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Bray Harbour

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Overview





Bray Harbour is situated on the east coast of Ireland about ten miles south of Dublin Bay and a mile and a half north of Bray Head. It is a busy urban centre fronted by a drying small boat harbour where vessels may come alongside at high water, take to the hard against the wall, or anchor off outside.

Bray affords a tolerable anchorage but good shelter may be found here from conditions with any westerly component. Vessels drying out alongside the wall will find good protection. Access is straightforward as there are no immediate off-lying dangers and you are free to come in at angles.
Please note

There are many unlit race markers offshore of Bray in the summertime.




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Keyfacts for Bray Harbour
Facilities
Top up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaLaundry facilities availableShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier

Protected sectors

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



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Top up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaLaundry facilities availableShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier



Club  +353 1 2860272      Ch.11
Position and approaches
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Haven position

53° 12.560' N, 006° 5.925' W

The southern pierhead at the harbour entrance.

What is the initial fix?

The following Bray initial fix will set up a final approach:
53° 12.700' N, 006° 5.900' W
This waypoint is 200 metres northeast of the north pier on the five metre contour.


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.

  • Bray Head makes for a ready sea mark from all directions and keeping 500 metres from the shoreline, or keeping outside the 10-metre contour, clears all dangers within the banks.

  • Bray Harbour has no immediate outlying dangers and may be freely approached.


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 Bray Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Sorrento Point - 2.2 miles N
  2. Greystones - 2.3 miles SSE
  3. Dalkey Sound - 2.4 miles N
  4. Dún Laoghaire Harbour - 3.5 miles NNW
  5. Dublin Port (Poolbeg Marina) - 5.7 miles NNW
  6. Balscadden Bay - 6.7 miles N
  7. Howth - 6.9 miles N
  8. Carrigeen Bay - 7.3 miles N
  9. Wicklow Harbour - 8.5 miles S
  10. Malahide - 9.2 miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Sorrento Point - 2.2 miles N
  2. Greystones - 2.3 miles SSE
  3. Dalkey Sound - 2.4 miles N
  4. Dún Laoghaire Harbour - 3.5 miles NNW
  5. Dublin Port (Poolbeg Marina) - 5.7 miles NNW
  6. Balscadden Bay - 6.7 miles N
  7. Howth - 6.9 miles N
  8. Carrigeen Bay - 7.3 miles N
  9. Wicklow Harbour - 8.5 miles S
  10. Malahide - 9.2 miles N
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
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How to get in?


Bray is a busy urban centre and popular tourist resort situated a mile and a half northward of Bray Head. The town is fronted by a small boat harbour that dries out to the entrance outside of which there are some club mooring buoys during the season.
Please note

Unlit Lobster-pot markers, using a wide variety of objects as floats, can be found spread throughout the area from Bray Head to Dalkey Island. Bray Sailing Club also has five unlit racing marks in the area during the sailing season, April to September.





Northern Approach Vessels approaching from the north and Dublin Bay will first encounter the 24 metres high Dalkey Island. This is situated about 500 metres east of Sorrento Point and has foul ground with drying rocks and shoals extending up to about half a mile north by northwest of the island. About 600 metres to the northeast of Dalkey Island there is a small 6 metres high rock islet called the Muglins that has a light.

Muglins – Lighthouse Fl R 5s position: 53° 16.524'N, 006° 4.579'W




There are three ways to pass south of Dalkey Island.
(i) Pass between the island and the mainland via Dalkey Island Sound. The least depth in the channel is 8 metres and is about 230 metres wide.
(ii) Take the Muglins Sound channel that is situated between the Muglins and the dangers on the eastern side of Dalkey Island. Muglins Sound is deep, with the least depth of 6.4 metres over a small patch, and is at least 270 metres wide or more. The key obstacle to this path is circumventing the unmarked and covered Leac Buidhe rock that only dries at low water.
(iii) Go outside of the Muglins passing well clear of Dalkey Island and its outer dangers in open water.

It is the former Dalkey Island Sound approach that is most often used by leisure craft. Tides in Dalkey Sound can attain up to 2.5 knots and it is only when these are adverse that leisure craft tend to go outside Dalkey Island. A useful set of waypoints has been shared for Dalkey Sound in the routes entry ‘Dublin to Killiney Bay via Dalkey Sound’ Route location.

After exiting Dalkey Sound the remarkable 237-metre high headland of Bray Head will stand prominently. Bray Harbour is situated about 1.2 miles north by northwest of the head, and its harbour walls, town terraces and inshore buildings are prominent from seaward.

To the south of Dalkey Island, Killiney Bay is composed of a shingle beach that is foul along the shoreline. It is best to keep half a mile off where there will be in excess of 10 metres of water. The Frazer Bank lies to the southeast of Dalkey Island. With a least depth of 5.3 metres, it presents little issue for a leisure craft.

A submarine pipeline extends about 700 metres east from a point north by northeast of Bray Harbour. The seaward end of the pipeline is marked by a lighted yellow outfall buoy situated 1.2 miles to the northeast of the harbour entrance. Expect to encounter several unlit racing marks off-shore of Bray in the summer months.

Bray Outflow Marker - Yellow buoy Fl (4) Y 10s position: 53° 13.254'N, 006° 4.540'W





In the vicinity of the harbour the Wicklow Mountain's 500 metres high Great Sugar Loaf with a conical peak, and the 274 metres high Carrickgollogan with a chimney half a mile northwest of the summit will be visible.



Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east need to pass through the outer banks that line the coast from Dublin to Rosslare Harbour. The offshore Codling Bank may be rounded to the north, between it and the Bray Bank, where the East Codling buoy provides a good mark. Or to the south between it and India Bank where the South Codling cardinal mark provides a good mark. In rough weather, rounding Codling Bank to the south would be preferable and then head up inside there as directed below.

East Codling – port buoy Fl (4) R 10s position: 53° 8.517' N, 005° 47.126' W

South Codling – South Cardinal Mark VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 53° 4.730' N, 005° 49.784' W

Likewise, it may be addressed by rounding the Kish Bank to the north and coming south of the southern end of the Burfort Bank to reach the enclosed waters. In this case, the North Kish Cardinal and the South Burford Cardinal provide useful marks along with Kish Bank Lighthouse which will be visible for a great distance.

Kish Bank – Lighthouse Fl (2) 20s (24hr) position: 53° 18.650'N, 005° 55.542'W

North Kish - North Cardinal VQ position: 53° 18.549'N, 005° 56.432'W

South Burford - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 53° 18.060'N, 006° 1.298'W


Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south, will also be guided in by the remarkable 237-metre high headland of Bray Head that is visible from a great distance. At about six miles southeast of Bray Head is the Breaches Shoal that has a depth of 5 metres. Located about a quarter of a mile east of The Breaches is its port hand marker buoy.

Breaches - Red Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 53° 05.721'N, 005° 59.856’W

Just over four miles from Bray Head, and two miles to the southeast of Greystones Harbour is the Moulditch Bank, with 3.8 metres of water. It is an irregular patch of coarse gravel and large stones, extending nearly a mile and a quarter from the shore and is marked by a port hand marker buoy situated a third of a mile east of the bank. The tide rushing over the Moulditch causes overfalls which extend beyond the limits of the bank.

Moulditch - Red Buoy Fl R 10s position: 53° 08.430'N, 006° 01.230’W

Coastal hugging vessels should prepare to stand half a mile off on the final approaches to Bray Head. One hundred metres off the headlands southeastern most point is ‘Cable Rock’ that dries to 2 metres. A drying reef called Periwinkle Rock fringes the foot of the headland’s northeastern side and the outlying ‘Crab Rocks’ extends 150 metres north-eastward from this.

Cable Rock - unmarked position: 53° 10.523’N, 006° 04.185’W

Crab Rocks - unmarked position: 53° 11’.800’N, 006° 05.100’W



Once around the headland, the harbour walls, town terraces and buildings of Bray will be seen about 1.2 miles north by northwest.


Initial fix location From the initial fix, immediately outside and to the northeast of the entrance, the harbour’s two unlit piers will be readily apparent. Just outside the harbour, there are several unlit visitors' moorings belonging to Bray Sailing Club. It would advisable to approach the club in advance regarding the use of these moorings.

The harbour entrance faces northeast and has about 1.5 metres but it almost dries at low water after that. Inside there is a host of local small boats, all moored fore and aft, that take the hard at low water.



Leisure craft with fixed keels and motor boats are best advised to anchor off about 60 metres off the pierhead where good holding in sand will be found. This provides good shelter from the southwest round to northwest but one needs to be vigilant as the currents run particularly strong here due to the tight proximity to sandbanks. Land by tender in the harbour area.

Those venturing in should keep close to the north pier in order to avoid the submerged head of the southern pier that is just awash at low water. The River Dartry discharges into the sea through the harbour so a strong outflow can be expected at all times in the entrance. There is a potential depth of 3 metres at MHWS alongside the north pier and 0.1 of a metre at low water at its outermost end. Sailing vessels with 1.6 metres can plan a visit spanning two to three hours on either side of high water. Timed correctly it is possible to get four to five hours alongside.
Please note

The harbour wall is very rough and oversized fenders or preferably a fender board are advisable as the wooden piles here have wide gaps.



Vessels that can dry out should berth alongside one of three landing ladders on the north pier. The south pier could also be considered, or pick up a mooring following the advice of the particularly welcoming Bray Sailing Club.


Why visit here?
Bray, in Irish Bré, is thought to derive its name from the translation of an old Irish word Brí meaning ‘hill’, possibly referring to the gradual incline of the town from the Dargle Bridge to Vevay Hill. Others believe that the town took its name from the original name of the Dargle River Bré, evident in Lough Bray, or Loch Bré, from which a tributary of the Dargle River flows.



Whichever the case, Bray’s history goes back into the mists of time when early inhabitants would have taken advantage of the natural harbour provided by the river mouth and its surrounding fertile lands. After the Norman Conquest, Strongbow granted these lands to Sir Walter de Riddlesford who brought Hiberno-Norman rule to this area. But by the 13th-century the Norman lords had begun to assimilate Gaelic traditions and were acting as independent rulers in their own areas. With it, the national grip of the occupation began to falter and wane and by the late 15th century Crown control had reduced to an area surrounding Dublin known as ‘The Pale’, An Pháil, or ‘The English Pale’, An Pháil Sasanach. The term ‘pale’ was derived directly from the Latin word palus, meaning stake and the enclave took on this name because parts of its perimeter counties Meath and Kildare were fenced or ditched. Bray during this period became the southern border of ‘The Pale’, governed directly by the English crown from Dublin Castle but it was very little developed.

As late as the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a small fishing village with fisherman's huts plus their nets and boats laid out along the shoreline. During the latter part of the 18th-century, the Dublin middle classes recognised its close proximity enabling them to commute, and they began to move to Bray to escape city life. But Bray was still a one-street town as late as 1838 when it was just about to be transformed by the arrival of the railway.

Opened in 1834 the Dublin and Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) Railway, was the first in Ireland. It was extended as far as Bray in 1854 and the effect on Bray was almost instantaneous. The fisherman’s huts were quickly replaced by elegant houses and hotels that were ready to receive prosperous Victorian visitors who became the new denizens of Bray. Within five years extravagant Moorish Turkish baths were built in the town and the first esplanade of the promenade, stretching from the harbour to Bray Head was constructed. Bray quickly grew to become the largest seaside resort in Ireland and the only example in the ‘Republic’ of a town comparable to what is so much a part of the English experience, the seaside resort town. By the middle of the 19th-century Bray had come to be known as the ‘Brighton of Ireland’.

Development continued right up to World War II which only served as a 'pause' for its duration. Afterwards, Bray attracted tourists from Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland who came here to escape the austerity of post-war rationing. It was only from the 1960s onwards, when foreign travel became available for large numbers of people, that the town's resort career began to decline. But with its genteel Victorian charms, its wide beach and handsome promenade inviting an afternoon stroll, it continues to retain a great measure of its original Victorian heyday attraction.

Today Bray is a busy urban centre serving south county Dublin and Wicklow. The town retains some of the reminders of the distant medieval past and much of its outstanding Georgian and Victorian architecture. Some notable buildings include the Old Courthouse (1841), Victorian seafront and Bray harbour (1891), St Paul's Church (1609) and Bray Town Hall (1881) (now a McDonald's restaurant).

Owing to its position on northeast Wicklow, one of Ireland’s most scenic counties, it is now known as the ‘Gateway to the Garden of Ireland’. It is an ideal base for walkers, ramblers and strollers of all ages. There is the Slí na Sláinte, ‘The Healthy Walk’ which is 15 km of signposted coastal and urban walks in and around the town. The stroll from the harbour to Bray Head, at the southern end of the promenade, is a must. Likewise, from there, the well-worn ascent up to the 241 metres high summit of Bray Head is compelling. Marked by a large concrete cross, placed there in 1950, it offers spectacular views of mountains and coastline. For the investment of two hours in total, it is also possible to follow the old 7 km Cliff Walk along the railway line around Bray Head to Greystones.

The annual ‘Bray Summerfest’ is a popular tourist event, which takes place over six weeks in July and August each year. It features over 100 free entertainment events, including live music, markets, sporting entertainment, carnivals, and family fun. Bray also hosts an annual international jazz festival on the May bank holiday weekend, each year.




From a boating perspective, Bray is a 'stop-in' location for all vessels except those that can take to the hard. However its excellent connections, to drop off or collect crews, and great walks make it a well worthwhile stopover for the coastal cruiser.


What facilities are available?
With a population of almost 32,000 Bray is a major urban centre where supplies of all sorts may be obtained. It has an additional focus on tourism and recreation, so pubs, restaurants, evening entertainment, cinemas and nightclubs are plentiful. Some boat services may also be found here including sail repairs.

The Bray Sailing Club welcomes visiting yachts and has showers available on request. It overlooks the harbour, and has been established for more than a century, and if using their facilities do give your custom to the bar.

Situated just 20 km south of Dublin, it has excellent transport connections. The regular DART Rail Network stretches north to Malahide and Howth and south to Greystones. The town is also on the mainline Iarnród Éireann Rail Network that connects north to Connolly Station in Dublin city centre, and further to Drogheda and Dundalk. To the south the rail line goes through Arklow, Gorey and Rosslare Europort.

Four bus companies pass through Bray, and Dublin Bus is by far the biggest operator with frequent services to and from Dublin City centre and many services within the greater Bray area. Dublin Bus also provides services to Dún Laoghaire, Enniskerry, Greystones, Kilmacanogue, Kilcoole and Newtownmountkennedy.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred in Bray. However, as with any urban area, secure and lock up if leaving the vessel unattended.


With thanks to:
Frank Murphy, local sailor and member of Wicklow Sailing Club.


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
























A sweep of Bray Harbour at low water



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