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Bantry Harbour

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Overview





Bantry harbour is an anchorage that is situated under the lea of Whiddy Island in the eastern most corner of Bantry Bay. Lying off Bantry town in Co. Cork on the southwest coast of Ireland the anchorage offers straightforward access on any state of the tide, in all conditions, and it may be approached from either side of the island. The northern route round Whiddy Island is preferred with a deep water channel marked by large lit buoys to the oil terminal. The harbour offers excellent all round shelter and good holding in mud.

Please note that east of Whiddy Island you will find a host of unlit oyster and mussel fishing rafts plus, in autumn, shrimp pots. These floating structures, some mere lines of barrels, are low, often unmarked and sometimes hard to see. The harbour commissioners do not allow these to encroach on the channel but they are always close by. As a result it is not advisable to make a night entry or in very poor visibility without local knowledge.



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Keyfacts for Bantry Harbour
Facilities
Water available via tapGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableLaundry 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 locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingSailing 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 pierNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location

Protected sectors

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

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
May 10th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableSlipway availableLaundry 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 locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingSailing 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 pierNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 40.921' N, 009° 27.888' W

Approximately 200 meters northwest of the harbour entrance.

What is the initial fix?

The following Bantry initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 42.547' N, 009° 28.794' W
This waypoint is 300 metres north of Whiddy Point East which is Whiddy Island’s north-eastern most point.


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.


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 Bantry Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Glengarriff Harbour - 2.9 miles NW
  2. Dunbeacon Harbour - 3.2 miles SW
  3. Dunbeacon Cove - 4.4 miles SW
  4. Kitchen Cove - 5 miles SW
  5. Adrigole - 5.9 miles W
  6. Rossbrin Cove - 5.9 miles S
  7. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 6.1 miles S
  8. Schull Harbour (Skull) - 6.1 miles SSW
  9. Horse Island - 6.1 miles S
  10. Reena Dhuna - 6.3 miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Glengarriff Harbour - 2.9 miles NW
  2. Dunbeacon Harbour - 3.2 miles SW
  3. Dunbeacon Cove - 4.4 miles SW
  4. Kitchen Cove - 5 miles SW
  5. Adrigole - 5.9 miles W
  6. Rossbrin Cove - 5.9 miles S
  7. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 6.1 miles S
  8. Schull Harbour (Skull) - 6.1 miles SSW
  9. Horse Island - 6.1 miles S
  10. Reena Dhuna - 6.3 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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How to get in?
Yacht on a mooring in Bantry Harbour
Photo: Tourism Ireland


Bantry Harbour and town lies at the head of Bantry Bay, a deep-water gulf extending for 30 km (19 mi) to the west. Situated southeast of Whiddy Island it provides shelter from all winds and has well marked deep water approaches. Bantry Bay Port Company officially opened the new Bantry Harbour Marina in 2017. The Inner Harbour Development will provide 40 short-stay berths with convenient access and facilities on the town pier.

Bantry Harbour Marina under construction
Image: Jack O'Shea


Convergance Point Use southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location for approaches to the area and final approaches may be made around Whiddy Island from the north or west.

Northern Approach The northern approach to the harbour is very straightforward, but be aware of a ruined and badly lit oil terminal jetty 500 metres north of Whiddy Island oil terminal. Once you pass this and round Whiddy Island’s most north-eastern point, all that is required is to follow the channel markers in and then drop down on the anchorage.

Whiddy Point East may be rounded close in but all other islands in the harbour are generally foul all round, out to 300 metres in some cases. From Whiddy Point East you simply track the markers into the channel picking up and leaving the Horse Lt buoy to starboard, Gurteenroe to port and then Chapel to starboard.

Horse Lt buoy - Fl. G. 6s – position: 51° 42.142’N 009° 27.795’W
Gurteenroe Lt buoy Fl.R.3s – position: 51° 41.841’N 009° 27.822’W
Chapel Lt buoy F1.G.2s – position: 51° 41.663’N 009° 27.963’W

Then progress on south to the anchorages off the town in deep water all the way. Do not pass close to any rafts you may encounter as floating mooring lines may extend some distance.

Western Approach The western entrance may only be used in good conditions as it has a 2-metre bar just seaward of the narrowest point, that sometimes breaks. Tidal streams in the western pass reach 1.5 knots, whereby comparison you would only find up to half a knot in the Northern entrance. Also outside the bar note Cracker Rock that has only 1.7 metres of cover.

Cracker Rock – position: 51° 40.390’N 009° 30.459’W

If entering via this route come to the south of Cracker rock by steering towards Relane Point keeping about 150 metres off the shoreline. When you can see the south side of Reenbeg Point come in-line with the high water mark on South Beach, turn on to 063° (it may be noted on your chart) and continue in until it narrows. You can then take a mid-channel route. This transit takes you between the shore and Cracker Rock.


Haven location Come alongside a berth in the marina or anchor northwest of the town of the old ruined town pier but keep 200 metres off as there is foul ground all around it. An alternative is to anchor outside of the main pier. In both cases make sure to keep clear of the fairway where you can expect a wash from the Whiddy Island ferry.

To escape this you could move 600 metres west and anchor outside local yachts to the northwest of Bantry house. Or alternatively, you could select a quieter location off Rabbit Island that lies alongside Whiddy Island. There you may anchor 200 metres southwest of Rabbit Island or 100 metres to the north in 2-3 metres.

With permission from the HM it may be possible to moor on the outside of the town pier, for short periods in good weather. However, this is subject to wash.

Bantry Bay chart overviews and navigation overviews are available on bantryport.com


Why visit here?
Bantry (Irish: Beanntraí) claims an ancient connection to the 6th-century saint, Breandán (Naomh Bréanainn) the Navigator. In Irish lore, Saint Breandán was the first person to discover America.

The town of Bantry is also associated with the Irish Rebellion of 1798, is the place where an earlier attempt to land and launch a rebellion was made by a French fleet, including Wolfe Tone in December 1796. Tone, a Dublin-born Irishman, led the United Irishmen in what he hoped to be a re-run of the French Revolution to overthrow British rule. This was to be assisted by French Republicans, and an invasion force arrived in Bantry in 1796.

The formidable French fleet consisting of 43 ships carrying 15,000 troops had divided in mid-Atlantic into smaller groups to avoid interception by the Royal Navy, with orders to reform at Bantry Bay. However, as with the Spanish Armada in Elizabethan times, it was dreadful weather that confounded the enterprise. For six days the French battled against storms but at times their ships were "close enough to toss a biscuit on shore". Finally, with 10 of their ships lying at the bottom of Bantry Bay, the remainder of the fleet turned for home.

This was the second French attempt on Bantry Bay. One hundred years earlier in 1689 French ships sailed up the Bay in an ill-fated attempt to restore James II to the British throne.

During the Irish War of Independence/The Tan Wars the 5th Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army was very active in Bantry, and many remained during the "Civil War" that followed. Those who died between 1920 and 1923 'In Defence of the Republic' are listed in Wolfe Tone Square. Bantry’s rich history is celebrated at the Bantry Museum, run by the Bantry Local History Society.

Whiddy Island is at the head of the bay near the south shore. It was formerly an important oil terminal owned by Gulf Oil and was its terminus for Ireland. ConocoPhillips now maintains a Single Point Mooring (SPM) at the Whiddy Island oil terminal. On January 8th, 1979 the oil tanker Betelgeuse exploded killing all 42 crew members as well as seven employees at the terminal. The jetty at the terminal was seriously damaged, but fortunately, the storage tanks were not affected. Nevertheless, 250 employees at the terminal, one of the largest employers in the region, lost their jobs. There was a significant environmental impact, and the local fishing industry was also affected. Some small tankers offload oil to the area, but no longer moor by the old oil terminal.

Bantry House overlooking the anchorage
Image: Tourism Ireland


Bantry House, home since 1739 to the White family, the former Earl of Bantry, is located south of the town and provides a gracious venue for the prestigious West Cork Chamber Music Festival, a 10-day event that takes place in early July.

The town is an important economic centre to the region. Apart from tourism, fishing is one of the main industries and, as you can imagine from all the rafts, mussels are one of its noted harvests. Every year a mussel fair is held during the second weekend in May with lots of music, street entertainment and, of course, seafood.


What facilities are available?
Bantry is a busy bustling holiday town offering good pubs, restaurants and hotels plus the best shopping and transport centre on this coast. Water is available on the pier also petrol and diesel, and locally there are marine engineers and some repairers.

Buses are available to Cork, Glengariff, Castletownbear and (summer only) Kenmare, Killarney, and Clonakilty. Skibbereen is 30 KM away on the N71 main road.

The nearest international airport is Cork Airport. Bantry also has a small privately owned airfield called Bantry Aerodrome.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred in Bantry Harbour.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Burke Corbett, Mike Searle, Andreas F. Borchert, Pam Brophy, Warren Buckley, Schorle and Jonathan Billinger.


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





















Aerial overview




A yacht sailing out of the harbour area and into Bantry Bay




Views of the town and harbour



A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:


Oisin Creagh wrote this review on Aug 10th 2017:

A new marina has just been opened (August 2017) by Bantry Port Company, inside the Harbour wall, off the quayside in Bantry Harbour with up to 50 berths, and presumably a good few of these for visitors.

Average Rating: Unrated


Michael Harpur wrote this review on May 21st 2018:

Thank you Oisin,
I have updated the main body of the text.

Average Rating: Unrated

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