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Lawrence Cove

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Overview





Lawrence Cove is located on Ireland’s southwest coast, near the entrance and on the north shore of Bantry Bay. It is situated on Bere Island’s northeastern shoreline entered from the highly protected area of water called Berehaven that lies between Bear (Bere) Island and the mainland to the north. It offers a choice of pontoon berths and an anchorage in a peaceful and out of the way location.

Lawrence Cove is located on Ireland’s southwest coast, near the entrance and on the north shore of Bantry Bay. It is situated on Bere Island’s northeastern shoreline entered from the highly protected area of water called Berehaven that lies between Bear (Bere) Island and the mainland to the north. It offers a choice of pontoon berths and an anchorage in a peaceful and out of the way location.

The anchorage, with moorings provided, offers shelter from all weather conditions except for strong northerly winds. However complete protection may be found by moving into the small very well run marina that is deeper into the cove. Although there are several dangers in approach, daylight access is straightforward at any state of the tide, within the protected Bearhaven waters.
Please note

Vessels over 15 metres LOA, carrying draught of more than 2 metres should anchor off abrest of Turk Islet. A nighttime visit to the marina would not be advisable as the cove is rocky all-round. It would be best to anchor outside.




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Keyfacts for Lawrence Cove
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableShop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableLaundry 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 areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: harbour fees may be charged

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
January 24th 2022

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableShop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableLaundry 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 areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaBus service available in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: harbour fees may be charged



Marina +353 87 9125930      rachelsherig@gmail.com     lawrencecovemarina.ie      Ch.16/M/37 [Lawrence Cove Marina]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 38.069' N, 009° 49.520' W

The outer head of the marina pontoon.

What is the initial fix?

The following Lawrence Cove initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 38.446' N, 009° 49.304' W
This is immediately outside the marked fairway between the No. 3 starboard buoy, Fl G 2s, moored to the north of Ardagh Point and the No. 2 port buoy, Fl.R.4s moored to the northwest of Turk Island.


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. Use the directions provided for Castletownbere Click to view haven, also known as Castletown Berehaven, for approaches to Berehaven.

  • Making for the No.1 starboard buoy, Fl.G.2s, to avoid Palmer Rock.

  • Follow the marked fairway in between the No. 3 starboard buoy, Fl G 2s.


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 Lawrence Cove for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Lonehort Harbour - 1.1 nautical miles E
  2. Mill Cove - 1.9 nautical miles NW
  3. Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 3.1 nautical miles WNW
  4. Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 3.7 nautical miles W
  5. Adrigole - 5 nautical miles NE
  6. Ballynatra (Trá Ruaim) Cove - 5.2 nautical miles SSE
  7. Dooneen Pier - 5.6 nautical miles SE
  8. Kilcrohane Pier - 6.1 nautical miles SE
  9. Ballycrovane Harbour - 6.7 nautical miles NW
  10. Ardgroom Harbour - 7.4 nautical miles NNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Lonehort Harbour - 1.1 miles E
  2. Mill Cove - 1.9 miles NW
  3. Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 3.1 miles WNW
  4. Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 3.7 miles W
  5. Adrigole - 5 miles NE
  6. Ballynatra (Trá Ruaim) Cove - 5.2 miles SSE
  7. Dooneen Pier - 5.6 miles SE
  8. Kilcrohane Pier - 6.1 miles SE
  9. Ballycrovane Harbour - 6.7 miles NW
  10. Ardgroom Harbour - 7.4 miles NNW
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?
Lawrence Cove
Image: Adrian O'Neill


Lawrence Cove is situated on the north shoreline of Bere Island 1½ miles to the west of Lonehort Point Bere Island's eastern extremity. It is entered between Ardagh Point and Turk Islet and recedes into the island for about a ½ mile. Chiefly used for naval and military purposes when the island was a British Naval base it is now the island's main harbour and the terminal for one of its two ferry services. The island's main village of Rerrin (Raerainn), is located toward the southeastern end of the cove and a full-service marina is located in the south part of this cove.


All weather protection may be obtained in Lawrence Cove Marina
Image: Graham Rabbits


Lawrence Cove provides good shelter to leisure craft in all winds except the north. Four visitors' buoys are laid in the outer western part of the cove, south by southeast of Ardnagh Point, and it is possible to anchor inside of these. It is also possible to anchor within the entrance northward of the tank island in 5 to 6 metres clear of the pathway of the small car ferry.


Lawrence Cove Marina provides a safe berth in all winds
Image: Graham Rabbits


All-weather shelter can be found in the 44 berth marina located in the southwest corner of the cove but it is best to contact the marina and arrange the berth in advance. The marina has a 90-metre long pontoon and caters for draughts of 3.0 to 3.5 metres.


How to get in?
The recess of Lawrence Cove as seen from Hungary Hill
Image: kit0g


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overview for Mizen Head to Loop Head Route location for seaward approaches and the approaches to Bearhaven are covered in the Castletownbere Click to view haven entry, also known as Castletown Bearhaven.


The recess of Lawrence Cove as seen from Bearhaven
Image: Burke Corbett


On close approaches from the east keep at least 400 metres off when rounding Palmer Point to clear the off-lying Palmer Rock. Palmer Rock extends 300 metres off and has 1.8 metres of water over it. Another rock, with 1.6 metres of cover, lies about 150 metres north of Turk Island. Although described as 2 metres high, Turk Island is in fact 6 metres high but still difficult to identify when viewed from seaward. Making for the No.1 starboard buoy, Fl.G.2s, to the north of Ardagh Point until the No. 3 and No. 2 bous draws forward of the beam will clear Palmer Rock. The western approach is clear of off-lying obstructions from Bere Island to within 200 metres.


Initial fix location The initial fix is set immediately outside the start of the marked fairway between the No. 3 starboard buoy, Fl G 2s, moored to the north of Ardagh Point and the No. 2 port buoy, Fl.R.4s moored to the northwest of Turk Island. Make south by southeastward to follow the three further buoys lead into the marina from here, one starboard and two port hand marks.

At this point, it is also possible to simply steer 200 metres to the southwest to pick up the outer seasonal visitor moorings. These are situated south by southeast of Ardnagh Point in the cove below the point. These are four 15 ton seasonal visitor moorings in 3 metres of water that are large, coloured bright yellow and labelled VISITOR.

Lawrence’s Cove - Four visitor moorings position: 51° 38.200’N 09° 42.200’W.

A good anchorage may also be had in the cove between the visitors' moorings and the shore.


Car ferry rounding the rock island pier
Image: Burke Corbett


Before proceeding further southward into the cove have a lookout for the small eastern car ferry that runs from the 'Pontoon' pier in Lough Beal to its slip inside the reef on the south-eastern shore. It either chooses a route around the islet or, at high water, cuts across a central gap in the reef that is marked by a pole. If it is crossing stand back so as not impede its path. Do not be surprised to see the ferries cut inside the starboard buoys No.1 and No.3.

Those intending on anchoring closer in should proceed in and anchor within the entrance before the narrows, to the north or northeast of the tank island in 5 to 6 metres. But it is essential not to anchor in such a fashion as imped the ferry operation.


The channel to the marina from the narrows opening around the western
headland

Image: Burke Corbett


Those visiting the marina should stay in the marked channel steering a central path through the narrows keeping at least 100 metres off the western shore to starboard progressing in. This avoids an outlying rock with 2 metres LAT over it just off the western mouth of the creek that is marked by the No.5 buoy starboard buoy.



The rocky ledge commencing from the eastern shore
Image: Burke Corbett


Once around the headland that forms the west side of the entrance, a rocky ledge will be seen extending south-westward from the eastern shore to a small 9-metre high islet that marks its extremity.


The pole marking the gap that provides access to the Rerrin ferry slip
Image: Burke Corbett


The islet has a detached pier on its southwest end and a large conspicuous rusty cylinder and on occasion some IALA buoys on the dry. The connecting ledge dries entirely at low water except for a small central gap that has 0.4 metres of water LAT.


The islet reveals itself at the extremity of the ledge
Image: Burke Corbett


The ledge is marked by the No.4 port buoy, Fl.R.3s and the gap that the ferry occasionally uses is marked by a pole.


The channel between the reef and islet and the western shore
Image: Burke Corbett


The inlet narrows as this small islet is approached but it is deep. Approach the islet keeping within 50 metres off of the western shore, where no less than 5 metres will be found, and pass midway between the islet to port, and the western shore to starboard.


The ferry rounding the islet and making for the Rerrin Ferry Slip
Image: EchoIndia BravoYankeeFoxtrot External link


There is a rock with 1.5 metres over it, marked by an isolated danger mark, yellow post with cross marks, just off the seaward end of the long pontoon.


The isolated danger mark, the No.6 buoy, and the pier on the rock islet seen
from the pontoon

Image: Paul Williams


Haven location Proceed as directed by the berthing officer to the marina berth in the southwest end of the creek. The least depth on the way will be 2.5 metres. The diesel berth is at the outer end of the first northeast/southwest facing pontoon that carries 3 metres of water.


Lawrence Cove Marina as seen at dusk
Image: Paul Williams


Vessels that can take-to-the-hard may venture across to the old quay on the east side of Lawrence's Cove at high water. The ferry to the mainland uses a slip there and routes past the marina.


Morning view out the approach channel to the marina to Hungry Hill
Image: Graham Rabbits


Although very convenient for Rerrin it can only be advised in settled conditions as the old quay dries to rock.


Why visit here?
It is uncertain how Lawrence Cove, the apostrophe after 'Lawrence' has been dropped, acquired its name. It was most likely given the name by the English forces when they built the quay first quay here following the arrival of a French invasion fleet in the bay, in 1796. It may also be named after St Lawrence who become the patron saint of comedians and cooks. He acquired this patronage when he defied Roman tormenters putting him to death, by a slow roasting alive on a gridiron, with the quip "You can turn me over. I am done on this side".


Bere Island as seen from the summit of Hungry Hill
Image: Olivier Riché via CC BY-SA 2.0


Bere Island, in Irish Oiléan Béarra meaning 'Beara’s island' origin is more certain. Until the 13th-century, the island was called Ins Greagraidhe after its inhabitants, the tribe of Crecaighe. It then bore the name An tOileán Mór meaning 'the big island'. It was then renamed Berehaven in honour of a Spanish princess called Beara the daughter of Heber Mor, King of Castile when she married an Irish king of Munster, Mogh Nuadat. Considerable traffic prevailed between Spain and the inhabitants residing between Baltimore and Berehaven at this time. And it was commonplace for Spanish colonists to settle down along the coast and intermarried with the original settlers. Despite this it is officially called An tOileán Mór meaning 'the big island', which is very fitting as Bere Island is the largest of the eight islands off the west coast of Cork. Largely due to its strategic location, the island has a deep and varied history.

O'Sullivan Bere
Image: Public Domain
This rich early archaeological legacy can be experienced today in its sites dating from the Bronze Age through to Medieval times. A pointed stone tool belonging to the late Mesolithic Period was recovered from Berehaven during dredging works for scallops. Surviving prehistoric remains in the region are dominated by Bronze Age sites. Standing stones can be found at Ardagh, Ballynakilla, and Greenane and the northern shoreline of Berehaven at Derrymihin West, Rodeen and Ballard. There is a wedge Tomb at Ardagh and a fullacht fiadh at Derrycreeveen and close to the shoreline at Thornhill on the northern side of Berehaven. Early Medieval coastal settlement ringforts and souterrains have been recorded on Bere Island at Greenane, Ballynakilla, Ardagh, Cloonaghlin West, and Derrycreeveen. Lonehort Harbour on the south-eastern side of Bere Island provides archaeological evidence for Viking activity in Berehaven.

In the Middle Ages, it became the property of the O'Sullivan Bere clan and remained so until the power of the Gaelic chieftains was finally broken in 1602. Bere Island played its part in this defeat when Sir George Carew landed his army in Lonehort Harbour Click to view haven and ordered a road to be built across the island to transport the pro-English forces to Dunboy Bay Click to view haven; noted in the entries of these havens. This may have been the first military encounter for Bere Island, but it would not be the last as the arrival of a French invasion fleet from Brest in 1796 would change the island dramatically.


End of the Irish Invasion (etching)
Image: Public Domain


The French fleet of 43 ships and 15,000 were led by General Hoche under the direction of Wolfe Tone the Irish leader of the United Irishmen. The expedition was dogged by some of the worst weather seen in decades that scattered the fleet and made the situation impossible in Bantry Bay. For six days the French battled against the eastern storms been unable to approach the shore without severe risk of being destroyed on the rocky coast. At times their ships were "close enough to toss a biscuit onshore" wrote Wolfe Tone bitterly in his diary of the failed mission as they lay anchored near to Bere Island. The Admiral’s launch of La Résolue even landed on the island, where it was subsequently captured. Losing their anchors as their chains snapped, many ships were forced to run before the wind and were scattered into the Western Approaches. Finally, with 10 of their ships lying at the bottom of Bantry Bay, the remainder of the fleet turned for home. The Admiral's longboat was left behind on Bere Island where it was stored in Bantry house until the 1940s. It is now known as the 'Bantry Boat' and preserved in the National Museum of Ireland as the oldest surviving French Naval vessel in the world.


Bere Island's No.4 Ardagh Martello
Image: Hurdy Gurdy


The event, known as 'the invasion that never was', was in fact a close-run thing for the English Administration. They were taken entirely unawares and the invasion could very well have succeeded had it not been for unprecedented weather. In August 1798 there was a further attempted invasion, at Killala in County Mayo, following the Irish Rebellion of that year. With Britain at war with France, the close call in Bantry Bay and the possibility of more attempts, the authorities were shocked into taking immediate action. Seeing the value of the Berehaven, its susceptibility to attack and its ability to provide a secure anchorage for the British fleet to resist the approach of the enemy, they set about fortifying Bere Island to the hilt.


1802 depiction of the Royal Navy fleet in Berehaven
Image: Public Domain


This involved the erection of five Martello towers, a signal tower, a large barracks to house 150 soldiers, storehouses, and other public works. The towers, all circular in shape, were made in England and the complete placement of stones were all shipped in dressed and ready to set in place. It was for the purpose of landing the stones for these fortifications that a quay was first built in Lawrence Cove and it quickly became the principal island harbour. As early as 1802 a fleet of nineteen vessels was recoded to be lying in Berehaven, including many ships that fought at the Nile and would fight at Trafalgar. Interestingly, sailors of the HMS Temeraire (of Turner fame) and other men from some of the fleet mutinied while anchored here.


Naval Postcard circa 1914
Image: Public Domain
The Bere island defences were reported to be finished by February 1805. This would make the Bere Island towers the earliest to be completed in a chain that would ultimately consist of 81 towers, running south from Dublin to eventually completely encircle Ireland. But after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, there was no more need for these defences and they were slowly abandoned. With the exception of the 1850 construction of the Ardnakinna beacon and then Lighthouse, there was a period of military stagnation. However, its effects remained on Bere Island’s domestic population. Most notably and unlike the other islands off the Irish coast, Bere’s large population were all English speakers and the Irish language had entirely ceased to be used as early as 1885. At the time of the 1841 census, this population was a sizable 2,122 and about half of the population were involved in the busy fishing port that Lawrence Cove had become at this point. It was at this time home to 16 hookers, of 12 tons, and 90 yawls, of 3 or 4 tons each, that employing about 1,000 people exclusively in the fishery. But despite this ability to make a living from the sea the population had decreased to 1,454 but by the census of 1851 which was due to The Great Famine. The population decline continued in line with the national trend for emigration throughout the 19th and 20th centuries till it is about 10% of its seminal years.

Dreadnoughts in Bearhaven in 1914
Image: Public Domain
The island military activities however recommenced in 1898 when the enclosed water of Bearhaven Harbour was destined to be a fortified naval base for Queen Victoria’s Atlantic fleet of Dreadnaughts. The British Military raised a compulsory purchase order on large areas of the island in order to construct additional fortifications. Most notably Lonehort, a military fortification dating from 1899 and housing two six-inch guns, and infantry trench, engine house and various underground structures – see Lonehort Harbour Click to view haven. The tramway seen on the quay was for transporting stores and munitions arriving by ship or from the terminal on the mainland at Mill Cove. The hostel was where the British Admiral kept his glass on the fleet. In 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that followed the Irish War of Independence, the British withdrew from most of Ireland except for three deepwater Treaty Ports, at Bearhaven, Queenstown renamed Cobh, and Lough Swilly, which were retained as sovereign bases until 1938 – see Castletownbere Click to view haven.


One of the remaining 6" guns of the Lonehort Battery
Image: © Catherine Bushe


Today Bere Island is a much quieter place with a population of about a couple of hundred permanent residents with 95 continuously occupied properties, and scores more summer holiday homes. The ghost structures of the imperial build-up, the Martello towers, signal towers, military barracks, and the fortification that still hosts two six-inch guns, can all still be seen. Being a small island, roughly 11kms x 5kms in size, it is a size that is manageable for walkers to freely explore.


A safe berth with all facilities in a wonderful cruising area
Image: Paul Williams


The island is a quiet paradise and the stunning vistas northward to the mainland's towering Slieve Miskish and Caha Mountain ranges on the Beara Peninsula are spectacular. Yet situated 2 km offshore from the town of Castletownbere, appearing like the big city, by comparison, the island retains a distinct and easy charm of rural places disconnected from cities and crowds. It is a peaceful, tranquil, unspoilt and undeveloped spot with scenery and sunsets that will take your breath away. The walks on Bere Island are comprised of Ardnakinna Loop (3-4 hours) and a shorter East End Loop (1-2 hours). To complete both, allow 5-6 hours and allow time to drink in the views.


Lawrence Cove Marina pontoon at dusk
Image: Paul Williams


From a boating standpoint, Lawrence Cove Marina is the only marina between Kinsale and Dingle, and it provides an excellent base or a coastal cruising stepping stone from which to explore Bantry Bay, Adrigole, Glengarriff and Bantry Harbour are all accessible within a few miles. Moreover, around Three Castles Head, are the havens of Dunmanus Bay that are easily accessed from here, plus a easy day sail takes a vessel around Mizen Head those of Crookhaven, Schull and Baltimore etc. Likewise, to the north, the Kenmare River and Dingle Bay are within easy reach. In addition to its stepping stone capability, it is a safe secure place to leave a boat for a period, with plenty of serious cruising waiting well within range on return.


What facilities are available?
The marina has fuel, water, WiFi, electricity, showers and clothes washing facilities. A very useful service with the showers is that they use standard 2 Euro coins. Hence if a vessel arrives outside office hours the facilities are still accessible as there is no necessity to obtain dedicated tokens from the office. Basic shops, post office and essential provisions are within twenty minutes walk from the marina and there are 2 pubs and 2 restaurants on the island. It is served by a car ferry which can carry light vehicles, and this is met by private mini bus to Cork.

There is a travel-lift crane providing capability for below-waterline repairs, and secure over-wintering storage ashore. Should you choose to do this you can leave the boat in care and take the ferry to pick up a connection to Cork (or Cork airport which is a 2 hour drive).


Any security concerns?
Never an incident known to have occurred in Lawrence Cove.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford.



















Lawrence Cove and Lonehort Harbour opposite



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