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Courtown Harbour

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Overview





Courtown Harbour is situated on the northeastern coastline of county Wexford approximately ten miles south of Arklow on the east coast of Ireland. It offers an anchorage off a village harbour with a small basin. Medium and shallow draft vessels may enter into the basin and come alongside the harbour wall.

Good shelter is provided in southwest round through west to northwest outside, and smaller vessels will find very good protection inside. There is, however, an uncomfortable surge in anything from a force three from northeast round to southeast, and particularly so on an easterly. Access is straightforward as there are no offshore obstacles. However inner harbour access is achieved by passing between two closely spaced pierheads and a long channel. For this, the helmsman must be entirely confident in handling a vessel in a confined space.
Please note

Courtown Harbour should not be attempted in conditions from northeast round to southeast in any conditions of force four or above. Strong north-westerlies do produce a roll across the mouth of the harbour that is manageable, but caution is advised. Courtown harbour has no navigation lights and should not be attempted in the dark.




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Keyfacts for Courtown Harbour
Facilities
Top up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableShowers 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 areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Berth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periods

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
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Top up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableShowers 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 areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Berth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementQuick and easy access from open waterSailing Club baseSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: can get overwhelmed by visiting boats during peak periods



Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 38.567' N, 006° 13.417' W

The end of the south pier at the harbour entrance.

What is the initial fix?

The following Courtown initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 38.567' N, 006° 12.667' W
This waypoint is 1000 metres east of the pierheads.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in eastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour 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 Courtown Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Cahore (Polduff) - 2.8 miles SSE
  2. Arklow - 5.9 miles NNE
  3. Wexford Harbour - 12.5 miles SSW
  4. Wicklow Harbour - 13.4 miles NNE
  5. Rosslare Bay (or South Bay) - 14.2 miles SSW
  6. Rosslare Europort (Rosslare Harbour) - 14.7 miles S
  7. Ballytrent - 16.2 miles S
  8. Carne - 16.7 miles S
  9. New Ross - 19 miles WSW
  10. Greystones - 19.3 miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Cahore (Polduff) - 2.8 miles SSE
  2. Arklow - 5.9 miles NNE
  3. Wexford Harbour - 12.5 miles SSW
  4. Wicklow Harbour - 13.4 miles NNE
  5. Rosslare Bay (or South Bay) - 14.2 miles SSW
  6. Rosslare Europort (Rosslare Harbour) - 14.7 miles S
  7. Ballytrent - 16.2 miles S
  8. Carne - 16.7 miles S
  9. New Ross - 19 miles WSW
  10. Greystones - 19.3 miles N
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?
Courtown Harbour
Image: Wexford County Council


The small harbour of Courtown is situated five miles to the northeast of Cahore Point and about midway between it and Kilmichael Point. It lies at the head of a two-mile deep bay that is generally rocky and of moderate elevation.

The southern Cahore Point with its little harbour is composed of sandbanks. It is fronted by a series of dangerous outlying banks with deep water inside and good channels between them leading up from Wexford harbour and Rosslare South Bay.

Kilmichael Point is low, with a rocky foreshore and three miles to the southwest of it is the round Tara Hill, rising to an elevation of 251 metres, making a conspicuous seamark. Arklow Rock, a rugged 100 high eminence with a significant Roadstone Jetty and quarry at the foot of the bay, will be seen 2 miles to the north of the point.


Courtown Harbour's approaches
Image: Wexford County Council


Initial fix location From the initial fix come directly west and locate the two pierheads. A yellow Outflow Buoy is moored off the harbour.

Courtown Outflow Buoy – Yellow Buoy Fl Y 10s position: 52° 38.437’N, 006° 12.975’W

Deeper and larger vessels may anchor off outside the harbour but shallower vessels can come inside. In most circumstances, the harbour is easily accessible and very pleasant. The channel is dredged regularly in the summer, and the above-stated metre LWS may vary as a result. It is unlikely to be dredged during winter where the draft may reduce to half a metre LWS or less especially so after heavy easterly winds.



Those entering the basin will find piers project east from the harbour and are on the south side of the basin. The southern pier extends about 10 metres beyond the northern. For best entry, line up the pierheads so you can see directly down the channel. Slowly move forward gauging the run of the current on the vessel, speeds can attain 2 knots on springs, then come straight in. The gap between the two pierheads is only 11 metres wide and it is essential to get this correct as the water on either side is shallow and a failed entrance is most likely to put a vessel up on the beach. Once inside the channel, the passage is confined to 11 metres of breath for the 200-metre long run. Turn to starboard for the inner basin at the inner end.


Haven location Inside the basin a metre of depth will be found alongside the walls in the southern half of the harbour. Courtown’s tidal range is so limited that the line adjustment is a light or negligible task when alongside. The harbour is a public amenity with free berthing available alongside the wall.

The northern half of the inner basin is entirely taken up with moorings. Occasional local boat owners depart their moorings and you are free to contact Courtown Sailing club members to ask permission for a short stay. If it is possible, they are very obliging.

Those staying outside will find good shelter in winds from southwest through east round to northwest anchored off at a distance of about 400 metres seaward of the pierheads. Depths of 5 to 7 metres will be found here in sand with very good holding. Land by tender in the harbour basin. In southwest gales, the best shelter will be found a couple of miles to the south on the north side of Rooney Rock, with Cahore Point in line.




Why visit here?
Courtown, in Irish Baile na Cúirte, meaning "homestead of the court". The name can be traced back to 1278 when Andrew Avenal had a lease of the Manor of ‘Curtun in Kinelahun’. This refers to the townland of Kiltennel that is adjacent to the village of Ballymoney and is situated between Courtown Harbour and the town of Gorey. The townland became home to the seat of Lord Courtown during the 18th and 19th centuries, and he became the prime promoter of the construction of the Courtown Harbour. The harbour developed in time to overshadow the original townland that provided it with its name.

Lord Courtown’s bill to construct the harbour dates an 1824 Act of Parliament that granted the necessary finance to enable the first construction. The original pier was built to the south at Breanoge Point opening to the northeast as suggested in 1819 by the nationally famous marine architect Alexander Nimmo. But this first construction was subject to silting and by 1833 the pier itself was breaking up. Between the years 1834 to 47 a new south pier was built at right angles to the shore, near the mouth of the Breanoge River, which was then followed by a new north pier. Once these were completed the harbour was deepened a sill was set in place and quays built. The harbour was largely completed by 1847 and immediately proved very useful to local boat owners.

In 1852 it was recorded that at least 20 sailboats and yawls were using the harbour. Each owner was required to pay an annual rent of a three ‘cast’ of Herrings for the privilege of spreading nets on the Burrow. There was a charge of one shilling for each occasion a boat used the harbour up to a maximum of £1 per annum. In 1852 it was noted that "not one but all paid freely" but the charge was subsequently abandoned due to the difficulty of collection. Since then the south pier was rebuilt and lengthened in 1871, new sluice/tidal gates were provided in 1891, and a partial rebuilding and lengthening of both piers was carried out in the 1960s. Despite this, the harbour’s present form has remained more or less the same as that of 1847.

The economic boost of the new harbour led to a small village developing with fishing being the primary economy of the village. However Courtown was by then already well known for its beaches, but the presence of the harbour made it popular as a fashionable destination, with people from Dublin and the midlands frequenting the village and beaches. Its attractiveness to the people of Dublin as a summer holiday resort increased after 1863 when the railway line from Dublin reached nearby Gorey.

Today Courtown has well established itself as a family-friendly seaside resort. In recent years significant urbanisation has taken place, especially in the Riverchapel area, just south of Courtown Harbour. Large housing estates are now home to commuters working in Dublin. The area where Courtown House stood is home to Courtown Golf Club and Kiltennel Church. The house itself was demolished in 1962 but the remains of his private church and cemetery can still be seen. The harbour village itself has changed very little in the past century.

From a boating perspective, Courtown Harbour is unusual in that it has open access from the Irish Sea. Most of the southeast coast is enclosed by sandbanks that are parallel to the shoreline from Dublin southwards. Courtown Harbour is situated south of the Arklow Bank and north of the Blackwater Bank providing approximately eight nautical miles of clear water. This makes it a great Irish landing point, or point of departure to the UK. It is also a great point to optimise the tides. One hour south of Courtown is the Rusk Channel and at high water Dover, this starts to run south at up to 3 knots making Courtown a useful staging point. Courtown itself is a major tourist destination with all the associated food, bars and restaurants plus a special focus on children’s amusements for those with a young family aboard.


What facilities are available?
There is a petrol station within a short stroll that also has a well provisioned supermarket. There are several pubs, restaurants, post office, laundry, etc. that are to be expected in a holiday destination.

A once a day (not Sundays) bus service operates to and from Gorey, departing in the morning and returning in the afternoon. On Mondays and Saturdays Bus Éireann route 379 operates and continues to Wexford via Curracloe. Route 879 operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays the service is provided by the Rural Roadrunner bus operated by Wexford Local Development. The nearest station is Gorey railway station, around 7 kilometres distant.


Any security concerns?
Courtown Harbour has had very few, if any, issues with vessels alongside the wall. However on busy bank holiday summer weekend you may get some mischievous youngsters about. A wise precaution is to loop your shore lines back into the vessel so they cannot be undone from the quayside.


With thanks to:
George Mahon, Courtown Harbour sailing Club.


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Courtown Harbour aerial overview




Yacht entering the harbour’s narrow access channel in rough seas



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