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Rosslare Europort (Rosslare Harbour)

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Rosslare Europort, more commonly known as Rosslare Harbour, is situated five miles north of Carnsore Point which is Ireland’s southeasternmost corner. One of Ireland’s busiest ferry ports it has no specific facilitates for leisure craft. However, leisure vessels are accommodated if space permits and a berth can usually be found here.

A good harbour in most conditions, the harbour is entirely exposed to the northeast right around to the northwest through a big seaway is somewhat broken by the off-lying banks. However, port activities and the busy ferry traffic make this an uneasy berth. Access is straightforward, night or day and at any stage of the tide, through its well-marked commercial channels.
Please note

Commercial traffic is prioritised and vessels should be prepared to move at all times should the wall be required for a large vessel. This could result in vessels being jostled around whilst port authorities try to find a new berth around other boats. Hence it should be used as a place to duck into for a short term.

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Keyfacts for Rosslare Europort (Rosslare Harbour)
Water hosepipe available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaCar hire available in the area

Berth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large city

None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
6 metres (19.69 feet).

4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.

Last modified
July 18th 2018


A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Water hosepipe available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaCar hire available in the area

Berth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large city

None listed

 +353 53 91 33249      Ch.12
Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 15.300' N, 006° 20.200' W

At the centre of the harbour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Rosslare Europort initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 14.751' N, 006° 15.626' W
This waypoint is 200 metres south of the North Long VQ(6)+L Fl.10s that marks the entrance to the South Sheer that is the principal approach channel to Rosslare Europort. It leads for three miles in a north-westward direction between the dangers off Greenore Point and Holden's Bed situated about 1.5 miles east.

What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in eastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the southwest are available in soutwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour 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 Rosslare Europort (Rosslare Harbour) for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Rosslare Bay (or South Bay) - 0.3 miles W
  2. Ballytrent - 1.5 miles S
  3. Carne - 2 miles S
  4. Wexford Harbour - 4.2 miles NW
  5. Kilmore Quay - 6.5 miles WSW
  6. Little Saltee (landing beach) - 7.1 miles SW
  7. Little Saltee (east side) - 7.1 miles SW
  8. Little Saltee (west side) - 7.3 miles SW
  9. Great Saltee (landing beach) - 8 miles SW
  10. Gilert Bay - 8.2 miles SW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Rosslare Bay (or South Bay) - 0.3 miles W
  2. Ballytrent - 1.5 miles S
  3. Carne - 2 miles S
  4. Wexford Harbour - 4.2 miles NW
  5. Kilmore Quay - 6.5 miles WSW
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How to get in?
Rosslare Europort
Image: JP Rothery

Rosslare Europort is situated on the southeast corner of county Wexford about six miles north of Carnsore Point on the south shore of Rosslare Bay. It is an artificial harbour with a northwest facing entrance that is protected from the east by a substantial breakwater with a pierhead light standing on its seaward end.

The Irish terminus for UK vehicle and passenger ferries from Fishguard and Pembroke, plus the continental ferries from Le Havre, Cherbourg and Roscoff, make it a very busy port with constant and sometimes fast moving commercial ship movements. The focus is singularly on commercial shipping and it has no specific facilities for leisure craft. Being a major port it is also subject to the ‘International Ship and Port Facility Code’ which may restrict or prohibit access to the harbour area. That said, the Harbour Master will wherever possible try to accommodate a yacht on Fisherman’s Quay on the harbours southwest side so that all leisure visitors manage their way through the restrictions of the harbour area. It is essential that Rosslare Harbour is contacted well in advance on channel 12 to make berthing arrangements.

The extensive shoal that contains Holden’s Bed and the Long Bank prevent vessels approaching the harbour directly from the Irish Sea. It is instead entered around these shoals by the South Shear Channel or North Shear Channel. The principal approach is via the South Shear Channel that passes south of the Holden’s Bed and the Long Bank. The North Shear Channel passes north of these and then to the west, between the banks and the mainland.

Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south should plan for very strong currents off Carnsore Point, the southeast extremity of Ireland. Once around Carnsore Point lay off a course to pass immediately east of the Fundale port hand marker Buoy.

Fundale - Red Can Buoy Fl (2) R 10s position: 51° 10.655’N, 006° 20.299’W

The buoy marks Fundale Rock that is situated 600 metres west-northwest of Carnsore Point. It uncovers at half-tide and dries to 1.2 metres. From Fundale then steer a direct path to pass immediately east of the Splaugh marker just over 4 miles at 030° T along the coast.

Splaugh - Red Can Buoy Fl(2) R 6s Sync position: 52° 14.432' N, 006° 16.774' W

This path takes a vessel along the inshore edge of The Bailies, and close outside, to the east, Collough, Whilkeen and Splaugh rocks, where deeper waters are to be found between the shoal and the Wexford shoreline.

Entirely avoid the area after the Splaugh marker Greenore Point, and the surrounding area to the southeast of Rosslare Harbour, as it is foul and subject to very strong currents that could lead to difficulties. It is therefore recommended that the passage around Greenore Point should be taken by passing out through and between the Splaugh Port hand marker and the South Long and then joining the South Shear Channel.

Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east should pass at least a mile and a half to the north of Tuskar Rock. From there a west by northwest course leads to the fairway through South Shear Channel as set up by the initial fix. With the exception of Tuskar Rock, marked by a lighthouse, there are no outlying obstructions to the eastern approach.

Northern Approach Vessels approaching from the north should approach through the North Shear Channel. This is situated in the southern end of the waterways between the mainland and the sandbanks that are parallel to the Irish coast from Dublin southwards.

The North Shear Channel is accessed from further by passing through the Rusk Channel, off Cahore Point, and continuing south passing west of the Blackwater Bank.

Alternatively, opposite Wexford North Bay immediately north of Raven Point, it can be cut into between the north end of Lucifer Bank, marked by the North Long, and the south end of the Blackwater Bank, marked by the South Blackwater.

North Long - North Cardinal Q position: 52° 21.432’N, 006° 16.967’W

South Blackwater - South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 52° 22.757'N, 006° 12.866'W

This channel continues between Wexford Harbour’s Raven Point and the north and then west side of the Long Bank. The Long Bank extends along the front of both Rosslare Bay and Wexford Harbour with its inner or western extremity marked by the West Long starboard buoy.

West Long – Green Can Buoy Q G position: 52° 18.174’N, 006° 17.963’W

A course is then steered for the light structure on the head of Rosslare Harbour’s breakwater, on a bearing of 195° T, leading through North Shear Channel to the harbour. The North Shear Channel has plenty of water all the way with depths in excess of 11 metres to within 1.8 miles of the breakwater.

Initial fix location From the initial fix, close to The South Long’ buoy that marks the entrance into the South Shear Channel, the main shipping channel buoys and sectored leading lights may be followed into the port. By night the line of bearing 284.5° T of the light at the head of the breakwater and its white sector 283°-286° leads through the entrance of the channel. The channel has a controlling depth of 6.7 metres at the entrance decreasing to 3.9 to 4.5 metres off the head of the breakwater.
Please note

Allowances for tidal streams should be made in the approaches to South Shear Channel as they set across the channel entrance. Once in the channel, the currents set in about the directions of the channel.

The channel is used by large commercial traffic and fast ferries operating at up to 35 knots. It is essential that a watch is maintained for large and fast moving commercial shipping in the South Shear Channel.

Do not under any circumstance impede shipping movements as vessels will be restrained by draft in the channels and have limited capability to alter course. It is recommended that Rosslare Harbour is contacted on channel 12 so they are aware and can provide advice on the planned channel transit. Throughout the approach, a continuous listening watch should be maintained on VHF channel 12.
Please note

Due to the frequency of ship movements in the channel it is courteous to stay out of the actual channel and run parallel to it to avoid the commercial operations. The south side of the channel has more rocks and stronger currents; most notably the Carrack Rocks southeast of the harbour. The north side, by contrast, has no obstructions, lighter currents and has plenty of deep water. This is the best approach for leisure craft to take.

On the approach, Rosslare Bay’s broad arc of shoreline will be seen to be moderately high clay cliffs out to about two miles northwest of Rosslare Europort. It then gradually descends down to a strip of low sandhills that make up the east side of Wexford Harbour. The harbours substantial breakwater with its 5-metre high red steel tower standing on its seaward end will be conspicuous. On the cliff above the harbour, a large flat-roofed hotel building will be seen plus a water tower standing about half a mile southeast of the harbour.

Having approached Rosslare Europort either through South Shear or through North Shear, the head of the breakwater should be rounded at a good distance. The tides around Rosslare Harbour can be very strong and are at their strongest at LWS where they may attain speeds of 4 knots.
Please note

Due to local conditions, the tide sets south for approximately nine hours and turns north for only three. The strongest run is directly off the pier head itself where the southward setting tide will serve to push an approaching vessel out to seaward. As noted above electing to approach along the north side of the South Shear Channel brings a vessel in well to the north of the pierhead thus avoiding the worst of what could most likely be an adverse pierhead current.

Haven location Once around the pierhead continue past the middle New Ferry Pier to Fisherman’s Quay, the inner or westernmost quay, where leisure craft are typically accommodated and where the least depth in the harbour area is 5 metres. Berth as directed by the Harbour Master and be prepared to move at short notice to accommodate commercial shipping. There are no anchor berths within the harbour area and no anchoring is permitted on the line of Rosslare Harbour breakwater out to a distance of half a mile to the northwest as it interferes with commercial traffic.

Why visit here?
Rosslare derives its name from Irish Ros Láir meaning "the middle peninsula". Although the harbour itself is located close to the previously existing settlement of Ballygeary, it was named after the village of Rosslare, some 3 nm along the coast. Now Rosslare Europort, in Irish Calafort Ros Láir, it is a modern seaport and the surrounding town grew up to serve the needs of the harbour.

The first port was constructed in 1882, in what was formerly called Rosslare Harbour, and further extended in 1902 by the Great Western Railway and the Great Southern and Western Railway to accommodate steam ferry traffic between Great Britain and Ireland. Rosslare Harbour railway station opened on 30 August 1906. The harbour was further remodelled in 1962 to cater for motor car traffic. Prior to this the method of unloading was the archaic cargo lifting approach of the time. Transported cars were lifted off by a crane onto a flat truck where it was then taken off on a ramp at Ballygeary. Development work continued to the late 1990s when the northwest part of the port was constructed largely on reclaimed land. This extension and modernisation of facilities is an ongoing process to encourage the increase in cars and trucks carried on the ferries where, despite a drop in foot passengers, the port has been highly successful.

Today the busy RoRo cargo port is the second most strategically important seaport in the State after Dublin. Its passenger throughput is approaching a million annually and it is the second-busiest port in terms of ship visits and gross tonnage, and it also handles more unitised freight than any other Irish seaport except Dublin. Passenger ferries operate to and from Fishguard (via Stena Line) and Pembroke Dock (via Irish Ferries) in Wales, and to Cherbourg, Roscoff and St. Nazaire in France.

Through all this development the harbour has retained its rail heritage. The port to this day is still operated by Iarnród Éireann, Ireland's national railway operator. Iarnród Éireann operates a train service from the heart of the port, located a few minute’s walk from the pier and Terminal Building, that travels north through all the stations along the east coast to Dublin Connolly railway station.

From a boating point of view, the port is accommodating but is in no way equipped to receive leisure vessels. Moreover, the level of port activity makes it anything but a restful leisure vessel destination. It does make for an ideal location to drop in to await a tide or change of wind whilst on transit and is a good sanctuary in a southwest gale with port and small-town facilities easily at hand. Likewise, the excellent supermarket at the top of the hill, plus the pubs and restaurants make it a very good provisioning point or stop-by location. The excellent national and international transport connections make it an ideal point to collect or set down crew.

What facilities are available?
Rosslare Harbour is a small town with all normal facilities, supermarket, bank, post office and petrol station, which are all within fifteen minutes walk from the Fisherman’s Quay, albeit up a hill. You can catch a train from the Harbour direct to Dublin, or Ferries to UK or France and there are car hire and additional services available in the port area.

The port is an ISPS (International Ship Port Facility Code) compliant and this may require arrangement with the port authority.

Any security concerns?
The port is an ISPS (International Ship Port Facility Code) compliant and the area where the vessel will be alongside will be closed off to the public.

With thanks to:
Phil Murphy, Kilmore Quay Harbour Master.

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