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Elly Bay

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Overview





Elly Bay lies on the northwest coast of Ireland, on the east side of the Mullet Peninsula and within Blacksod Bay. It provides a well-protected anchorage off a wide-sweeping arch of a beach in a quiet and secluded location near a small quay.

Elly Bay lies on the northwest coast of Ireland, on the east side of the Mullet Peninsula and within Blacksod Bay. It provides a well-protected anchorage off a wide-sweeping arch of a beach in a quiet and secluded location near a small quay.

The anchorage provides excellent protection and is considered the best anchorage available in Blacksod Bay in which it is possible to find complete protection from any wind direction. The bay may be safely approached at any time of the day, at any stage of the tide and in all reasonable conditions.
Please note

Bloacksod Bay is one of the finest bays on the west coast of Ireland and an excellent, safe haven to run for should bad weather be forecasted, and Elly Bay is considered its best berth.




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Keyfacts for Elly Bay



Last modified
March 9th 2020

Summary

A good location with safe access.

Facilities
Fuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 9.460' N, 010° 3.913' W

This is immediately outside Elly Bay and the 2-metre contour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Blacksod Bay initial fix will set up a final approach:
54° 2.662' N, 010° 10.659' W
Midway between Duvillaun Island and Saddle Head


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in Western Ireland’s coastal overview from Slyne Head to Erris Head Route location and Blacksod Pier Click to view haven provides approach details.


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 Elly Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Blacksod Pier - 2.1 miles S
  2. Frenchport (Portnafrankagh) - 3.1 miles N
  3. Inishkea Island South - 3.3 miles WSW
  4. Broadhaven Bay - 5.2 miles NE
  5. Keel Bay - 7.3 miles S
  6. Ross Port - 7.4 miles NE
  7. Keem Bay - 7.6 miles SSW
  8. Portacloy Bay - 9 miles NE
  9. Porturlin Bay - 9.8 miles NE
  10. Belderg Harbour - 12.5 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Blacksod Pier - 2.1 miles S
  2. Frenchport (Portnafrankagh) - 3.1 miles N
  3. Inishkea Island South - 3.3 miles WSW
  4. Broadhaven Bay - 5.2 miles NE
  5. Keel Bay - 7.3 miles S
  6. Ross Port - 7.4 miles NE
  7. Keem Bay - 7.6 miles SSW
  8. Portacloy Bay - 9 miles NE
  9. Porturlin Bay - 9.8 miles NE
  10. Belderg Harbour - 12.5 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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What's the story here?
The north end of Elly Bay
Image: Adrian Weckler


Elly Bay, is a small bay on the northwest coast of Blacksod Bay inside and well protected by the Mullett Penninsula. Situated between Ardelly Point and Barranagh Island, about 1-mile north-northeastward, it is the most sheltered and preferred anchorage for leisure craft frequenting Blacksod Bay.

Elly Bay is one of the best anchorages in this area providing a range of depths from in excess of 4 metres. It also has a gradually shelving hard sand and clay beach where vessels that can take to the bottom may confidentially dry. It is liable to swell but a short move will usually evade it.


How to get in?
Elly's flat sand beach
Image: Adrian Weckler


Convergance Point Use western Ireland’s coastal overview from Slyne Head to Erris Head Route location for seaward approaches and Blacksod Pier Click to view haven provides local approach details.

Elly Bay is entered 3½ miles north of Blacksod Point around Ardelly Point. Between Doobeg Point and Ardelly Point the coast is indented by two shallow bights of limited utility.

In hauling into Elly Bay be careful to give Ardelly Point a good berth, to avoid the foul ground that extends a ¼ of a mile to the southward of it. Give the shore to the northwest of the point a wide berth as it is shoal. At night a vessel entering Elly Bay should keep in the red sector of Blacksod Quay Light until well northward of Ardelly Point.

Yacht anchored in Elly Bay
Image: Anne Burgess via CC BY-SA 2.0
Haven location Anchor as close in as draft will permit over a bottom of sand over stiff clay that provides for excellent holding. Depths of 6.4 metres will be found at the entrance and it shoaling gradually to the head of the bay. Here the bottom will be found to be favourable for vessels taking the ground to the depth of 1.8 metres, except on the northern side, where rocky ledges extend some distance from the shore.

It is also possible to anchor in Elly Harbour on the north side of Elly Bay, just to the westward of Barranagh island, in deep water. This part of the bay provides better protection in northerly and easterly conditions but is exposed to the fetch of Blacksod Bay during southerly winds. It is from this quarter that gales usually commence but there is no sea to endanger a vessel, and after a short time, the winds veer round to the west and northwest.

Land on the extensive Elly Beach.


Saleem Harbour
Image: James Emmans via CC BY-SA 2.0


Saleen Bay, entered to the east of Barranagh Island and to the west of Ardmore Point, is mostly shallow and subject to swell from south to southeast winds has a quay, Saleen Harbour, at its head where it is also possible to land except near low water. It is convenient for Belmullet which is about 3 miles away.


Why visit here?
Elly Beach, in Irish Trá Oilí, is thought to have derived its name from a fort that might have existed in the area. The words ellagh, elly are derived from the Gaelic Aileach [ellagh], which is a circular stone fort. This beautiful almost forgotten part of Ireland is where you would imagine timeless tranquillity. But been a timeless perfectly sheltered location for seagoing craft it very much found itself at the heart of the unfolding national tragedy that was the Irish Famine was brought to a head.

London News depiction of famine victims
Image: Public Domain
The Great Famine, an Gorta Mór, or the Great Hunger, was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. One million died. Two million fled. Today, the population of Ireland and Northern Ireland combined is still lower than it was before the famine.
The most severely affected areas in the south and west of Ireland.

During March 1847, the steamship "Scourge" came to anchor in Blacksod Bay and Edmund Richards, who was acting as Supercargo, detailed what he saw her in a letter. The fearful state of starvation and destitution of the barony of Erris, is such as no language can pourtray. On Second and Third-days I went through the extent of the barony, and from the best statistics I could gather, the deaths from starvation are twenty per day. The population is 30,000, of whom 18,000 have no means of subsistence. Fever and dysentery, with dropsy, are prevalent - the effects of insufficient and improper food. I saw families who had subsisted for weeks on the flesh of horses that had died; and people numberless in all the stages of starvation, down to that of the last stage of life; and many corpses in the act of being deposited in the earth. The only gratuitous distribution to all this destitution was from the operation of four soup establishments, from which many of the starving objects are many miles distant, say eight to ten; and, on account of their exhausted state, they are unable to walk to them.

The desperation soon found its way to vessels taking shelter off of Elly Beach. When schooners carrying cargoes of foodstuffs came into Elly Bay for shelter they attracted "an immense number of men, women and children" to the foreshore. The naval vessel HMS Rhadamanthus, happen to be also riding out the storm in Blacksod Bay at the time. Observing the boats in the water, its commander, Aylen, sent his mate John Imrie to the vessels to control the spiralling situation.

'Illustrated London News' depiction of famine victims
Image: Public Domain
Upon his arrival Imrie observed one of the schooners, the Clyde of Glasgow, was by then surrounded with boats and her decks covered with men "breaking open the main hatchway, a large hooker coming from the shore and a number of carts on the beach". The captain’s log of the Clyde of Glasgow noted that he had been “boarded by about 100 countrymen determined to plunder the cargo, which consisted of flour and barley. ". Imrie’s naval party cleared the decks with handspikes and broom handles and he then led the schooners out of the harbour, followed by a flotilla of currachs.

Some local men from the flotilla even succeeded in boarding HMS Rhadarnanthus. Commander Aylen reported to Admiralty Headquarters in Cork what he saw of them The country people that have come on board are in the greatest distress as I ever beheld, such objects of perfect misery, they are literally starving and I could not send them out without giving them food at my own expense, as did also my officers and ship's company.

The English philanthropist and Quaker, James Hack Tuke visited Connaught in 1847, and of the scenes of distress which he witnessed caused him to spend over 60 years of his life striving to eradicate poverty and deprivation in the West of Ireland. His eye-witness testimony of the state of things he saw were published in 'The Times' brought further relief to the west of Ireland.

James Hack Tuke (1819 – 1896)
Image: Public Domain
At the end of the 1870s, when hunger once again threatened the people of Mayo, the energies and vision of people like Tuke were able to avert complete catastrophe. In 1880, accompanied by William Edward Forster, he spent two months in the West of Ireland distributing relief which had been privately subscribed by friends in England. By then he saw the most efficacious solution was for people to flee the hunger. By emigrating to the United States and Canada it would rescue them from perennial starvation and famine, while at the same time improving the position of those who remained as they would have more land and receive remittances from the emigrants.

In his pamphlet, Irish Distress and its Remedies (1880), he pointed out that Irish distress was due to economic rather than political difficulties, and advocated state-aided land purchase, peasant proprietorship, light railways, government help for the fishing and local industries, and assisted emigration schemes for the poorest peasants. Principal amongst this was a quick assisted emigration scheme for which he was instrumental in establishing the Tuke Fund to pool money paid in by the British government as well as landlords, poor law unions, and philanthropists. This was then used to pay for the passage to Boston and to locations in Canada.

1880 depiction of the Assisted Emigration scheme
Image: Public Domain
Between the years 1883-84 entire families from North West Mayo left their homes came to the beach of Elly Beach from which they were rowed out to the emigration steamships ships of the 'Allan Line' of Glasgow anchored in the deeper waters of the bay. Many others arrived from Achill on Hookers and came alongside to embark the ship. Eleven ships embarked on fifteen voyages bringing over 3300 Irish emigrants from North West Mayo to a new life in the US and Canada and Quebec. By 1884 15% of the total population had emigrated.

People settled well and gained employment and the famine of 1879 – 1880 is sometimes described as the last major Irish famine. In contrast with earlier subsistence crises, effective intervention, including assisted emigration, meant there was little excess mortality, even in badly affected Mayo. A failure of the potato crop in 1885 again called forth Tuke's energy, and on the invitation of the government, aided by public subscription, he purchased and distributed seed potatoes to once again avert a famine. His reports and letters to 'The Times', contributed to support for the bill passed for the construction of light railways in 1889 and the Irish Land Act which established the Congested Districts Board in 1891.

Plaque remembering the emigration and The Tuke Fund
Image: Michael Dibb by CC BY-SA 2.0


Today, in this quiet place, this is remembered by a small plaque that reads:

This plaque is dedicated to the memory of the people of North West Mayo who emigrated to Canada and the United States in the years 1883-1884 assisted by "The Tuke Fund"
"The embarkations took place from the shores of Elly Bay - an inlet of Blacksod Bay - at which place the "Allan" Line had arranged for their steamers to call weekly, en route to Galway"
The Tuke Fund 1883


Tranquil Elly Bay today
Image: Michael Dibb by CC BY-SA 2.0


Today, Elly Beach is a clean sandy Blue Flag beach that is ideal for all sorts of aquatic activities, such as swimming, kayaking and surfing. The beach is lovely and sandy and makes for a pleasant day trip. It also serves as a crucial piece of the biodiversity in the region, playing a massive role in the endemic birdlife and is of international ecological importance.

From a boating perspective, it remains one of the most protected berths of this coast in a beautiful sequestered location.


What facilities are available?
Elly Bay is a popular tourist spot for watersports enthusiasts and is the location of Coalaiste Uise Adventure Centre which teaches watersports and other sports to schoolchildren through the medium of the Irish Language. The friendly staff at the Centre can provide water, toilets and showers, and general support to visiting yachts.
Coalaiste Uise,
Cuan Eilí,
Op Clochar,
Béal an Átha,
Co. Mayo.
Landline+353 (097) 82111/a>
Coalaiste Uise External link

Some limited provisions and fuel may be obtained from Blacksod village to the south where diesel is available by tanker to Blacksod Pier. Filling station and shop at Drum House, 2 km for smaller quantities. Bellmullet which serves a population of about 1,000, has most of the necessary services that a visiting yachtsman requires.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur eOceanic.







Aerial views of Elly Bay and the Atlantic side of the peninsula


About Elly Bay

Elly Beach, in Irish Trá Oilí, is thought to have derived its name from a fort that might have existed in the area. The words ellagh, elly are derived from the Gaelic Aileach [ellagh], which is a circular stone fort. This beautiful almost forgotten part of Ireland is where you would imagine timeless tranquillity. But been a timeless perfectly sheltered location for seagoing craft it very much found itself at the heart of the unfolding national tragedy that was the Irish Famine was brought to a head.

London News depiction of famine victims
Image: Public Domain
The Great Famine, an Gorta Mór, or the Great Hunger, was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. One million died. Two million fled. Today, the population of Ireland and Northern Ireland combined is still lower than it was before the famine.
The most severely affected areas in the south and west of Ireland.

During March 1847, the steamship "Scourge" came to anchor in Blacksod Bay and Edmund Richards, who was acting as Supercargo, detailed what he saw her in a letter. The fearful state of starvation and destitution of the barony of Erris, is such as no language can pourtray. On Second and Third-days I went through the extent of the barony, and from the best statistics I could gather, the deaths from starvation are twenty per day. The population is 30,000, of whom 18,000 have no means of subsistence. Fever and dysentery, with dropsy, are prevalent - the effects of insufficient and improper food. I saw families who had subsisted for weeks on the flesh of horses that had died; and people numberless in all the stages of starvation, down to that of the last stage of life; and many corpses in the act of being deposited in the earth. The only gratuitous distribution to all this destitution was from the operation of four soup establishments, from which many of the starving objects are many miles distant, say eight to ten; and, on account of their exhausted state, they are unable to walk to them.

The desperation soon found its way to vessels taking shelter off of Elly Beach. When schooners carrying cargoes of foodstuffs came into Elly Bay for shelter they attracted "an immense number of men, women and children" to the foreshore. The naval vessel HMS Rhadamanthus, happen to be also riding out the storm in Blacksod Bay at the time. Observing the boats in the water, its commander, Aylen, sent his mate John Imrie to the vessels to control the spiralling situation.

'Illustrated London News' depiction of famine victims
Image: Public Domain
Upon his arrival Imrie observed one of the schooners, the Clyde of Glasgow, was by then surrounded with boats and her decks covered with men "breaking open the main hatchway, a large hooker coming from the shore and a number of carts on the beach". The captain’s log of the Clyde of Glasgow noted that he had been “boarded by about 100 countrymen determined to plunder the cargo, which consisted of flour and barley. ". Imrie’s naval party cleared the decks with handspikes and broom handles and he then led the schooners out of the harbour, followed by a flotilla of currachs.

Some local men from the flotilla even succeeded in boarding HMS Rhadarnanthus. Commander Aylen reported to Admiralty Headquarters in Cork what he saw of them The country people that have come on board are in the greatest distress as I ever beheld, such objects of perfect misery, they are literally starving and I could not send them out without giving them food at my own expense, as did also my officers and ship's company.

The English philanthropist and Quaker, James Hack Tuke visited Connaught in 1847, and of the scenes of distress which he witnessed caused him to spend over 60 years of his life striving to eradicate poverty and deprivation in the West of Ireland. His eye-witness testimony of the state of things he saw were published in 'The Times' brought further relief to the west of Ireland.

James Hack Tuke (1819 – 1896)
Image: Public Domain
At the end of the 1870s, when hunger once again threatened the people of Mayo, the energies and vision of people like Tuke were able to avert complete catastrophe. In 1880, accompanied by William Edward Forster, he spent two months in the West of Ireland distributing relief which had been privately subscribed by friends in England. By then he saw the most efficacious solution was for people to flee the hunger. By emigrating to the United States and Canada it would rescue them from perennial starvation and famine, while at the same time improving the position of those who remained as they would have more land and receive remittances from the emigrants.

In his pamphlet, Irish Distress and its Remedies (1880), he pointed out that Irish distress was due to economic rather than political difficulties, and advocated state-aided land purchase, peasant proprietorship, light railways, government help for the fishing and local industries, and assisted emigration schemes for the poorest peasants. Principal amongst this was a quick assisted emigration scheme for which he was instrumental in establishing the Tuke Fund to pool money paid in by the British government as well as landlords, poor law unions, and philanthropists. This was then used to pay for the passage to Boston and to locations in Canada.

1880 depiction of the Assisted Emigration scheme
Image: Public Domain
Between the years 1883-84 entire families from North West Mayo left their homes came to the beach of Elly Beach from which they were rowed out to the emigration steamships ships of the 'Allan Line' of Glasgow anchored in the deeper waters of the bay. Many others arrived from Achill on Hookers and came alongside to embark the ship. Eleven ships embarked on fifteen voyages bringing over 3300 Irish emigrants from North West Mayo to a new life in the US and Canada and Quebec. By 1884 15% of the total population had emigrated.

People settled well and gained employment and the famine of 1879 – 1880 is sometimes described as the last major Irish famine. In contrast with earlier subsistence crises, effective intervention, including assisted emigration, meant there was little excess mortality, even in badly affected Mayo. A failure of the potato crop in 1885 again called forth Tuke's energy, and on the invitation of the government, aided by public subscription, he purchased and distributed seed potatoes to once again avert a famine. His reports and letters to 'The Times', contributed to support for the bill passed for the construction of light railways in 1889 and the Irish Land Act which established the Congested Districts Board in 1891.

Plaque remembering the emigration and The Tuke Fund
Image: Michael Dibb by CC BY-SA 2.0


Today, in this quiet place, this is remembered by a small plaque that reads:

This plaque is dedicated to the memory of the people of North West Mayo who emigrated to Canada and the United States in the years 1883-1884 assisted by "The Tuke Fund"
"The embarkations took place from the shores of Elly Bay - an inlet of Blacksod Bay - at which place the "Allan" Line had arranged for their steamers to call weekly, en route to Galway"
The Tuke Fund 1883


Tranquil Elly Bay today
Image: Michael Dibb by CC BY-SA 2.0


Today, Elly Beach is a clean sandy Blue Flag beach that is ideal for all sorts of aquatic activities, such as swimming, kayaking and surfing. The beach is lovely and sandy and makes for a pleasant day trip. It also serves as a crucial piece of the biodiversity in the region, playing a massive role in the endemic birdlife and is of international ecological importance.

From a boating perspective, it remains one of the most protected berths of this coast in a beautiful sequestered location.

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:
Inishkea Island South - 3.3 miles WSW
Frenchport (Portnafrankagh) - 3.1 miles N
Broadhaven Bay - 5.2 miles NE
Ross Port - 7.4 miles NE
Portacloy Bay - 9 miles NE
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Blacksod Pier - 2.1 miles S
Keem Bay - 7.6 miles SSW
Keel Bay - 7.3 miles S
Rabbit Island - 14.7 miles SE
Westport - 17.3 miles SE

Navigational pictures


These additional images feature in the 'How to get in' section of our detailed view for Elly Bay.


























Aerial views of Elly Bay and the Atlantic side of the peninsula



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