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Mill Cove

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Mill Cove is located on Ireland’s southwest coast within the highly protected area of water that lies behind Bear Island and the mainland. Situated on the mainland shoreline it offers a peaceful anchorage in an out of the way location.

The cove offers protection from northerly component winds but none from Bearhaven’s waters to the south. Although there are several dangers on approach, daylight access is straightforward as all dangers are well marked and within the protected Bearhaven waters.
Please note

There is a large marine farm immediately outside the entrance to Mill Cove.

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Keyfacts for Mill Cove
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landing

None listed

Protected sectors

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

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

Last modified
July 19th 2018


A good location with straightforward access.

Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landing

None listed

Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 39.254' N, 009° 51.945' W

In the centre of the entrance to the cove in about 3 metres of water.

What is the initial fix?

The following Mill Cove initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 38.958' N, 009° 51.534' W
This is set in the middle of Bearhaven channel clear of the fish farm to port and the wreck situated to the east.

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. Use the directions provided for Castletownbere Click to view haven, also known as Castletown Bearhaven, for approaches to Bearhaven.

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 Mill Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 1 miles WSW
  2. Lawrence Cove - 1.2 miles SE
  3. Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 1.5 miles WSW
  4. Lonehort Harbour - 1.7 miles ESE
  5. Ballycrovane Harbour - 3 miles NW
  6. Adrigole - 3.6 miles ENE
  7. Ardgroom Harbour - 3.7 miles N
  8. Ballynatra - 4.3 miles SE
  9. Kilmakilloge Harbour - 4.4 miles N
  10. Dooneen Pier - 4.6 miles SE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Adrigole - 3.6 miles ENE
  2. Ardgroom Harbour - 3.7 miles N
  3. Ballynatra - 4.3 miles SE
  4. Kilmakilloge Harbour - 4.4 miles N
  5. Dooneen Pier - 4.6 miles SE
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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?

Mill Cove, is situated within Bearhaven on the north of the mainland side of the enclosed body of water. It is situated about half a mile north by northeast of Hornet Rock buoy.

Convergance Point Use the directions provided for Castletownbere Click to view haven, also known as Castletown Bearhaven, for approaches to Bearhaven.

Initial fix location From the approach waypoint identify the position of the marine farm situated outside the entrance to Mill Cove and pass well clear to the east of its outer limits.
Please note

The outer marine farm’s orange marker buoys have long trailing lines up to 200 metres long. They should be given a wide berth as they could easily foul the propeller of a vessel exiting from the west.

The entrance to the bight that is Mill Cove is situated between Corrigagannive Point, on the west and Sea Point on the eastern side. The small 1.5 metres high Illaunboudane Islet lies outside this on the eastern side situated about 80 metres to the southwest of Sea Point.

The western Corrigagannive Point is foul out to 100 metres to the east with rocks that dry to 1.2 and 2.4 metres, located about 50 metres to the west and south. It also has a dangerous outlier, situated 200 metres to the southwest, that dries to 0.9 metres.

The eastern Illaunboudane Islet is foul out to 50 metres all around, and it also has an uncharted and drying rock about 60 metres to the southwest. This is situated about in line with the lie of the old stone pier's inner wall. Keeping the inner face open, places a boat north of this outlier. At low water, these rocks all show but at high water it is best to select a west of middle approach into Mill Cove to avoid this rock to the south of Illaunboudane.

Haven location Anchor immediately inside the entrance according to draft. 2 metres will be found just inside a line connecting the east and west points in clear water over excellent mud holding. The inner half of the cove shallows quickly and is boulder strewn. The northern part of the harbour dries out so it is not advised to sound in beyond the entrance.

Best landings are to be had on the beach at the eastern side of the quay immediately behind Sea Point. The quay outside the cove is owned by the Defence Department and has restricted access so no landings are permitted there.

Why visit here?
Mill Cove is a nice sun trap anchorage tucked in underneath the coastal plateau and mountains of the Beara Peninsula.

It is very much out of the way yet Castletownbere is just a half an hour’s walk, and it also provides easy access to the Lawrence Cove Ferry that offers the opportunity to explore Bear Island or to get a bus service to Cork city.

For those interested in the possibility of a round of golf, the Bearhaven Golf Club's nine-hole course crosses over the stream that enters the cove at its head. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State, Bearhaven was one of three deep water Treaty Ports held from 1922 to 1938.

The golf course had been part of the Royal Naval base and was originally constructed to provide diversion for the sailors of the Royal Navy. The tennis court used to be where huge oil tanks stood. Sentry boxes still stand at the entrance to the golf course and one also overlooks the jetty close to the course’s 8th hole. The pier at Mill Cove, now owned by the Irish Defence Department, was the mainland terminal that was once used for transporting stores and munitions to the then naval fortress of Bere Island. It was compatible with the primary harbour in Lawrence Cove where a tramway on the old quay was used to move the cargo to the island bases.

Half a mile to the southwest of the cove is the wreck of the Bardini Reefer, which sank in very shallow water in the lee of Bere Island, which is inviting to shipwreck divers.

It is now a pale shadow of what it looked like in 1956 when it was built, and named the Monte Arucas after a mountain in the Canary Islands. It was subsequently renamed the Nissos Kerkyra and later the Atlantic Reefer before finally she passed to the Bardini Shipping Corporation when she became known as the Bardini Reefer. Working as an eastern bloc fish-factory ship in 1982 her gross tonnage was registered as 3,976 which suggests that the superstructure was extended. As she was preparing to depart for dry dock the ship caught fire on the 15th of December and was gutted by an explosion that ripped through her in the early hours of the following morning. The blaze continued for two days until December 18th, after been holed by the explosion, it finally sank. All 12 aboard had been safely rescued on the night of the 15th.

From a sailing point of view Mill Cove is ideally suited to those who like a quiet repose and solitude.

What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this location, except for the landing beach which is adjacent to the golf clubhouse P: +353 27 71957. A car ferry crosses from Pontoon Pier in Beal Lough to Lawrence’s Cove where buses are available to Cork City. Castletown & Bearhaven is a thirty minute walk.

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

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

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