on June 6, as described in the Dunboy Click to view haven entry, culminating in the final destruction of O'Sullivan's castle and putting an end to the Gaelic way of life in Ireland.

Carew’s army stayed on Bere Island for 24 days in total and although no further account exists of their activities he imposed an intensive repression on the locality. A description of this by Stafford, Carew’s Scribe, on the state of the area on their departure, stated that 'there was no corn or cattle left in the fields, nor houses left unburned'.

In 1898 the British Military raised a compulsory purchase order on the eastern end of Bere Island. Tenants were cleared from the land in order to construct fortifications. The purpose of these fortifications was to protect the British Fleet at anchor in the bay while routine maintenance was carried out. Seven gun batteries were constructed at the Ardaragh Battery and the larger Lonehort Battery. These fortifications remained in British hands until 1938 when they were handed over to the Irish forces. Irish forces still operate on the island, based mainly in ‘Fort Berehaven’ which is located only one mile from Fort Lonehort. Fort Lonehort has been unoccupied since the 1970s and now lies abandoned and overgrown with the two remaining six-inch guns slowly rusting away.

Today Lonehort Harbour is a silent and secluded location which from a sailing perspective affords complete protection. Landing on the eastern beach a track climbs to a picnic area which is just a short walk from the old fort at the east side of the island. From here Bear Island has a wealth of paths that are a pleasure to spend time exploring. Various plaques along the walk outline the island’s history for several hundred years including that of Lonehort Harbour. It is a very pleasant walk across the island to the marina in Lawrence’s Cove.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this remote and secluded anchorage. Best resources are to be found in Laurence's Cove a 20 minute hike across the island.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel in Lonehort Harbour.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to 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 views of Bere Island showing Lonehort Harbour



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