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Ormond's Harbour

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Overview





Ormond’s Harbour is a small isolated inlet on the southwest coast of Ireland, on the south bank of the Kenmare River and the north shore of the Beara Peninsula. It offers an isolated anchorage with a small pier at its head for convenient landings.

Ormond’s Harbour is a small isolated inlet on the southwest coast of Ireland, on the south bank of the Kenmare River and the north shore of the Beara Peninsula. It offers an isolated anchorage with a small pier at its head for convenient landings.

Protected by islands the harbour offers a good anchorage with shelter from west around through south to north. Access however requires careful navigation in daylight but it is available at any stage of the tide.



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Keyfacts for Ormond's Harbour
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open water

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Approaches
2 stars: Careful navigation; good visibility and conditions with dangers that require careful navigation.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
February 9th 2022

Summary

A good location with careful navigation required for access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingQuick and easy access from open water

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 49.317' N, 009° 44.943' W

This is in about 5 metres of water to the east of Hog Island.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ormond's Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
51° 49.298' N, 009° 45.820' W
This is a ⅓ of a mile west by southwest of the middle of the entrance between Ormond's and Hog islands.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location.

  • Approach from the west and take a mid-channel between Hog Island and Ormond's Island opposite.

  • Anchor off the shore to the east of Hog Island.


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 Ormond's Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Dunkerron - 4.4 nautical miles NE
  2. Kilmakilloge Harbour - 4.7 nautical miles SW
  3. Sneem Harbour - 5.5 nautical miles W
  4. Ardgroom Harbour - 6.3 nautical miles SW
  5. Adrigole - 8.4 nautical miles S
  6. Glengarriff Harbour - 9.1 nautical miles ESE
  7. Ballycrovane Harbour - 10.1 nautical miles SW
  8. Mill Cove - 11 nautical miles SSW
  9. Lonehort Harbour - 11.2 nautical miles S
  10. Lawrence Cove - 11.6 nautical miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Dunkerron - 4.4 miles NE
  2. Kilmakilloge Harbour - 4.7 miles SW
  3. Sneem Harbour - 5.5 miles W
  4. Ardgroom Harbour - 6.3 miles SW
  5. Adrigole - 8.4 miles S
  6. Glengarriff Harbour - 9.1 miles ESE
  7. Ballycrovane Harbour - 10.1 miles SW
  8. Mill Cove - 11 miles SSW
  9. Lonehort Harbour - 11.2 miles S
  10. Lawrence Cove - 11.6 miles SSW
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?
Ormond's Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Ormond’s Harbour is a rocky inlet on the southeastern shore of the Kenmare River 3½ miles northeastward of Kilmakilloge Harbour and 6½ southwestward of Kenmare. Sheltered by Ormond’s Island, on the north, and by Hog Island with its adjacent rocks extending shoreward on the west, the south side of the harbour provides a protected anchorage. Landings may be had at Coornagillagh Quay at the head of the harbour.


Coornagillagh Quay as seen at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


Though forbidding in aspect, from the number of rocks around it, the harbour offers a useful anchorage. Hog Island and the foul drying ground that lies between Hog Island it the southern shore provides good shelter from western swell. The anchorage to the east of the islet is generally as smooth as a millpond and entirely free from any tidal current. It has 5 metres LAT over a muddy bottom that provides excellent holding.


How to get in?
Ormond’s Harbour on the southeastern shore of the Kenmare River
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location for seaward approaches and the the run-up the Kenmare River. The southern shore from Leaghillhaun, opposite Maiden Rock and Rossmore Island, to Ormond Island, 1½ miles northeastward, is fringed with outlying rocks and should be given a wide berth. Keep a sharp eye out for fishing pots and floating lines between the pots on the approach. The harbour is home to several lobster boats and they do not seem to venture far when setting out their pots.


The southern shore leading to Ormond's Harbour is foul
Image: Michael Harpur


Ormond’s Island consists of two small hills with large meadows edged with furze. It is 10 metres high at its highest point and has a rocky reef that extends westward for 350 metres from its western extremity and 250 metres southwestward western from its western end. This is very much in the path of vessels rounding in from the east. The west end of Ormond's Island should be given a wide berth and all approaches should be from well to westward. Once Ormond’s Island has been identified Hog Island, 3.3 metres high, on its southwest side should be easily identified.


The entrance lies mid-channel between Hog Island and Ormond's Island
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the Initial Fix steer for the entrance between Ormond Island and Hog Island. The pass is 180 metres wide, with depths of 4.6 to 7.3 metres. There is, however, exactly in the middle of the approach a rock with 2.3 metres LAT and a deeper-draft vessel can pass to the southward of this, on Hog Island side, to get the best passage in.

When about 200 metres within Hog Island haul southward and prepare to anchor with the north part of Hog Island bearing about 270° T and the middle of the bight in Ormond Island northward or 000° T.
Please note

Be careful not to wander too far eastward as a dangerous rock awash at low water is situated northeast of the middle of the harbour about a ¼ of a mile east by northeast of Hog Island.




Land at Coornagillagh Quay at the head of the harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Fish around for the best anchoring position off of the southern shore according to draft and conditions.


The inner drying quay (left) as seen at low water
Image: Michael Harpur


Land at Coomagillagh Quay at the east end of the harbour. Alternatively, the drying quay further in that has a slip at high water.


Why visit here?
Ormond island, in Irish directly translated to Oileán Urúmhan, was named after the Earls of Ormond, the Butlers, members of an Anglo-Norman dynasty that controlled vast stretches of territory in Munster.

Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond who fought in the Desmond Rebellions, and
Tyrone's Rebellion

Image: Public Domain
The original Irish name when it was inhabited was Illaunaroon. This is derived from the Irish Oileán-a-rún, with a-rún, pronounced 'a roon' a term of affection. So the name roughly means 'my dear' or 'my loved island'. The mainland pier Coornagillagh Quay takes its name from the Irish Cuar-na-gcailleach, bay of the cormorants. Cailleach-dubh, meaning 'black nun', is one of the names of the cormorant.

The earldom of Ormond was originally created in 1328 for James Butler. Thereafter the earls took significant roles in the government of Ireland and kept a tradition of loyalty to the English crown and to English custom. This made them mortal enemies of the Gaelic chieftains of this area that, during the medieval period, was the territory of the historic family of O’Sullivan Beare. They controlled this area from the castle of Ardea, which overlooks Lehid Harbour a mile and a half to the southwest. It was in Ardea Castle that Dónal Cam is believed to have been with most of his army at the time of the Siege of Dunboy - see Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour Click to view haven.

He was waiting on a fleet of ships with an army from Spain to commence a counteroffensive. To his great disappointment, in 1602, only one Spanish ship vessel ever arrived. It landed supplies of money and ammunition at this castle. It only assisted him and his supporters to sustain a series of guerrilla actions against the English forces from the mountains for the following six months. Towards the end of the year, while camped in a valley outside Glengarriff, all his livestock was seized. Knowing his people could not survive the winter, Dónal Cam then led them on the epic Long March to Leitrim. Of the 1,000 who set out, only thirty-five arrived at the castle of the O’Rourkes in Breifne a fortnight later. Dónal Cam O’Sullivan Beare was the only Irish chieftain refused a pardon by Elizabeth I or her successor, James I.

O'Sullivan Bere
Image: Public Domain
The castle was surrendered to the English, and then re-granted to those of the O’Sullivans who pledged loyalty to the Crown. However, it was subsequently destroyed on Cromwell’s orders in 1643 and the family were obliged to rent their former property. The lands continued to be passed down the generations. It is recorded that one member of the sept, Darby O’Sullivan, aged 103, requested a renewal of the lease from the Earl of Shelburne in 1793.

Ormand Island was populated throughout this period. An account from the middle of the 17th century was of a nobleman Robert Orpen who went into hiding here with it would seem a rather extraordinarily committed wife. The account goes… "He had been a merchant in Cork, but, having become embarrassed, had the misfortune to kill a bailiff who attempted to arrest him. Afterwards, he resided at Ormond's Island in the river of Kenmare, where at that period it would have been impossible to arrest him. It was on the occasion of a person endeavouring to force the door of the room where he was that his wife placed her back against the door, and, though the bayonets were thrust through the door, she had the fortitude to maintain her position till her husband effected his escape."


Lehid Harbour beneath Ardea Castle
Image: Michael Harpur


Ormand Island became unpopulated for a long time after this and no one was recorded to be living on it during the Famine. The 1901 census records a family of three living here, Patrick Casey aged 66; Katie aged 25 and Jeremiah aged 22. Farming was obviously the mainstay of their existence but in all likelihood fishing too. But, like Robert Orpen, Jeremiah fell foul of the law. He had thrown a stone that had inflicted various facial injuries and a broken nasal bone of a Patrick O’Sullivan at a Kilmakilloge pattern. But with no stalwart wife to bar entry, he was duly arrested, charged and jailed.


Ormond Island
Image: Michael Harpur


Nowadays Ormond Island is a very out of the way small island. Waisted in the middle and drumlin like it is easily walked. It has no residents now and is grazed by cattle who cross the connecting causeway at low tide. The island has the remains of two ruins on the island. One with outbuildings is located in the attractive ticket of silver birch in the waisted area near the middle. It would have once been a fine two-storied farmhouse. The other marks a landing spot at the east end of the island.


Lobster boats in the harbour
Image: Michael Harpur


One of three castles owned by O‘Sullivan- Bere Clan, Ardea Castle lies in ruins overlooking the inlet, from just above Lehid Harbour. The cliff on which it stood has eroded in recent years and all that is left are fragments of the external walls. It is an hour's walk (5km) from the harbour and difficult to find because it is completely overgrown and difficult to access.


Small lobster boats drying at Coornagillagh Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Alternatively, Lehid Harbour at the foot of the cliffs is accessible by tender with a stalwart outboard, 3 miles, in settled weather cut the walk dramatically. But it is worth the trek as it is a touchstone in the history of the nation and it occupies a bold and romantic situation on a lofty cliff. Once found and close to it, those who venture there will be rewarded with breath-taking views over the inlet.


From a boating point of view Ormond's Harbour is an out of the way sequestered
location

Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating point of view, Ormond's Harbour is an out of the way and unremarkable spot. But tucked into the south shore it is remarkably protected and could provide a wonderful contrast to the busy town of Kenmare.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities save for the quays and road access. A piped water supply exists at gate on the southeast corner of Ormond’s Island.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored in Ormond's Harbour.


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