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



NextPrevious

North Harbour (Trawkieran)

Tides and tools
Overview





North Harbour (Trawkieran) is the principal harbour of Clear Island that is located eight miles off the West Cork coast and is Ireland's southernmost inhabited island. It offers deep draft vessels the option to come alongside a protected leisure pontoon set within the ferry port or anchor outside. Vessels that can dry out have the opportunity to berth inside its highly protected inner basin.

North Harbour provides good protection from everything except strong northerlies. Vessels that can dry out will find protection from these within the inner harbour. Access requires attentive eye-ball navigation plus moderate offshore conditions for the first time entrant. The key difficulty will be finding the unmarked entrance of the harbour which is situated within a recessed cove.
Please note

Vessels with a deep keel will find the harbour extremely space constrained at peak season and it is advisable to try and see if there is space available inside before an approach is made. A fender board, to protect topsides, is highly advisable for those planning to come alongside the rough harbour wall.




Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for North Harbour (Trawkieran)
Facilities
Water available via tapWaste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaInternet café in the area


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periods

Protected sectors

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

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 20th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Water available via tapWaste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaInternet café in the area


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periods



Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

51° 26.450' N, 009° 30.230' W

North Harbour pierhead.

What is the initial fix?

The following North Harbour initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 26.742' N, 009° 30.225' W
This is approximately 400 metres north by northeast of the harbour. A course of 196°T will lead into the entrance and towards the end of the outer breakwater.


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 North Harbour (Trawkieran) for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. South Harbour (Ineer) - 0.3 miles S
  2. White Strand - 1.7 miles NNE
  3. Kinish Harbour - 2.4 miles ENE
  4. Castle Island (South Side) - 2.5 miles N
  5. Long Island - 2.6 miles NNW
  6. Castle Island (North Side) - 2.7 miles N
  7. Horseshoe Harbour - 2.7 miles ENE
  8. Coney Island - 2.7 miles NNW
  9. Heir Island (east beach) - 2.8 miles NE
  10. Colla Harbour - 2.8 miles NNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. South Harbour (Ineer) - 0.3 miles S
  2. White Strand - 1.7 miles NNE
  3. Kinish Harbour - 2.4 miles ENE
  4. Castle Island (South Side) - 2.5 miles N
  5. Long Island - 2.6 miles NNW
  6. Castle Island (North Side) - 2.7 miles N
  7. Horseshoe Harbour - 2.7 miles ENE
  8. Coney Island - 2.7 miles NNW
  9. Heir Island (east beach) - 2.8 miles NE
  10. Colla Harbour - 2.8 miles NNW
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?
North Harbour (Trawkieran)
Image: Drone View


Cape Clear Island is readily identifiable from seaward; being the south-westernmost corner of Ireland and having Fastnet Rock located four miles to the southwest. The island is high and bold with the northerly mainland increasing in height in the backdrop. To the east of Clear Island, the shore retains its bold aspect but is less indented. The island is three miles long, in an east and west direction, and a mile wide, precipitous, and bold, especially on its southern side, where it rises abruptly from the sea to the height of 159 metres, but slopes more gradually to the north. Two wind motors will be seen on the summit of the island. The ruins of an old lighthouse, that was replaced by the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, will be seen about midway along the south side of the Island. Likewise the ruins of Dún an Óir Castle stand on the northwest side, about 0.8 of a mile north-northeast of the Bill of Cape Clear, the southwest extremity.



Cape Clear Island's south side is clear of outlying dangers but not so its northern shores that have key dangers to be avoided. Likewise finding the entrance to the narrow cove that is North Harbour (Trawkieran), which is set into the island's northern cliffs, can be a challenge from seaward.



Vessels approaching from the east, or Gascanane Sound details in routes, will find a foul area extending about half a mile offshore to the north of the island that extends towards Calf Island East. This is a group of islets and rocks that terminate at Bullig Reef.

Bullig Reef – drying section unmarked position: 51° 27.468' N, 009° 29.117' W

The old telegraph tower east of Baltimore Harbour in range with the white chapel at Sherkin, bearing 082° as best seen on Admiralty 2129, leads to the north of Bullig Reef. Keep well into 20 metres of water and do not turn towards the initial fix until the vessel has passed due south of the western end of Calf Island East. Once round Bullig Reef it is safe to lay off a course for the initial fix waypoint but keep about 400 metres off Cape Clear Island’s rock-strewn shoreline.



Vessels approaching from the west are less obstructed but should note Tonelunga Rock that is situated 200 metres offshore near the ruins of Dún an Óir Castle. Also, Illaunnagart Rock, that extends 150 metres to the northeast of the headland on the western entrance to the harbour, should be given a wide berth.



Initial fix location From the initial fix steer a course of 196°T that will lead into the entrance and towards the end of the outer breakwater, but eye-ball navigation and adjustment is required on the final approaches to the entrance and then on.




This lead passes close to the Minnaun Rock that is part of a rocky outcropping group located at the eastern side of the entrance where it is just 30 metres wide. Once this rock is passed, to port, the eastern side of the cove becomes the safer side.
Please note

If an outgoing vessel is seen during an approach it is best to abort until it is clear again as the entrance is narrow.




North Harbour's new visitor pontoon alongside the entrance on the left
Image: © Bill Cremin


Haven location Deep vessels carrying any draft can only come alongside the new visitor pontoon set against the outermost pier. The pontoon was set in place in 2018 when the Bulls Nose was rebuilt and storm gates were added. Details of depth are scarce but a fair expectation is from 2.5 - 3 metres. The harbour remains highly constrained so prepare to raft up, typically three yachts deep, where there will be a lot of comings and goings. In settled conditions, it is possible to go alongside the inner end of the northern breakwater. All of these locations are busy with vessels coming and going.
Please note

On approach it is possible to see the number of vessels already berthed alongside the inner pier. If there are three or more masts already alongside, there will be no space for another vessel that carries any draft, so anchor off or come back later.



By contrast, vessels that can dry will have no trouble finding a berth in the very small, partly-drying, inner harbour. Access is available at mid-tide and the best location is to lie against the northwest side of the central pier. Vessels that can take to the ground will find the inner harbour’s gently sloping bottom an ideal location to dry. Boats that can utilise the inner harbour are better set up for longer stays.
Please note

Good astern steerage will be required to negotiate the very small space within the inner harbour and there is no room to swing.



It is also possible to anchor just below the slip and quay on the eastern shore. However, as the harbour is constrained it will be necessary to anchor both bow and stern to keep the yacht out of the path of the ferries.


Why visit here?
Cape Clear Island, that is known as Cléire and sometimes also referred to in Irish as Oileán Chléire' is Ireland's most southerly populated island. The harbour’s Irish name Trawkieran, or more appropriately Trá Chiaráin, means the beach of Saint Ciarán, or Kiaran, who was born on Cape Clear and is the island’s patron saint.

Saint Ciarán allegedly the earliest of Ireland’s four pre-Patrician saints, was born on Cape Clear. Saint Ciarán's well is one of the first features encountered on arrival at Trá Chiaráin, where the Islanders gather each year on the 5th of March to celebrate his feast day. But human inhabitation of Cape Clear Island reaches back to much earlier times than this as is witnessed by the megalithic standing stone and a 5000-year-old passage grave. The twelfth century St Ciarán's Church ruin and the fourteenth century Dún an Óir O'Driscoll castle (see Baltimore entry) that was cannonaded in the early 1600s, are there to be explored from the harbour area, and their associated history is available in the island museum. St Ciaran's Church overlooks the harbour and Dún an Óir is a short stroll to the west.

It's a very steep climb out of the harbour across the island isthmus, but the Atlantic view from the top is breath-taking. Those who are happy to hike out should visit the disused ruin of the original Cape Clear lighthouse that stands 33 metres high and can be found near the centre of the southeastern side of the island. This operated from 1810 until 1854 when it was replaced by the clearly visible Fastnet Rock lighthouse located to the southwest of the island; as discussed in the South Harbour entry.

Cape Clear hosts a small permanent population of about 140 people that make a living from tourism, the sea and farming. Today it forms part of the Gaeltacht where the first language is Irish and it is one of the few places in Ireland where it is still in daily use. As such, many students come here in the summer to perfect their Irish. People who do not speak Irish will, however, have no trouble communicating with the very friendly locals. The island itself is small, three miles long and one and a half miles wide, rugged and divided into east and west halves by an isthmus. It offers spectacular views over Long Island Bay to the Mizen Peninsula, to the northwest and the mainland’s most southerly point, back to Sherkin Island, Baltimore and out to the Fastnet Rock.

The island itself can only be described as a natural paradise with feral scenery, sparkling harbours, cliffs and bogs and a lake which can all be discovered on foot. Heather, gorse, sea pinks, honeysuckle and a variety of other wildflowers cover the rugged hills carved up by a patchwork of stonewalls. The remote island location, coupled with its proximity to the continental shelf, provides a unique habitat for wildlife. Situated on important daily and annual migration routes it is a center for bird watching, and has an important bird observatory. The surrounding seas abound with seals, basking sharks, dolphins, leatherback turtles, sunfish and even whales, and the sky above is full of Black and Common Guillemots, Cormorants and Storm Petrels, but unfortunately the best months for bird watching fall just outside the sailing season being April and October. Late season sailors may take advantage of the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival. This occurs every first weekend of September since 1994. The unique festival features professional international storytellers from all over the world. All of these contribute to Cape Clear’s unspoiled charm that makes it a very important visit for the cruising yachtsman.

Removed from the hustle and bustle of mainland life, Cape Clear offers relaxation, nature and peace, and North Harbour is its ferry port and normal entry point for most visitors. Built into a narrow cove in the northern cliffs of the island the haven makes for a particularly beautiful harbour.

Of the two anchorages the island offers, North Harbour is the most active in summer. The ferries regularly come and go from the harbour and their passengers tend to amble around the quays as they await or disembark the ferries, or visit the restaurants, shops, and pubs. In addition to the ferry traffic, a wide variety of vessels tend to drop in and out of the harbour as it is very much a favourite lunch stop for many boatmen.


What facilities are available?
A good selection of stores, plus petrol and diesel are available at the local co-operative on the west side of the harbour. Water taps can be found on the north side of this harbour, by the small ice plant, and on the outer pier.There is a bottle bank and facilities for rubbish disposal in the harbour area, but the use of these is discouraged as it is difficult to deal with them on offshore islands. A reasonably well-stocked shop in the harbour provides fresh milk and bread after the first ferry has replenished its stocks in the morning. There are pubs and cafes plus a good selection of dining opportunities, including a summer 'Chip Van', in North Harbour.

Two ferry services operate out of North Harbour, one to Baltimore and the other to Schull or Crookhaven.


Any security concerns?
Never a security issue known to have occurred on Clear Island.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography Jason Town, his stunning opening image is available for purchase online, Becky Drew (Williamson), Patrick and Martha Dundon, Mark Murray, Chupacabras, Peter O’Gorman, Julien E, Dr Bryan Lynch, plWikipedystaA, and regienbb. More of Becky Drew (Williamson)’s wonderful photography are available to purchase online.


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.













































Aerial Overview



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.