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Rossbrin Cove

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Overview





Located on Ireland’s southwest coast in Co. Cork, Rossbrin Cove is situated at the head of Long Island Bay in a small drying south-facing inlet. It is located approximately midway between Schull and Ballydehob and the anchorage is within the entrance cove.

Set within an enclosed channel, and well sheltered by Horse Island that is located to the south, the anchorage offers good protection from all but very strong westerly or north-easterly winds. Approaches to the general area are straightforward with the western end approach being marked and lit.



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Keyfacts for Rossbrin Cove
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideSlipway availableMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair services


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
May 9th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideSlipway availableMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair services


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 31.453' N, 009° 28.168' W

In the neck of the inlet where 2 metres is assured.

What is the initial fix?

The following Schull initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 29.947' N, 009° 31.682' W
This is 300 metres west of the Amelia Rock Marker and on the harbour’s 346° T in-line leading through the entrance. The anchoring area in Schull Harbour is mile a half from here.


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 Rossbrin Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Horse Island - 0.3 miles SSW
  2. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 0.6 miles WSW
  3. Castle Island (North Side) - 0.8 miles WSW
  4. Castle Island (South Side) - 0.9 miles SW
  5. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.3 miles SE
  6. Heir Island (East Pier) - 1.5 miles SE
  7. Heir Island (east beach) - 1.5 miles SE
  8. White Strand - 1.5 miles SSW
  9. Schull Harbour (Skull) - 1.7 miles W
  10. Turk’s Head - 1.7 miles SE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Horse Island - 0.3 miles SSW
  2. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 0.6 miles WSW
  3. Castle Island (North Side) - 0.8 miles WSW
  4. Castle Island (South Side) - 0.9 miles SW
  5. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.3 miles SE
  6. Heir Island (East Pier) - 1.5 miles SE
  7. Heir Island (east beach) - 1.5 miles SE
  8. White Strand - 1.5 miles SSW
  9. Schull Harbour (Skull) - 1.7 miles W
  10. Turk’s Head - 1.7 miles SE
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?
Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south may use the Schull Harbour Schull Harbour Click to view haven general approach directions and initial fix. From there it is simply a matter of following the channels to the north of the islands and south of the mainland, as described below, to Rossbrin.



South Eastern ApproachVessels approaching the area southeast, or from the south sides of Castle or Horse Islands, may enter Horse Island Channel by passing between the islands. The key danger to avoid is the Derreen Rocks that are situated between the islands. Vessels may pass on either side of the Derreen Rocks, of which the western side is the wider and deeper option.
Please note

A first-time visitor would be best advised to take the Schull Harbour approach between Long and Castle Island.



Initial fix location From the Schull Initial fix proceed through Castle Island Grounds that are located between Long Island and Castle Island. Keep closer to, or a third to the east of, Long Island where Copper Point will be conspicuous. This presents a white 14 metre high round tower with a light showing.

Copper Point - Lighthouse Q(3)10s 16m 8M position 51° 30.250’N 009° 32.063’W

Continue northward after passing to the east of Copper Point steering towards Coosheen Point. When about midway between both, turn hard east into Castle Island Channel that is entered between Mweel Point and Coosheen Point. A mid-channel course through Castle Island Channel, that is situated between Castle Island and the mainland, passes to the north of the dangerous Mweel Ledges. The Mweel Ledges extend 500 metres west from Castle Island.

Castle Island Channel is deep and a central path presents no dangers.



Favour the mainland or northern side at the east end of Castle Island Channel where it joins Horse Island Channel. This area is obstructed by Castle Island Spit that extends 800 metres to the northeast of Castle Island.


Continue along Castle Island Channel, between Horse Island and the mainland on the north, taking a mid-channel approach up to Rossbrin Cove.


Rossbrin Cove is entered from the north side of Horse Island Channel. The cove is made readily conspicuous by Rossbrin Castle standing on the shoreline on the west side of the cove.



Vessels carrying any draft should not proceed beyond the castle ruin where it is about a metre and a half, as it quickly becomes shallows beyond this point. The head of the cove dries entirely where it turns into a mud hole with small dingy channels that hold some water. Land by dinghy at the harbour wall.
Please note

Castle Island Channel provides no passage to Roaringwater Bay as the drying Horse Ridge lies across its east end. However, vessels of a moderate draft may cross this at high water to achieve access to and from Roaringwater and Ballydehob Bays.







Why visit here?
The ruins of Rossbrin Castle is the preeminent feature of this anchorage. Overlooking the cove from the western shoreline it was built in 1310 and is sometimes referred to as O'Mahony because it was the seat and most eastern territory of the O'Mahony clan.

The O'Mahony name comes from Mathghamban, son of Cian Mac Mael Muda, a 10th-century prince and his wife Sadbh, daughter of the legendary Irish High King Brian Boru. The O'Mahony clan territory included all the land to the west of Rossbrin to Mizen Head which they controlled from a series of castles strung out along the coastline. The most famous member of the O'Mahony clan was Finghinn O'Mathuna who died in 1496. Finghinn was acclaimed as being unmatched in Munster for hospitality and scholarship. The latter was noted in the ‘Annals of Ulster’ where he was described as "a great scholar in Irish, Latin and English’’. In 1476 Finghinn became the new clan chieftain presiding over the clan lands from his seat Rossbrin Castle.

At the time west Cork’s old Gaelic clans of O'Mahony, O'Driscoll, and O'Sullivan ruled their territories in harmony and drew a large measure of their wealth from the sea. At the beginning of the 17th-century, it was recorded, that there were more than 500 large French, Spanish and Portuguese fishing boats constantly harvesting the fish shoals off the southwest coast. It is estimated that each clan chieftain's income, by way of fishing rights, harbour dues, shore facilities to salt their catch (herring had to be processed within 24 hours), protection money, exports, and by serving and provisioning the foreign ships, exceeded a thousand pounds each. Taking a pound at the time could purchase two cows, this presented the clans with a large and very reliable income. This prosperity gave rise to a significant building of religious and tower houses in the overall area, in the first half of the 15th century. The O'Mahonys alone built twelve castles of which a number at Rossmore, Dunbeacon and Ballydevlin are in the area. They have minimal defence features suggesting this was a time of peace and prosperity

Whilst they never fought with neighbouring clans, the O'Mahony became a source of constant frustration for the English forces. Late in the 16th century, during the nine years war where Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill and other Irish clan leaders rose against English rule, the Crown moved to finally subdue the clan. In the aftermath of the 1601 Siege or Battle of Kinsale, the ultimate battle in England's conquest of Gaelic Ireland, the forces turned their efforts on the clan at Rossbrin Castle. This, however, would be no easy round-up for the Crown and the castle went back and forth between the opposing forces many times. The Crown reigned supreme in 1602 when the castle was finally taken.

From that time onward the clan was broken and there is little-recorded history to be found of them. Yet the family name significantly appeared a quarter of a century later in John O'Mahony (1816-1877). Heralding from Kilbeheny, near Mitchelstown, he co-founded the Fenian movement that was to play a significant part in the liberation of Ireland. In its heyday, the castle's tower house had four stories with two flanking towers, but the site has deteriorated significantly over the past century. In 1905 the west wall collapsed during a storm, in 1963 part of the vaulted third storey loft fell, and a further collapse occurred in 1975, leaving the remaining four storeys high northeast corner that can be seen today.

Today boaters are afforded a unique ability to enjoy the Rossbrin West Cork "lifestyle". Properties rarely come up for sale here as they get handed down through generations, which is little surprise in such a scenic location.

From a boating point of view, the anchorage off Horse Island Channel and just outside the quiet tidal harbour provides excellent shelter. Although a quiet location, there is always the comings and goings of boats to provide a measure of interest to an observer peacefully passing away time in the cockpit. At the head of the cove, the small harbour with a ladder set into the wall makes landing very convenient. Although there may be little in the way of shopping available in the village, Schull is close at hand for this.


What facilities are available?
Rossbrin may not offer much in the way of shops but it does boast an excellent boatyard where every possible help will be given. Their facilities include water from a tap, diesel fuel, lifting facility, mechanics and electricians, and also a sail repairer.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to vessel anchored off Rossbrin.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Burke Corbett, Mike Searle and Martin Southwood.


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