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



NextPrevious

Castlehaven (Castletownshend)

Tides and tools
Overview





Castlehaven is a river inlet that is located on the southwest coast of Ireland, approximately midway between Glandore and Toe Head in Co. Cork. Almost two miles long, north to south, and set in a scenic location, the harbour offers a choice of two anchoring opportunities with the primary location alongside a small village.

Castlehaven provides good all-round protection except from very strong southerly winds. In these conditions, although appearing landlocked, the swell rolls against the western shore and is deflected towards the bend of the harbour with such force as to send swell up throughout the inlet. The harbour provides safe access at all states of the tide, night or day, although first-time visitors are best advised to enter during daylight hours.
Please note

In strong southerly conditions, Glandore, although open south, affords better shelter than Castlehaven. It is protected from the force of the sea by the islands and rocks in the entrance. Ground holding may prove a challenge in Castlehaven.




Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for Castlehaven (Castletownshend)
Facilities
Water available via tapWaste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPost Office in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterline


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier

Protected sectors

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

Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
May 8th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with safe access.

Facilities
Water available via tapWaste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaPost Office in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterline


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier



Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

51° 31.600' N, 009° 10.200' W

Midstream southeast of Castletownshend slip.

What is the initial fix?

The following Castlehaven initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 30.000' N, 009° 10.000' W
This waypoint is one nautical mile SSE and within the white sector of Reen Point’s small white framework tower’s sectored light. A course of 333° (T) will lead in to the entrance 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 Castlehaven (Castletownshend) for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Blind Harbour - 0.3 miles E
  2. Squince Harbour - 0.9 miles E
  3. Rabbit Island - 1.1 miles ENE
  4. Glandore - 1.6 miles NE
  5. Tralong Bay - 2.7 miles ENE
  6. Barloge Creek (Lough Hyne) - 3.1 miles WSW
  7. Mill Cove - 3.1 miles ENE
  8. Oldcourt - 3.5 miles W
  9. Rosscarbery Bay - 3.9 miles ENE
  10. Reena Dhuna - 4.6 miles W
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Blind Harbour - 0.3 miles E
  2. Squince Harbour - 0.9 miles E
  3. Rabbit Island - 1.1 miles ENE
  4. Glandore - 1.6 miles NE
  5. Tralong Bay - 2.7 miles ENE
  6. Barloge Creek (Lough Hyne) - 3.1 miles WSW
  7. Mill Cove - 3.1 miles ENE
  8. Oldcourt - 3.5 miles W
  9. Rosscarbery Bay - 3.9 miles ENE
  10. Reena Dhuna - 4.6 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



How to get in?


The river inlet of Castlehaven is located about three miles to the northeast of the Stag Rocks, and eight and a half miles west of Galley Head. The small village of Castletownsend stands about a mile within the entrance.



Western Approach Vessels approaching from the west may pass to the north or to the south of The Stags situated 0.7 miles south of Toe Head. This is a cluster of rugged precipitous pinnacle rocks that are marked by a south cardinal buoy moored 800 metres to the south.

The Stags – South Cardinal buoy Q (6)+L Fl.15s position: 51° 27.580'N, 009° 13.735'W

Vessels passing to the north can pass Stag Sound located between Toe Head and The Stags. The sound is 0.65 of a mile wide, with 37 metres of water, and it provides a safe passage. Alternatively, a vessel may pass to the south of The Stags, rounding south of The Stags south cardinal marker before turning to port and progressing in a north-east direction to Castlehaven.
Please note

Stag Sound is best avoided in strong conditions when it can be rough. Likewise, when progressing against an adverse tide, it is best avoided as the spring tidal rate attains 2kn in the sound.



Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east past Galley Head have little by way of obstruction save for Doolic Rock. This is located half a mile west of Galley Head, and awash at high water. The rock is steep-to on the north and east, but foul ground extends for 300 metres to the southwest of it. With good weather, leisure craft can use the channel between Doolic Rock and Galley Head.
Please note

Wind against tide situations develop heavy seas close to the head. Strong currents are experienced off Galley Head and Doolic Rock with the ebb tide setting on to the rock with great velocity. In these circumstances, it is advisable to stay offshore.



Vessels approaching from Glandore should go south of High Island for simplicity. For the adventurous there is the Big Sound channel between High and Low islands and the shore.



The danger with the Big Sound passage is Belly Rock. Awash at low water springs and drying to 0.4 meters, it lies 300 metres to the south of the rocks that extend from the west end of Rabbit Island. This places it very much in the track of vessels taking the Big Sound channel, which otherwise presents a clear passage. Keeping the north shoreline of Low Island in line with the ruined tower on Horse Island, about bearing 253°(T), keeps a vessel well south of Belly Rock on the lead in.

Belly Rock – unmarked, position: 51° 31.475'N, 009° 07.165'W



Convergance Point On closer approaches to Low Island, at the 20-metre contour, turn into the Big Sound passing about 200 metres or more north of Low Island. Continue then towards the ruined tower on Horse Island until well clear of the Seal Rocks that are the western outliers of this island cluster.



Initial fix location From the initial fix steer a course of 333° T toward the entrance. The Castlehaven inlet entrance will quickly open up to the northwest. This lies between Horse Island to port, with a conspicuous tower on the east side, and the remarkable high flat rock called Skiddy Island to starboard. It is about 800 metres wide and free from danger.
Please note

Castlehaven can be difficult to identify when approaching from the sea at first. The coastline here appears like a single rock face and the entrance is difficult to define. In southerly or south-westerly winds the sea can be turbulent outside the haven and some swell can be experienced immediately inside. As a vessel progresses upriver you can find good protection.



Proceed between Horse Island and Skiddy Island to pass to the south of Reen Point. Reen Point lies to the north of Skiddy Island at the east side of the entrance. During the day it is made conspicuous by the small white framework tower of its sectored light.

The point is skirted by rocky prongs and should be given a wide berth. A night entrance is assisted by Reen Point’s sectored light. This Fl WRG Los, 9m, W5M, R3M, G3M; green sector covers Skiddy Island, red sector covers Horse Island and Black Rock and the White sector leads in.

Reen Point - white tower Fl.W.R.G. 10s 9m 5.3M position: 51° 30.980´N, 009° 10.475´W

Continue northwest towards the inner entrance between Battery Point, on the western shore, and Reen Point. The inner entrance is 600 metres wide, free of dangers and has a least depth of 9.1 metres in the fairway. A good turn-point marker is when The Stag Rocks appears between Horse Island and the mainland, it is then safe to proceed up the harbour.

Whilst proceeding up the inlet a good mark is to keep the Stags in line over Flea Island, situated on the west side of the sound. This avoids the Colonel Rock that uncovers and lies 50 metres off the eastern shore, just within and about 400 metres north of Reen Point. Or, in the event of the marks not being seen, keep as near mid-channel as possible. Depths decreasing to 5.5 metres about a third of a mile further in.

Haven location Castlehaven offers two anchoring locations. The first is in the primary anchorage that is 300 metres south of the first castle encountered alongside the village. Anchor just outside the moorings in about 5 metres. Holding is not excellent here and it is recommended the anchor be well dug in and tested to be secure before going ashore. Land at the village slip.
Please note

Be aware that there is a heavy telephone cable across the harbour just north of Reen Pier. The cable is well signposted and runs from conspicuous slips situated on either side. Do not anchor in the vicinity of the path of this cable.





The second anchoring opportunity is further upriver north of Cat Island where the local fishermen go. This is around the corner in front of the second ruined fort. This area is, however, subject to a lot of weed, making it difficult to securely dig the anchor in.


Why visit here?
Castlehaven’s primary village is Castletownshend, in Irish Baile an Chaisleáin, Baile meaning homestead or towns land of the Caisleán castle. The town derives its unusual Castletownshend name from the small 17th-century castle that it developed around. It was originally constructed by Richard Townsend who fought for Cromwell in England and then Ireland. He was given the area where he settled as a landowner. The name came to be the conjunction of ‘Castle’ with the family name ‘Townsend’.

The picturesque old-world country village of today is largely made up of a single steep street. It is lined by large, graciously designed and substantial 18th century stone houses that must previously have been the reserve of the wealthy. The street leads down to the idyllic waterfront that is Castlehaven Harbour.
Very oddly, at about midway, the street is halted by two sycamore trees standing in the middle of the road. These force all vehicles up onto the pavement to circumvent them and continue along the roadway. The current trees were replacements for originals that had died and are a feature of this unusual street. At its foot is the harbour area, with its renovated warehouses, hotel, and Castle Townshend which overlook the inlet. Today the castle is home to descendants of the original Townshend family, and as from 2007 the castle was opened to the public and is now a bed and breakfast.

At the seaward end of the village, and overlooking the town, is the village’s beautiful little St. Barrahane's Church that is well worth a visit. It is noted for three small but beautiful stained glass windows. The east window and the window in the south wall of the chancel are the work of Harry Clarke who was one of Ireland's most famous stained glass artists. The church is the venue for Castletownshend’s annual Festival of Classical Music. Remarkable for a small quiet provincial village, the festival was first organised in 1980 and has continued each year since with an aim to promote classical music. The annual Festival falls within the sailing season, usually from mid-July to the end of August, and a timely visitor may have this as an added treat.

For those who remember the humorous 1980s TV series The Irish RM Castletownshend was the home of Edith Anna Somerville who was one of its co-authors. She wrote a series of novels on Irish Life in this area during the early 1900s. Her home, Drishane House, is open for public visits and hosts an exhibition of items related to her life and works.

From a boating perspective, Castlehaven is truly one of the most captivating places along this stretch of coast. Surrounded by stunning scenery, and having the enchanting little village of Castletownshend, plus very good protection, it is not a location that should be passed over by the coastal cruiser.


What facilities are available?
The village has a small grocery store that has a petrol pump and provides some postal facilities. There are a couple of restaurants, one that is particularly good, plus three pubs. Water is available from Reen pier and the recently renovated town slip. Castletownshend has a large slip and allows for launching and retrieving at any stage of the tide. Alongside access is possible at high water where it is possible to dry out and clean off. The slip can however get very busy during the summer months. Skibbereen, a larger provincial town 6km away, has several stores available for provisions.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel around the Castlehaven area.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Dave Brookes, Burke Corbett, Steve Edge, Garrett Coakley, Robert Wilcox, Murielle29, Mike Searle, idahotechnology and Michael Foley.


Expand to new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




































Damien Enright looks at the village of Castletownshend



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.