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Ballyhack

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Overview





Ballyhack is located on the southeast coast of Ireland eight miles within and on the eastern shores of Waterford Harbour. It is a small fishing village and ferry terminal that has a small drying harbour. The harbour accommodates shallow-draft vessels that can take to the mud and deeper draft vessels may anchor outside.

Ballyhack harbour offers complete protection from all winds, and vessels anchored outside will find it a good location in almost all reasonable conditions. The wide, unhindered and well-marked Waterford Harbour estuary provides safe access, night or day and at any stage of the tide.
Please note

Tidal streams are a prime consideration within Waterford Harbour; a strong adverse current will make for slow progress, conversely, a favourable passage current will make the estuary quickly traversable.




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Keyfacts for Ballyhack
Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
Set 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: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
-1 metres (-3.28 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
April 16th 2020

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres


Nature
Set 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: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



HM  +353 51 301400     HM  +353 87 2598297      Ch.14/10/13 [Waterford Port]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 14.707' N, 006° 58.133' W

This is on the head of the southern pier.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ballyhack Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
52° 14.711' N, 006° 58.236' W
This is on the edge of the channel 100 metres west of the entrance.


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. Seaward approaches, along with the run up the harbour, are covered in the Port of Waterford Click to view haven entry.


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 Ballyhack for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Passage East - 0.2 miles SSW
  2. Arthurstown - 0.4 miles ESE
  3. Seedes Bank - 0.5 miles NW
  4. Buttermilk Point - 0.7 miles NNW
  5. Duncannon - 1.1 miles SE
  6. Cheekpoint - 1.2 miles NNW
  7. Little Island - 2.2 miles W
  8. Dollar Bay - 2.3 miles SE
  9. Creadan Head - 2.4 miles S
  10. Templetown Bay - 2.9 miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Passage East - 0.2 miles SSW
  2. Arthurstown - 0.4 miles ESE
  3. Seedes Bank - 0.5 miles NW
  4. Buttermilk Point - 0.7 miles NNW
  5. Duncannon - 1.1 miles SE
  6. Cheekpoint - 1.2 miles NNW
  7. Little Island - 2.2 miles W
  8. Dollar Bay - 2.3 miles SE
  9. Creadan Head - 2.4 miles S
  10. Templetown Bay - 2.9 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?
Ballyhack
Image: Michael Harpur


Ballyhack is a small village situated on the eastern shore of the Waterford Harbour. The village is fronted by a small drying quay suitable for small fishing boats. It is the eastern terminus of a ferry service operates between Ballyhack and Passage East upon the opposite shore.


Ballyhack's drying harbour overlooked by its Norman Castle
Image: Tourism Ireland


Ballyhack harbour dries to 5 metres beyond the harbour walls where it then shelves steeply into the channel. Vessels intending to stay here need to arrive at high water and plan to take to the mud. The inner basin, with its west by southwest facing entrance, offers up to 1.5 metres on springs and 0.6 metres on neaps with depths increasing somewhat towards the entrance. It is also possible to come alongside the outsides of the walls of both piers. The outside walls provide an extra metre of water to the above inner depths. This extra depth provides a tidal visitor with maximum shore-time plus it is also possible to dry out on mud alongside the outside walls.

Although convenient for landing in Ballyhack and providing very good holding, anchoring off the quays is best thought of for temporary purposes only. During neaps and in fair conditions it makes for a serviceable berth but this is the narrowest part of the river and currents attain 3kn during springs and, although nothing to cause any unendurable hardship, a funnelled estuarial seaway can carry into the anchoring area off of the quays. However, one can stop and try it. Should it prove in any way uncomfortable a good night’s sleep is assured with a short ½ mile move up to Seedes Bank Click to view haven or, with the same distance again, Buttermilk Point Click to view haven.


How to get in?
Ballyhack as seen from the river
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the Port of Waterford Click to view haven for details of seaward approaches, entry to Waterford Harbour and the run up the estuary.

Ballyhack ferry crossing from Passage East
Image: Michael Harpur


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


Ballyhack ferry crossing to Passage East
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix, the about entrance is 100 metres eastward. Stand off the north wall, locally known as the 'Dock' that extends further than it appears. The final 5 metres of the wall has had its head knocked off and the remaining stump of the wall gets covered at half-tide. So when covered, it is easy to unwittingly clip the covered end stump.


North wall (left) with the stump covered but the South Wall's wraparound slip
remains visible

Image: Michael Harpur


The south wall of the inner basin has a slip that wraps around it, extending off both sides and its head. When entering (or leaving) the basin, or coming alongside this pier at high water, keep 2 metres off the wall to allow for this covered slip.


The inner berth on the South Quay with the Harbour Pilot alongside North Quay
Image: Michael Harpur



Haven location Of the two, the berth at the head of the south wall provides the best depth in Ballyhack, just inside of the ferry pylons. However, as it is boxed in by the ferry slip on the south end, it is best approached on a flood tide so a vessel may power into the current and not get pushed down upon the ferry slip. It is not possible to dry out near the root of the South pier, as deep in the ‘V’ between it and the ferry slip the bottom is made up of uneven rock.
Please note

There is a privately owned pier immediate south of Ballyhack that cannot be used and is clearly signposted as such

.


The outside berth on the south wall above the ferry terminal slip
Image: Michael Harpur


Deeper draft vessels may anchor west by northwest of the small harbour well clear of the car ferry area of operations. Depths of 3 to 4 metres will be found near the mooring buoys with excellent mud holding.
Please note

There are no public mooring buoys available here and what can be seen are private or owned by the commercial craft boatyard.




Why visit here?
Ballyhack, in Irish: Baile Each, is thought to have derived its name from the Irish words for stable Seasmhach joined with baile. Baile, anglicised to 'Bally', has several meanings: town, village, farm, home, or a small settlement. It is thought that Ballyhack would have meant 'place or town of the stable'.


Ballyhack Castle
Image: Tourism Ireland


The village is dominated by the sturdy five-storey tower house Ballyhack Castle that occupies the steep slope above the village. Holding a commanding position over the Waterford estuary the castle is thought to have been built around 1450 by the Knights Hospitallers of St John but it is believed the site was initially used as a Preceptory (a subordinate house or community of the Knights Templars of St. John of Jerusalem) as far back as the 12th-century. The Knights Templar then held the ferry rights by royal charter. Following the dissolution of the Templars by the Pope in 1312, their manors were handed over to their great rivals, the Knights Hospitallers.

Knight Hospitaller
Image: Public Domain
The Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Hospitallers, Order of Hospitallers, Knights of Saint John and Order of Saint John, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders during the Middle Ages. They were founded around 1023 to provide care for poor, sick or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the Western Christian conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade, the organisation became a religious and military order under its own Papal charter. The Knights Templar did not participate in this invasion since they were not permitted to harm fellow Christians. They were latterly introduced by Strongbow somewhere between 1172 - 1177 A.D.

With this order of warrior monks established in Ballyhack, the tiny village would have held enormous sway in the affairs of the busy river. By the latter end of the medieval period, Ballyhack was in the Cistercian estate of Dunbrody Abbey and the monks used it as a base from which to exploit the economic opportunities of the Waterford estuary as well as to protect the fishing community. It was during this period that the quays were largely built along the southern shore.


During the 17th-century 'Confederate Rebellion' the castle was a holdout for Royalist forces. Parliamentarian ships bombarded it in 1650 and a raiding party was sent ashore to burn the village and take it. The castle was then occupied by the Cromwellians who also took the corresponding fort at Passage to control the river. After the 'Confederate Rebellion' was put down it was decreed in the 1652 'Act of Settlement' that all landowners who had fought as Confederates were to lose their estates and receive lands in Connacht in exchange. Ballyhack Castle and was then used as the holding centre for these Confederates awaiting transportation. During this time the expression to 'go to Ballyhack' assumed portentous connotations and it became a place of disdain. In 1684 Robert Leigh observed... About 2 miles from Dunbrody, to the seaward, upon the River of Waterford, there is a creek and an old key [quay] at the bottom of a steep rock, called Ballihack; it is a sad place to look upon, and has not about half a dozen houses, and an old pile of a castle, besides a few cabins; but it is a place much frequented by passengers that ferry over there into Munster, to a place on that side called Passage, as also by seamen and the like, for ships often lie thereabouts in the river.


Ballyhack as depicted in 1862
Image: Public Domain


During the 19th-century Ballyhack's prospects picked up when it was the centre of the salmon fishery and ran a small trade in corn and pigs for the Waterford market. The village and its southern quays were improved during this time and the north quay was added to enclosed the harbour area. In Samuel Lewis’s 1837 'A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland' he described his experience of Ballyhack as... containing 258 inhabitants. This place is situated at the outlet of the rivers Barrow, Suir, and Nore, in Waterford harbour, and is chiefly supported by the shipping that anchors in the estuary, where, both at the quay and in the anchorage grounds, large vessels may ride securely in all states of the weather. It is a fishing station, and a small trade is carried out in corn and pigs ready for the Waterford market. Here are the ruins of a castle.


Ballyhack during Victorian times
Image: Public Domain


Very little has changed since. Where once it was a key anchoring ground for sailing ships the hamlet now centres around the comings and goings of the important ferry service that operates between Ballyhack and Passage East on the opposite Waterford shore. The small village contains a shop, a pub and a small quay for fishing boats.


The small harbour of Ballyhack as seen from the slip at its head
Image: Michael Harpur


Today Ballyhack Castle is a National Monument, in state care, and open to the public. It has been partially restored and houses a display dealing with the history of the Crusaders, Norman nobility and medieval monks. Visitors can visit its dungeon, murder hole, see its effigies and oratory.


Ballyhack fisherman today
Image: Tourism Ireland


From a boating point of view, Ballyhack is a good place to come ashore to acquire basic provisions a few strides from the pier. The pub in Ballyhack also now serves good bar food. It also has outside tables where it is possible to lazily overlook the comings and goings of the ferry and other traffic along the estuary.

Ballyhack Castle is open to visitors today
Image: Michael Harpur



What facilities are available?
There is a good pub and small shop at Ballyhack. Passage East also has a pub that offers food. If you do not fancy the tide with your dinghy you may take a foot passenger ride across on the car ferry or power across and day anchor at Passage East.

Waterford Airport is within 15 KM offering schedule flights to the UK and mainland Europe.


Any security concerns?
There are no reported security issues in the area. However if leaving the vessel unattended it is advisable to secure the vessel.


With thanks to:
John Carroll, Ballyhack, County Wexford, Ireland. Photography with thanks to Paul O'Farrell, Michael Harpur and Burke Corbett.







Passage East Ballyhack and vessels navigating the narrows between




Ballyhack Castle




A historic overview of the Castle plus the Knights Hospitallers and Templars in Wexford



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