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Dooneen Pier

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Overview





Dooneen Pier is situated on the southwest coast of Ireland, five miles within and on the north shore of the Dunmanus Bay inlet. It provides an anchorage off a substantial pier with a small village close inland.

Dooneen Pier is situated on the southwest coast of Ireland, five miles within and on the north shore of the Dunmanus Bay inlet. It provides an anchorage off a substantial pier with a small village close inland.

The small rocky cove provides an exposed and steep-to anchorage that can only be utilised with settled or northerly component conditions. Daylight access is straightforward at any stage of the tide.
Please note

The anchoring area off Dooneen pier is steep-to and an anchor watch would be advisable here. A good weather window would be required to visit any of Dunmanus Bay’s outer havens. If the prevailing winds were to come on strong, though good shelter may be found further up the inlet, it would be difficult however to sail out of the bay.




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Keyfacts for Dooneen Pier
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
5 metres (16.4 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
December 3rd 2021

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 33.848' N, 009° 43.690' W

This is about 200 metres east of the pier head and about the same distance from the rock with a bollard set on it situated close south east of the pier.

What is the initial fix?

The following Dooneen Pier initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 33.648' N, 009° 43.400' W
This initial lies about 300 metres east of Dooneen Point. Tracking 400 metres to the northeast from here leads to the anchoring area off the pier.


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. Details for the run up the long and narrow Dunmanus Bay are covered in the Dunbeacon Harbour Click to view haven entry.

  • The haven is readily located by Dooneen Point's prominent appearance.

  • There are no outlying dangers offshore and the pier may be approached directly.


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 Dooneen Pier for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Ballynatra (Trá Ruaim) Cove - 1.2 nautical miles WSW
  2. Kilcrohane Pier - 1.4 nautical miles ENE
  3. Dunmanus Harbour - 2.7 nautical miles ESE
  4. Carrigmore Bay - 4.1 nautical miles SE
  5. Kitchen Cove - 4.1 nautical miles ENE
  6. Toormore Cove - 4.2 nautical miles SE
  7. Goleen - 4.3 nautical miles SSE
  8. Lonehort Harbour - 5.1 nautical miles NNW
  9. Lawrence Cove - 5.6 nautical miles NW
  10. Dunbeacon Cove - 5.6 nautical miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Ballynatra (Trá Ruaim) Cove - 1.2 miles WSW
  2. Kilcrohane Pier - 1.4 miles ENE
  3. Dunmanus Harbour - 2.7 miles ESE
  4. Carrigmore Bay - 4.1 miles SE
  5. Kitchen Cove - 4.1 miles ENE
  6. Toormore Cove - 4.2 miles SE
  7. Goleen - 4.3 miles SSE
  8. Lonehort Harbour - 5.1 miles NNW
  9. Lawrence Cove - 5.6 miles NW
  10. Dunbeacon Cove - 5.6 miles ENE
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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What's the story here?
Dooneen Pier tucked in around the point and protected by Illanunglass
Image: Michael Harpur


Dooneen Point is the first significant point along the north shore of Dunmanus Bay about 5 miles eastward of Sheep's Head. It is a remote area with a substantial refurbished concrete Dooneen Pier, set into the rocky outcrops and ridges that extend eastward from the promontory just inside the small craggy island of Illanunglass.


The road leading to Dooneen Pier
Image: Michael Harpur


Unfortunately, the area off of the Dooneen Pier is steep-to and deep, anchor in 5-10 metres. A trip line is advised as the area has subsurface mariculture frames and ropes. Moored vessels also run the risk of 'falling off' in the event of the anchor breaking free so an anchor watch should be maintained.


Dooneen Pier as seen from the southeast
Image: Michael Harpur


The old stone pier's rough wall makes it unsuitable to come alongside. Vessels equipped with a fender board might be able to avail of it but should explore the pier well in advance. The more adventurous could also explore mooring 'bow and stern' off the old steamer turning bollard. The pier has an excellent pair of steps.


Dooneen Pier and turning bollard
Image: Burke Corbett


Dooneen Pier is a place for those cruising Dunmanus Bay in settled weather with a mind to discovering interesting day anchorages and short walks. For this is an exposed anchorage and one that ideally makes a lunch stop or a place to have a swim.


How to get in?
Dooneen Point as seen from south-westward at Ballynatra
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location for seaward approaches and the the run-up the long and narrow Dunmanus Bay is covered in the Dunbeacon Harbour Click to view haven entry.


Dooneen Point, located about 5 miles within the bay, positively identifies the
location of Dooneen Pier

Image: Michael Harpur


The haven can be readily identifiable by Dooneen Point's prominent appearance. Situated 5 miles within the entrance to Dunmanus Bay it is the first point that attracts attention when proceeding up along the north shore of Dunmanus Bay. Located to the northeast of Dooneen Point, on its eastern side and close to the shoreline, the pier is easily found.


Dooneen Pier as seen from the Dunmanus Bay
Image: Burke Corbett


Initial fix location The substantial old steamer pier will be more than visible from the initial fix as well as the steep escarpments of the adjacent rocky cliffs extending eastward. There are no outlying dangers offshore and the pier may be approached directly. The seabed here is steep and expect depths to rapidly decrease as the pier is approached.


Approaching Dooneen Pier
Image: Burke Corbett


Haven location Anchor about 50 metres off the pierhead where 5-10 metres can be found, making certain the anchor is well set.


Dooneen Pier as seen from the anchoring area
Image: Burke Corbett


As the area is steep-to a vessel runs the risk of 'falling off' in the event of the anchor breaking free. It is therefore advised that an anchor alarm is set off Dooneen Pier and if a shore party is landed it would be prudent to leave a competent crew member aboard at all times.


A bow and stern line between the turning bollard and pier could be possible
Image: Michael Harpur


The way to get around this would be to mooring 'bow and stern' between the pier and the old steamer turning bollard set on the little rocky outcrop. This is about 50 - 60 metres to the southwest of the pier with ample water. It may be also possible to set the anchor in deeper water and take a stern line around the bollard.


The distance between the turning bollard and the pier
Image: Michael Harpur


Best landings can be had by the dinghy at either of the pier's two sets of steps. A road leads up from the pier to the peninsula above.


Why visit here?
Dooneen, in Irish An Dúinín means the 'the little mound' or 'little fort' indicating that the area was once defended. Understandably the 'Dooneen' name, along with its plural 'Dooneens', occurs regularly in the south and west of Ireland and it is the placename of nearly thirty townlands. Uniquely the full name for the pier area is Cé an Dúinín with the appending 'quay' to its title.


View up Dunmanus Bay from the head of the Dooneen Pier
Image: Michael Harpur


The origin of the extensive pier goes back to mining on the Sheep's Head peninsula in the early 1800s. At the time there was no road, which only finally came about because of a famine relief project, and the heavy ore could not be effectively transported by road at the time. So the Dooneen Pier opened up to provide access into the heart of the Sheep's Head peninsula which in 1845 was starting to boom. At this time mines were operating in Gurtavallig, Killeens North, Killeens South, near Bantry and a large mine at Rooska. These mines yielded silver, copper and zinc ore of very high quality. Roads were nevertheless required to transport the ore from the northside of the peninsula to Dooneen Pier. It is recorded that a new road, 10 miles long, was built in ten weeks by hand and was over the Goat's Path track over the mountains. The mines employed around 2,000 men, women and children. Women and girls helped with the washing of the ore and got 3d or 4d a day, boys got 6d, and men 1s to 1s 4d.


The shale beach at the head of the crevice inside of Illanunglass
Image: Michael Harpur


The boom was short-lived and a lean period descended in the 1870s. The uneconomic deep copper mines Irish mines would never recover from international competitors and over the following decades, one by one, they closed. The last mine on the Sheep's Head Penninsula closed in 1889 and all plant and machinery were auctioned off. Many skilled operatives were out of work, but a large number eventually emigrated and found employment in the copper mines at Butte, Montana in the United States. The pier continued to serve as a port for the export of pilchards and mackerel to Liverpool and the United States.


The substantial pier remains although its trade has long since departed
Image: Burke Corbett


Today there is very little here apart from the old steamer pier that serviced the mines and cured fish exports of the past. Its substantial nature and unusual turning bollard standing on a nearby rock to the south mark its past industrial use. Now Doolin Pier is more popular with swimmers and picnic makers. Divers regularly use it as they can enter the water from the steps and fin out to explore the headlands interesting rocky outcrops and ridges. Anglers still take advantage of plentiful supplies of mackerel that are available in the autumn.


Dooneen's turning bollard speaks to a time when steamers plied their trade here
Image: Burke Corbett


For those with older children aboard the area surrounding the pier could provide plenty in the way of safe exploration. Well protected from the prevailing winds, its craggy cliffs, coves, outcrops, inlets and high and low water caves, offer hours of dinghy or canoe exploration. One notable narrow cleft situated about 25 metres south of the pier runs back 50 metres into the cliff and is never narrower than a metre wide. In settled conditions, Dooneen provides a good landing point to set down a shore party to explore the outer end of the Sheep’s Head Way.


Dooneen Point's interesting rocky outcrops and ridges provides plenty to explore
Image: Michael Harpur


From a purely boating point of view, Dooneen offers a good lunch stop location, or in settled conditions, a night’s stop could be possible. It makes for a good landing site to set down a shore party to explore the outer end of the Sheep’s Head Way but it would not be a place where the vessel could be left for long periods unwatched.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this remote location. There is no slip at the pier. The nearest small village to the pier is Kilcrohane.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored off Dooneen Pier.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford.







Bad day out for the Atlantic drift at Dooneen Pier



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