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Rabbit Island Sound

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Overview





Rabbit Island Sound is small channel on the southwest coast of Ireland, just outside the western entrance to Glandore Harbour and enclosed to the south by Rabbit Island. It offers a secluded natural anchorage with shelter from swell and wind.

Rabbit Island Sound is small channel on the southwest coast of Ireland, just outside the western entrance to Glandore Harbour and enclosed to the south by Rabbit Island. It offers a secluded natural anchorage with shelter from swell and wind.

There is reasonable shelter from the prevailing southwesterly wind, and the nearby High and Low islands, to the south of the entrance, dampen the swell entering the anchorage. Access is straightforward from the eastward at any stage of the tide but in daylight only.
Please note

Use a trip line as there might be some fishing gear in the bay.




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Keyfacts for Rabbit Island Sound
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location

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 21st 2021

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 31.955' N, 009° 7.361' W

North of the highest part of Rabbit Island

What is the initial fix?

The following South of Adam's Island will set up a final approach:
51° 32.176' N, 009° 6.002' W
This is about a ⅓ of a mile south of Adam's Island in the entrance to Glandore Harbour.


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. The Glandore Click to view haven entry provides local approach directions as Rabbit Island Sound lies just off its entrance.


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 Rabbit Island Sound for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Squince Harbour - 0.2 miles WSW
  2. Blind Harbour - 0.8 miles WSW
  3. Glandore - 1.1 miles N
  4. Castlehaven (Castletownshend) - 1.1 miles WSW
  5. Tralong Bay - 1.6 miles ENE
  6. Mill Cove - 2 miles ENE
  7. Rosscarbery Inlet - 2.8 miles ENE
  8. Barloge Creek (Lough Hyne) - 4.2 miles WSW
  9. Dirk Bay - 4.2 miles E
  10. Oldcourt - 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. Squince Harbour - 0.2 miles WSW
  2. Blind Harbour - 0.8 miles WSW
  3. Glandore - 1.1 miles N
  4. Castlehaven (Castletownshend) - 1.1 miles WSW
  5. Tralong Bay - 1.6 miles ENE
  6. Mill Cove - 2 miles ENE
  7. Rosscarbery Inlet - 2.8 miles ENE
  8. Barloge Creek (Lough Hyne) - 4.2 miles WSW
  9. Dirk Bay - 4.2 miles E
  10. Oldcourt - 4.6 miles W
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?
Rabbit Island anchorage
Image: Michael Harpur


Rabbit Island lies ¾ of a mile northward of High island, forms the east shore of the small cove of Squince. The sound is nestled between the mainland cliffs extending westward from Sheela Point, to the north, and Rabbit Island to the south. It is very much out of the way but has a narrow backroad leading down to the shore near the landing beach.

Nestled in behind the island the rural bay offers good protection from southerly and northerly winds and reasonable protection from westerly winds. The shelter is also good from southerly, northerly and westerly swell.


How to get in?
Rabbit Island lies immediately west of the entrance to Glandore
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location for seaward approaches. The Glandore Click to view havenentry provides local approach directions as Rabbit Island Sound lies just off its entrance.

The bay has straightforward access from the east/northeast, without any mark but without hidden hazard although night access might not be advisable. Vessels approaching from the west need to be wary of Belly Rock. Awash at low water springs, the 0.4 meters Belly Rock, lies 270 metres to the south of the rocks that extend from the west end of Rabbit Island.

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

This places it very much in the track of vessels taking the Big Sound channel between High Island and the shore, which otherwise presents a clear passage, from 14.5 to 22 metres deep.


Rabbit Island Sound
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor according to draft. The small Sound offers good holding in what is thought to be sand/gravel. Be careful not to go too deep into the anchorage as a north-south sandbar connects the northwest part of Rabbit Island with the mainland.



The shallows separating Rabbit Island Sound and Squince Harbour as seen from the
latter

Image: Burke Corbett



Watch the depth sounder and those intending to cross in and out of Squince Harbour should only do so if they have a very shallow draft or a high tide.


Why visit here?
It is uncertain how Rabbit Island got its name. One of five Rabbit Islands nationally, with the others in Bantry Bay, Cork Harbour, Galway Bay and Lough Corrib, it must surely relate to the natural protected environment that it provided for rabbits to thrive.


Rabbit Island Sound as seen from the shore
Image: Michael Harpur


Its Irish name Oileán Bhríde, is however not a direct translation but rather 'Brigid's Island'. This refers to St Brigid the patron saint of the local district of Myross. It is said that in the 5th-Century St Brigid visited the Uí Laogh tribe on the island, and it was after this that the island took on the name Oileán Bhríde. The island's well named after her it was believed to thereafter have curative properties. The local country people had a pilgrimage each year to congregate around it on the eve of the patron saint's day to offer up devotions. However, in Victorian times, a boat capsized whilst returning late one evening from the devotions. Sadly one of the pilgrims was drowned. After that, the well became neglected, fell in upon itself, and another well on the mainland, in a little sequestered nook near Squince Coastguard station, became the chosen point of devotion.


Rabbit Island's old stone walls of long since departed inhabitants still visible
Image: Michael Harpur


Uninhabited now, the island was continually inhabited up until a fire in 1931 destroyed the house on the island the remains of which can be seen on the northern shore. The island almost played a part in the Civil War in 1920. This was after the burning of Cork, and a site was required to land weapons for Cork to take up the struggle. Arms had been sourced from Italy and a ship, the cargo vessel Stella Maris, was ready to sail with the first run of weapons. It was just a matter of getting a captain to sail her to Ireland and the arrangement of a land point the weapons.


The ruins of the old dwelling house above the landing beach
Image: Michael Harpur


The sequestered Rabbit Island sound had the advantage of being screened from the sea by Rabbit Island and sufficient depth of water in the channel for the coaster. At the time it was inhabited then by an O’Driscoll family who were friendly to the cause and Curly Driscoll agreed to use his intimate knowledge to pilot the ship into Rabbit Island Sound and anchor close to the shore. As there was no pier four rowing boats were arranged to land the arms on the beach and the West Cork IRA made roughly 100 dumps ready to spread the cache. So the arrangements for the landing were all in place by February 1921.


The Sound almost was the point where 6,000 guns were landed
Image: Michael Harpur



Mick Leahy left for Genoa in June but arriving in Rome was made aware that the plans had gone awry. The Italians had sold the information to the British and with the British navy aware the boat would never get through. As such the landing had to be called off and a second plan was made to land arms from Germany the following year. But by that time, eight months later, when the IRA were at their weakest point, both sides had sat down to the negotiating table. Could the planned 6,000 rifles and ammo, have tipped the balance of the negotiations, we will never know.


Rabbit Island East, essentially a separate pair of giant stacks
Image: Michael Harpur


Today the attractive island is well worth a visit and taking the time to enjoy a lengthy stroll around. The island was formerly inhabited and is privately owned today, so visitors rely on the good graces of the owners who prefer to retain their exclusive use of its south-facing beach. This aside, they allow well-behaved visitors to use the rest of the island.


The landing beach at the waist of Rabbit Island
Image: Michael Harpur


The best landing place is halfway along the north coast, on a sheltered pebble beach under the ruins of the house. The island has an abundance of birdlife burrows, and Linnet with chough and peregrine falcon being two of its more colourful occupants. The island has wild horses and otters have been seen on its western side and at the Stack of Beans at the east end.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities in this remote bay.


With thanks to:
Frédéric & Sophie







Aerial views of Rabbit Island


About Rabbit Island Sound

It is uncertain how Rabbit Island got its name. One of five Rabbit Islands nationally, with the others in Bantry Bay, Cork Harbour, Galway Bay and Lough Corrib, it must surely relate to the natural protected environment that it provided for rabbits to thrive.


Rabbit Island Sound as seen from the shore
Image: Michael Harpur


Its Irish name Oileán Bhríde, is however not a direct translation but rather 'Brigid's Island'. This refers to St Brigid the patron saint of the local district of Myross. It is said that in the 5th-Century St Brigid visited the Uí Laogh tribe on the island, and it was after this that the island took on the name Oileán Bhríde. The island's well named after her it was believed to thereafter have curative properties. The local country people had a pilgrimage each year to congregate around it on the eve of the patron saint's day to offer up devotions. However, in Victorian times, a boat capsized whilst returning late one evening from the devotions. Sadly one of the pilgrims was drowned. After that, the well became neglected, fell in upon itself, and another well on the mainland, in a little sequestered nook near Squince Coastguard station, became the chosen point of devotion.


Rabbit Island's old stone walls of long since departed inhabitants still visible
Image: Michael Harpur


Uninhabited now, the island was continually inhabited up until a fire in 1931 destroyed the house on the island the remains of which can be seen on the northern shore. The island almost played a part in the Civil War in 1920. This was after the burning of Cork, and a site was required to land weapons for Cork to take up the struggle. Arms had been sourced from Italy and a ship, the cargo vessel Stella Maris, was ready to sail with the first run of weapons. It was just a matter of getting a captain to sail her to Ireland and the arrangement of a land point the weapons.


The ruins of the old dwelling house above the landing beach
Image: Michael Harpur


The sequestered Rabbit Island sound had the advantage of being screened from the sea by Rabbit Island and sufficient depth of water in the channel for the coaster. At the time it was inhabited then by an O’Driscoll family who were friendly to the cause and Curly Driscoll agreed to use his intimate knowledge to pilot the ship into Rabbit Island Sound and anchor close to the shore. As there was no pier four rowing boats were arranged to land the arms on the beach and the West Cork IRA made roughly 100 dumps ready to spread the cache. So the arrangements for the landing were all in place by February 1921.


The Sound almost was the point where 6,000 guns were landed
Image: Michael Harpur



Mick Leahy left for Genoa in June but arriving in Rome was made aware that the plans had gone awry. The Italians had sold the information to the British and with the British navy aware the boat would never get through. As such the landing had to be called off and a second plan was made to land arms from Germany the following year. But by that time, eight months later, when the IRA were at their weakest point, both sides had sat down to the negotiating table. Could the planned 6,000 rifles and ammo, have tipped the balance of the negotiations, we will never know.


Rabbit Island East, essentially a separate pair of giant stacks
Image: Michael Harpur


Today the attractive island is well worth a visit and taking the time to enjoy a lengthy stroll around. The island was formerly inhabited and is privately owned today, so visitors rely on the good graces of the owners who prefer to retain their exclusive use of its south-facing beach. This aside, they allow well-behaved visitors to use the rest of the island.


The landing beach at the waist of Rabbit Island
Image: Michael Harpur


The best landing place is halfway along the north coast, on a sheltered pebble beach under the ruins of the house. The island has an abundance of birdlife burrows, and Linnet with chough and peregrine falcon being two of its more colourful occupants. The island has wild horses and otters have been seen on its western side and at the Stack of Beans at the east end.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Squince Harbour - 0.2 miles WSW
Blind Harbour - 0.8 miles WSW
Castlehaven (Castletownshend) - 1.1 miles WSW
Barloge Creek (Lough Hyne) - 4.2 miles WSW
Baltimore - 6.1 miles WSW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Glandore - 1.1 miles N
Tralong Bay - 1.6 miles ENE
Mill Cove - 2 miles ENE
Rosscarbery Inlet - 2.8 miles ENE
Dirk Bay - 4.2 miles E

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Rabbit Island Sound.


























Aerial views of Rabbit Island



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