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Port of Waterford

Tides and tools
Overview





The Port of Waterford is located on Ireland's southeast coast sixteen miles within Waterford Harbour and up the River Suir. It is a significant provincial city that provides visitor pontoons right at its centre.

The harbour offers complete shelter from all conditions. Being a busy commercial port, with a deep and well-marked commercial channel, Port of Waterford provides safe access in all conditions on any tide, day or night.
Please note

Port of Waterford is a long upriver trek and the very strong harbour currents need to be factored into your visit; conversely with a favourable passage current it can make the journey very quick. A potential race can develop at the entrance to Waterford Harbour when the estuary tide collides with rough sea conditions. Prepare for a turbulent time on the entry if there are strong southerly conditions blowing into an ebb tide. In extreme conditions, such as a southeasterly Force 8 on an ebb tide, it is best avoided until the tide turns.




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Keyfacts for Port of Waterford
Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Approved port for vessels requiring clearance to lawfully enter the countryMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing 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
Note: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periodsNote: could be two hours or more from the main waterwaysNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

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

Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
April 15th 2020

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Approved port for vessels requiring clearance to lawfully enter the countryMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing 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
Note: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periodsNote: could be two hours or more from the main waterwaysNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: harbour fees may be charged



Berthing  +353 87 238 4944     HM  +353 87 2598297      jcodd@waterfordcouncil.ie     portofwaterford.com/      Ch.14/10/13 [Waterford Port]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 15.727' N, 007° 6.508' W

This is below the bridge where the visitor berth pontoon is located. It is upriver and immediately west of the Millennium Plaza on the quay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern 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 Port of Waterford for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Little Island - 1.1 miles ESE
  2. Cheekpoint - 2.6 miles E
  3. Seedes Bank - 2.8 miles E
  4. Buttermilk Point - 2.9 miles E
  5. Passage East - 3.2 miles ESE
  6. Ballyhack - 3.2 miles E
  7. Arthurstown - 3.6 miles ESE
  8. Duncannon - 4.2 miles ESE
  9. Creadan Head - 4.6 miles SE
  10. Dunmore East - 5 miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Little Island - 1.1 miles ESE
  2. Cheekpoint - 2.6 miles E
  3. Seedes Bank - 2.8 miles E
  4. Buttermilk Point - 2.9 miles E
  5. Passage East - 3.2 miles ESE
  6. Ballyhack - 3.2 miles E
  7. Arthurstown - 3.6 miles ESE
  8. Duncannon - 4.2 miles ESE
  9. Creadan Head - 4.6 miles SE
  10. Dunmore East - 5 miles SSE
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?
Port of Waterford pontoon
Image: Michael Harpur


The Port of Waterford lies on the south bank River Suir, five miles above its confluence with the River Barrow and sixteen miles from the sea at the entrance to Waterford Harbour. Waterford is an ancient city that was founded by the Danes in the 9th-century. It is the oldest and the fifth most populous city within the Republic of Ireland, the eighth-most populous city on the island of Ireland. It remains a thriving commercial port, trading town and provincial area of government.


The extensive cruising area from Waterford City to New Ross to Hook Head
Image: Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson
Space Center


Waterford City & County Council operate Waterford City Marina External link at Merchant's Quay on the south bank of Waterford city abeam cathedral spire. The quays have all-tide access with depths alongside varying from 5.2 to 7.5 metres but beware of the strong tidal streams. Visitors should contact the berthing manager Dick Fanning by phone Mobile+353 (0)87 238 4944 prior to any intended visit. Berths are usually available but it is worth calling ahead to make certain as it is a long upriver trek that has to be synchronised with a favourable tide.


Waterford County Council Pontoons
Image: Andrew Bennett via CC ASA 4.0


The passage to the marina and associated is a primary consideration here depending upon where the vessel is in the harbour. From the Hook Head lighthouse to Waterford, by the river is a distance of 16 miles, from Passage 7 miles, and from Cheekpoint 5 miles. The key consideration is the strong estuarial ebb tide. On Springs these can attain a speed of 3kn close-in, decreasing to 1.5kn about five miles out and are at their maximum at about 90 minutes either side of LW Cobh. With the benefit of a fair tide, the distance to the marina will be quickly covered, but when the tide is adverse, it is better to anchor off in any of the many listed anchorages along the way. When approaching from seaward it is also worth remembering that when these strong Waterford estuary ebb tides collide with rough sea conditions, the ugly 'Tower Race' occurs at the entrance.


How to get in?
Hook Head marking the eastern approaches to Waterford Estuary
Image: Tourism Ireland


Convergance Point Use southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location for seaward approaches. Waterford Harbour’s entrance lies between Swine Point and Hook Point, bearing from each other southeast by east and northwest by west. It is just under 4 miles wide, deep, clear of dangers and unmistakable when close in. On the eastern side of the entrance is Hook Point, a long and narrow low lying peninsula that terminates in a shelving point where the prominent Hook Head lighthouse stands.


Hook Point
Image: Michael Harpur



The significant old convent of Loftus Hall stands about 1.7 miles north by northeast of the lighthouse.

Hook Head Lighthouse - Fl 3s 46m 24M position: 52° 07.300’N 006° 55.700’W


Loftus Hall stands prominent on the eastern shore
Image: Michael Harpur


The western shore of the entrance is high and bold. A mile and a half within Swine Point, and situated at the south end of Dunmore Bay, is Dunmore East Harbour Click to view haven with it's East Pier Lighthouse. This is a 16-metre high white lantern, set on grey granite tower, that stands at the head of the main part of East Pier’s harbour wall.

Dunmore East – Lighthouse Fl WR 8s position: 52° 08.935' N 006° 59.337' W


Dunmore East
Image: Michael Harpur


Dunmore East Harbour will be clearly identifiable for some distance. A white lookout tower, close south of Dunmore East Harbour, is also conspicuous. A sectored light located in Duncannon, within the estuary, leads up the fairway and there are ample channel markers that make estuary navigation very straightforward.



Lumsdin’s Bay
Image: Michael Harpur



The principal danger in the approach is the 'Tower Race' that occurs at the entrance when strong the Waterford estuary ebb tides collide with rough sea conditions. If a tidal race is forming it will be clearly visible at deck level. A very short chop will be seen over dark green water to seaward and light green or pale blue water within; this colouration will be particularly visible in sheltered waters. When the tide is on the ebb the chop is much shorter, in the flood the wavelength is longer and much easier. In extreme conditions, such as a south-easterly or south-westerly Beaufort Force 8 colliding with the Waterford ebb, it can be particularly bad. At such times overfalls and hazardous seas stand as far as two miles from the Hook Head lighthouse and it would be best avoided. Once past the race, however, and inside the harbour area, the seaway quickly calms and Waterford Harbour offers plenty of depth for the leisure sailor.


Initial fix location From the initial fix, set in the middle of the entrance, head northeast for the 'Waterford' port marker buoy. The buoy lies midway between Dunmore East and the conspicuous square Loftus Hall on the Hook Peninsula near Lumsdin's Bay Click to view haven. It should be rounded to port, or passed on its eastern side.

'Waterford' port buoy - Fl (3) R 10s position: 52° 08.938’N 006° 57.000’W


Duncannon with its prominent light tower
Image: Michael Harpur


The 002° T leading beacon or lights based on Duncannon will be visible from the vicinity of the 'Waterford' port marker buoy. The front and lower leading light of the estuary show from a white tower situated at the southwest corner of Duncannon Fort; Oc WR 4s. The rear tower and light is set into a wooded hill north of Duncannon Harbour Oc 6s.

Duncannon light (front) - Oc WR 4s; rear Oc 6s position: 52° 13.232’N 006° 56.245’W


The first pair of lateral marks as see from Creadan Head
Image: Michael Harpur


From the 'Waterford' Buoy the first buoys of the entrance channel, No.1 and No.2, will be just visible to the northeast off Creadan Head Click to view haven. This is a long high finger of a headland extending from the western shore and the most easterly point of county Waterford.


Creadan Head with Hook Head in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


The headland points at Templetown Bay Click to view haven on the opposite on the eastern Wexford shoreline at the head of which are the ruins of a 13th-century church.


The ruins of a 13th-century church overlooking Templetown beach
Image: Burke Corbett


The western headland of Creadan Head encroaches upon the channel and concentrates the estuary tides. On springs it can reach up to 3 knots off Creadan Head but this decreases out to mid-channel.


Dollar Bay to Duncannon
Image: Michael Harpur


The fairway buoys in the lower estuary are largely for the benefit of commercial shipping and leisure craft will find plenty of water surrounding these marks. However after Dollar Bay Click to view haven, on the eastern shore has been passed and the Starboard No.3 Buoy, known as Duncannon Bar Buoy, and particularly starboard buoy No. 5 buoy, known as the Spit Buoy, marking the drying Duncannon Spit, shallow areas begin to encroach on the channel. Although there is nothing especially challenging in the margins for a leisure craft it would be best to closely adhere to the marks from this point onward. In fine weather, a vessel may bring up anywhere in the entrance of the harbour to wait for a tide or daylight.


Duncannon with its fort on a promontory that juts out into the harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Approaching Duncannon Click to view haven the estuary fairway deepens. After passing the Starboard No. 5, or Spit Buoy depths that would have previously exceeded 5 metres begin to step down to attain 9 and 19 metres mid-channel. This is where a vessel should veer off to port from Duncannon’s leading beacon or lights and pass the port to starboard.

Duncannon is unmistakable with its commanding fort at the entrance to the harbour and sweep of beach off to the east. A deep water channel runs close to the fort and vessels should keep about 200 metres off the fort but do not stray much further west to avoid the shallow tail of Drumroe Bank. This shallow area extends nearly quarter of a mile to the southwest of the Drumroe Bank North Buoy extending shallow waters from the western shore.


Arthurstown Pier and Kings Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


The eastern shore above Duncannon has good depths and is the favoured side for this length. The western shore, called Passage Strand, dries almost halfway across the estuary here. The northern extremity of this is marked by the Passage Spit port hand octahedral lighthouse. This is locally know as the spider and is situated opposite Arthurstown Pier Click to view haven.

Passage Spit and the estuary narrowing between Passage East and Ballyhack
Image: Michael Harpur


Vessels should stay east of this marker in at least 5 metres of water as it entirely dries out to the mark from the western shore. Be careful not to cut to the west of this mark. As the channel turns gradually to port after the mark, suggesting the inner path, and the light structure breaks the convention of port hand marks, it is a common mistake.

Passage Spit
Image: Michael Harpur



Turning to port after the Passage Spit presents the facing villages of Passage East Click to view haven and Ballyhack Click to view haven with their regular ferry crosses between them.


Passage East and Ballyhack
Image: Michael Harpur


Here, about seven miles above Hook Point, the irregular shores of the entrance first approach each other, narrowing the channel so that it takes on the personality of a river as opposed to its previous estuarial character.


The ferry passing from Ballyhack to Passage East
Image: Burke Corbett


Particular attention needs to be paid to passing the ferry in the fast flowing waters of the River Suir. In summer months it crosses every 15 minutes, making as many as 120 crossings each day, and can reach speeds of up to 4 knots at certain phases of the tide. The ferry operates within very tight margins and should not be impeded nor should a vessel anchor anywhere within its vicinity.


Seedes Bank above Ballyhack as seen from Passage East
Image: Paul O'Farrell via CC BY-SA 2.0


Above Passage East and Ballyhack, the western or Waterford shore is precipitous, rocky, and bold-to and excellent depths will be found at the distance off from 100 to 200 metres from the rocks. The best water now may be found along this western shore. The eastern Wexford and Ballyhack shore is skirted by a sandy flat, which runs off into the Seedes Bank immediately above Ballyhack. The only danger here is a shallow ridge that extends out 450 metres from the eastern bank at a point that is about midway between Ballyhack and Buttermilk Point. Adhering to the channel as far as the 'Seedes Bank South' starboard mark clears this danger.


Buttermilk Point
Image: Michael Harpur


The Seedes Bank Click to view haven just off the east shore, or Buttermilk Point Click to view haven around the high, forested eastern upriver headland, are the usual anchorages for vessels seeking a convenient berth or tide-wait to go up to the city of Waterford.


St Catherine's Bay and Shelburne Bay Between Buttermilk and Kilmokea Points
Image: Michael Harpur


Around Buttermilk Point the eastern shore is covered by mud flats. To the east the inland ruin of Dunbrody Abbey and the wreck of the French trawler the 'Petit Sarah' present conspicuous objects here. Kilmokea Power Station will be seen to the north.
Please note

This ebb tide from Cheek Point requires some attention. It sweeps around St Catherine’s Bay and is deflected by Buttermilk Point across the channel to the opposite shore. Vessels in calms or light winds must be ready to start their engines or keep their heads to the east. Otherwise from a position a little above Buttermilk Point they could be carried onto the rocks on the western shore.




Cheek Point and Kilmokea Point
Image: Michael Harpur


Approaching Cheekpoint Click to view haven, the confluence of the rivers Suir and Barrow, Kilmokea Power Station and the railway swing bridge, providing access to New Ross Click to view haven via the River Barrow, appear to the north.


Cheek Point pier and its approaches
Image: Michael Harpur


As Kilmokea Power Station is approached a very hard turn to port is required to follow the River Suir’s deepwater fairway up to Little Island and on to Waterford port and city situated 5 miles west of the River Barrow junction.
Please note

On the outgoing stream a strong rip tide rip extends from Snowhill Point to Cheek Point. This is brought about by the meeting of the streams from the Rivers Barrow and Suir.




The railway swing bridge and Kilmokea Power Station as seen from Cheek Point
Image: Michael Harpur


The drying Cheekpoint Bar stretches from the south shore for 300 metres northwards across the entrance of the River Suir. Drumdowney Point, on the north shore, is encircled by a mud flat which dries off some distance to the south.

Cheekpoint Bar had been encroaching upon large vessels travelling to the Port of Waterford and four groins were constructed to divert it. At the head of these groins are yellow buoys. What can be confusing here are these four yellow marks which effectively replace the traditional port marks on the south side of the river off Cheekpoint. These yellow buoys should be kept to port.
Please note

Ignore the two port and starboard marks that buoy the channel to Cheekpoint harbour. These can cause confusion at this turn.




Cheekpoint Bar special marks with Snowhill and Glass House alignment marks in
the backdrop

Image: Michael Harpur


There is, however, plenty of water for a leisure vessel and the commercial channel has a maintained depth of 6 metres of water. If uncertain use the commercial channel alignment marks of 255° T of Snowhill Point Leading Lights. This comprises a white 6.5-metre high mast on Snowhill Point Fl WR 2.5s 5m 3M. The rear light is 800 metres west-southwest of the front light on an 11-metre high white framework tower at Glass House flour mill, Q 12m 5M.

Snowhill Point (front) - Fl WR 2.5s 5m 3M position: 52° 16.393´N, 007° 00.010’1W.

On approaching Snowhill Point veer off the transit to port where the deeper water will be found by keeping north of mid-channel until abreast Glass House flour mill, where the rear mark is positioned, and the port and starboard buoys resume. Here the river winds round in a south-westerly direction, through Glasshouse reach for over 2 miles, to Little Island.


The run from Kilmokea to Little Island
Image: Michael Harpur


The northern shore, or Kilkenny side, hosts Waterford’s Belview container terminal that was completed in 1997. Located 3.5 miles downstream from the ancient port Belview it is now Waterford’s main container terminal.


Waterford’s Belview Bulk Terminal
Image: Port of Waterford


This new upstream location removed freight traffic congestion from the city, offered shorter sea approaches, provided better access to road and rail and offered the increased space required to deal with modern cargos. The port features 450 metres of container berthage serviced by two high-output gantry cranes, plus a portal crane. This makes it a conspicuous feature along the river route.

The shore off the terminal is bold-to and the preferred choice for this leg, as the southern shore, is skirted by a mud flat with occasional patches of rock. One of these patches, called The Bingledies, lies opposite to the northeast end of the Belview Bulk Terminal, dries to 100 metres distance from the south shore and is marked by a red buoy. 800 metres to the southwest and also on the south shore are the Bolton Rocks. 200 metres to the southwest of the Bolton Rocks, there is a bank of mud, which uncovers up to 200 metres from the shore. All of these have four port marker buoys in quick succession placed outside of them and all of these buoys must be left to port whilst proceeding up.


Little Island with the Queen's Channel passing north
Image: Michael Harpur


After this leg, the course alters westward into the Queen's Channel that is entered between a training wall that extends 700 metres east off Little Island's north-eastern corner, and Belview Point, on the north side of the channel. Entrance into the Queen's Channel fairway is assisted by an astern leading line of 098°T. The front light, QR 8m 5M, is set on a 5-metre high black tower with a white band set on the eastern extremity of the training wall that effectively divides the Queen and King’s Channels. The rear light is on a 6-metre high white mast, Q 15m 5M, set 600 metres east of the front light at Faithlegg Demesne.

Queen's Channel Front - QR 8m 5M position: 52° 15.317’N 007° 02.376’W

A hard turn to starboard is required to access the preferred Queen's Channel or a vessel could find itself accidentally in the King’s Channel.
Please note

The helm must guard against being pushed into the King’s Channel by strong currents here. The set on the advantageous rising tide will be into the King’s Channel.




The King's Channel passing south around Little Island
Image: Michael Harpur


The King’s Channel encircles the island to the south and is the old natural bed of the river. It is entirely possible to round the island via the King’s Channel however its navigation requires a keen eye and caution as there is little-published data. It is badly silted up on the island’s eastern side where it has a least depth of 0.5 meters. Once inside and halfway down the east side of the island, where the shores converge, it deepens to 15 metres in midstream. On the western side of the island, there is the unmarked Maulus Rock off the mainland side of the channel. The King’s Channel is frequently used by local boats, and taken on a three quarters flood tide, provides a more than manageable if not very enjoyable passage around Little Island.
Please note

The charts cannot be entirely relied upon in the King’s Channel. Shallower depths than shown are to be expected so the helmsman should be watchful of the soundings. The unfamiliar would find it is best to stick to the Queens Channel to the north of the island.




Queen's Channel marks on the ebb
Image: Michael Harpur


By contrast, the well-marked mile long Queen’s Channel that passes along the north side of the island is direct and easy. It has plenty of water, except close to the banks, is well marked and there are no dangers in this section of the river. For this reason, we prefer a Queen’s Channel approach, leaving the King’s Channel for subsequent exploration if so inclined.
Please note

The shallowest water in the Queen's Channel is in a single point where 2.5 metres LAT will be found. This is the shallowest point for the entire run-up to Waterford via the River Suir.




The Dirty Tail encircling the point on the western shore of the river's south
bank

Image: Michael Harpur


At the west end of Queen's Channel, beyond Little Island where the King’s and Queen’s channels reunite, three dangers present themselves:

(i) The Dirty Tail, encircling the point on the western shore off the south bank of the River Suir and the western side of the King’s Channel. It extends northward halfway across the river and eastward across the King’s channel.

(ii) A drying mud bank that extends off the northeastern end of Little Island that narrows the deep water section of the King’s Channel from the east. The western edge of this is somewhat marked by the 'Dirty Tail' port marker buoy, although its primary purpose is to support Queen’s Channel vessels proceeding upriver. Vessels heading upriver or into the King’s Channel must leave this mark on the port side of a vessel.

(iii) Tidal effects can cause a boat to be quickly swept sideways. A helm must guard against the effects of the tidal stream setting in and out of King's Channel where the fairway is narrow. The tidal effects are at their strongest on a falling Spring tide.

Generally, it is always best to stay as close to the north bank, the Gyles Quay side, to avoid being swept sideways. This is at it strongest on a falling Spring tide.


Yacht anchored on the west side Little Island
Image: Burke Corbett


At the west side of Little Island Click to view haven and within the King’s Channel there are several anchoring possibilities.


Several boats on the final run up to Port of Waterford
Image: Burke Corbett


After passing the Queen's Channel and the Dirty Tail, a vessel may continue on without danger or obstruction to Waterford, a distance of 2 miles from here. As the city is approached a series of pontoons will be encountered. The first is the Granagh pontoon that is privately owned. This is named after nearby Granagh Castle a large, square, walled enclosure with cylindrical corner towers that stands dramatically on the north bank of the Suir, about 5 kilometres from Waterford. The next is the Waterford Boat Club pontoon at the head of the estuary of the St. John’s river appearing on the port side. Again no visitor berths are available here.


The first Waterford pontoons
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Waterford city follows quickly with quays on both sides of the river which extend a considerable distance along the river bank. The depths alongside the commercial berths are 5.2 to 7.5 metres. The first marina pontoons encountered are on the Adelphi Quay & Reginald's Tower Hotel on the south side of the river. From here the pontoons stretch for 360 metres and all of the initial berths are held by long-term berth holders.

The visitors' pontoons can be found upriver immediately west of the Millennium Plaza on the quay. This features a Millennium Spire which can be seen on approach but a more conspicuous restored dockside crane, blue set on three white pedestals, situated close after the Millennium Spire, provides a better approach mark.

The restored dockside crane provides a good mark for the visitor area
Image: William Murphy via CC BY SA 2.0


Beware of the strong tidal streams past the city when coming alongside. Currents can attain 3.5 kn on the ebb alongside Waterford quays and an approach into the flow is essential. Likewise, moor securely and when casting off, do not untie from the marina until the river’s tidal flow rate has been assessed as boats very quickly get pushed down onto other boats here.

An access fob card is available from City Hall or alternatively from the reception desk of the ‘Tower Hotel’ to enable the return through the security gate.

Yachts must use the council berth and should not attempt to anchor as it is entirely prohibited in the harbour area. Depending on a vessel's air draft, the River Suir’s upper reaches are navigable for a further nine miles making Carrick-on-Suir accessible from Waterford. Local advice should be sought if considering this as there are two bridges to be passed. More information is available on Waterford Harbours’ three sisters upper reaches the Barrow, Suir and Nore .


Why visit here?
Waterford, in Irish: Port Láirge, meaning "Lárag's port", drives it’s English name from Old Norse: Veðrafjǫrðr or Vadre-fjord meaning ‘weather-protected fjord’. It is a nationally significant city being Ireland's oldest, with its settlements dating back to 856 AD, and today is the fifth most populous city in the country.

Reginald's Tower
Image: Tourism Ireland


Viking raiders first came to the Waterford area in 853. In 902 the Danes were driven out of all their 'longboat' ports along this coast by the native Irish. But they re-established themselves in Waterford in 914, led at first by Ottir Iarla, and Jarl Ottar until 917, and then after Ragnall Ua Ímair and the Uí Ímair dynasty. It was the latter who went on to build what would be Ireland's first city and surrounded it by a fortified city wall. Six city towers and large sections of the city walls remain intact today. The best and oldest example is Reginald's Tower, on The Quay, that dates back to 1003. It was these very walls in 1169 that withstood, the then cruel deposed King of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada’s first Norman supported attempt on the city.


Strongbow & Aoife Bronze Statues in Waterford City
Image: Tourism Ireland


The English King Henry II, the first Plantagenet King of England, had provided Diarmait with an army and the right to retake Leinster under his authority. In 1170 a large army returned with Norman, Welsh and Flemish mercenary forces led by The Earl of Pembroke, Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow. He landed at Passage East on the 23 August 1170 and was the 5th of the landing parties that bore down on Ireland that year. Strongbow then combined his force of 200 knights and 1,000 men with those of Raymond Fitz-William le Gros who led the 4th landing, on May 1, 1170, on Baginbun with 100 heavily armoured knights. They had already destroyed a large Danish-Irish force despatched against them from Waterford. The combined armies of Strongbow and Raymond le Gros then advanced toward the walled city of Waterford and the conquest of Ireland began in earnest.

Henry II at Waterford
Image: Public Domain
After besieging the city the fraught contest commenced for Waterford. The Vikings were no match for the Normans, who were then the most organised military machine the west had known. Two attacks on the city were repulsed before the Norman-Welsh force found a weak spot in the walls. This allowed them to enter and capture the town.


Forces under Dermot MacMurrough, Robert FitzStephen and Maurice FitzGerald arrived on the 25th of August after the fall of the city. The next target for the combined armies was to take command of the province of Leinster by taking the strategic, political and trade centre of Dublin. Dublin fell just as quickly before them and soon after all of Leinster was conquered.

The Watch Tower is one of the six surviving towers of the city walls of
Waterford

Image: Nmwalsh via ASA 4.0


Strongbow then married Diarmait’s daughter, Aoife, and was named as heir to the Kingdom of Leinster. This latter development caused consternation to Henry II, who feared the establishment of a rival Norman state in Ireland. Accordingly, he resolved to visit Leinster to establish his authority. In 1171 Henry landed at Waterford with a large fleet and 4000 men, becoming the first King of England to set foot on Irish soil. This would mark the beginning of English and later British rule in Ireland. Later, Henry II proclaimed Waterford and Dublin Royal Cities, and also declared Dublin capital of Ireland.

Bishop's Palace Museum
Image: Nmwalsh via ASA 4.0
Today Waterford retains much of its medieval character together with the graceful buildings from its 18th-century expansion. The parameters of the 10th-century settlement can be clearly identified in The Viking Triangle. Reginald's Tower is the most historic urban medieval monument in Ireland and the oldest working Civic Building in Ireland. The elegant Chamber of Commerce building, the City Hall and the Bishop's Palace are prime examples of beautiful 18th-century architecture. Ecclesiastical landmarks include St. Patrick's Churches, Christ Church Cathedral, Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Black Friars, St. Olave's Church and Greyfriars. A good start point to sample Waterford’s history is to visit the Treasures Museum on the quay. Set inside the old granaries the museum chronicles over a thousand years of Waterford’s history displaying a large collection of historical artefacts. A one hour 'City Walk', commences from the museum and is an ideal way to take in the city’s history.


Waterford today is synonymous with Waterford Crystal
Image: Tourism Ireland


World over, the word 'Waterford' is synonymous with Waterford Crystal the world-famous hand-crafted cut-glass. Glass, or crystal, was manufactured in the city from 1783 until early 2009 when the factory was sadly shut down after the receivership of Waterford Wedgwood plc. Glass making has since recommenced in the city. The Waterford Crystal visitor centre opened in the Viking Quarter in June 2010 after the intervention of Waterford City Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Reginalds Tower is the oldest working Civic Building in Ireland
Image: Vadrefjord via CC BY SA 4.0


From a boating perspective, the city has to be seen as the jewel in the crown of what is the magnificent Waterford Harbour. Set into the southeastern corner of Ireland, near the entrance of St. George’s Channel, the harbour as a whole provides an invaluable safe haven and a truly wonderful cruising ground. Formed by the estuaries of the River Suir and the River Barrow, on which the large commercial towns of Waterford and New Ross are situated, Waterford Harbour offers a wide variety of well-sheltered anchorages in beautiful settings. Moreover, harbour passages take vessels through diverse and ever-changing scenery that makes for very interesting cruising.

The city berth has an extensive selection of shops including a choice of supermarkets a short walk from the pontoon making it an ideal location for provisioning. It is also a designated as a port of entry that may be used for clearing in purposed by vessels arriving entering territorial waters of the Republic of Ireland from outside of the EU & UK territories. It should also be considered as a useful bolthole for bad weather where it provides a perfectly safe berth alongside which the amenities of this interesting city would prove a good diversion. Being well served by bus and rail transport, plus the international airport located 9 km outside the city, it is a convenient drop-off or collection point for crew.


What facilities are available?
The pontoons have water and electricity and large quantity diesel is available by arrangement with a road tanker; smaller quantities available from the filling station along the road behind the Tower Hotel. Gas bottles can be refilled in Waterford, showers available in the shower block that incorporates a coin-operated launderette. Rubbish may be disposed of on the quayside walkway. All boat services and equipment are available, except for a sail maker and boat repairs which are best catered for in New Ross.

Waterford is the primary city of the South East region, the fifth largest in the country, and the pontoon is central to all its amenities. The location offers the cruising vessel an excellent opportunity to stock up on supplies of food plus almost all other requirements. An extensive selection of shops, a choice of thee department stores and three supermarkets plus several pharmacies are available within a few hundred metres from the marina. A post office can be found at 100, The Quay, while banks and ATMs are located throughout the city centre.

Waterford is well connected to other major centres via the N9 to Dublin, the N25 to Cork (west) and Rosslare (east) and the N24 to Limerick. Waterford City rail station, Plunkett station, is located across Edmund Rice bridge, on the north side of the Suir, a short walk from the pontoons. There are seven daily connections to Dublin; 4 daily connections to Limerick Junction; and 1 direct daily connection each way to Rosslare Europort and onwards to Wexford & Enniscorthy.

Bus services are provided by Bus Éireann to all major Irish centres and the station is located on the quays opposite Dooleys Hotel.

Waterford Airport, or South East Regional Airport, serves Waterford and the south east region. It is currently possible to fly between Waterford and Birmingham, London Luton and Manchester in the UK.


Any security concerns?
Pontoons have secure fob access.


With thanks to:
John Diamond the Three Sisters Marina manager. Photography with thanks to Burke Corbett, Athena, Eirian Evans, nmwalsh, Tony Quilty and Michael Harpur.





Port of Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


City Pontoon, Port of Waterford
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


The Quay, Waterford City
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur




Bulk ship passing up through the harbour and discharging at Belview Bulk Terminal



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