Knightstown is an excellent harbour that affords complete protection from all wind and sea conditions. It has three entrances and we describe the main entrance to the north of the island where you will find access straightforward, at any state of the tide, supported by a sectored light and good markers around a rock in the entrance. There is an alternate northern approach, rounding Beginish Island through Doulus Bay and Lough Kay, plus a southern approach via Portmagee Sound. These approaches are more intricate and involved.
Keyfacts for Knightstown
SummaryA completely protected location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position51° 55.580' N, 010° 17.160' W
Upon Knightstown pierhead.
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Cahersiveen Marina - 1.5 miles NE
- Portmagee - 2.4 miles SW
- Ballinskellig Bay - 4.3 miles S
- Darrynane Harbour - 6.9 miles SSE
- Ventry Harbour - 7.3 miles NNW
- Dingle Harbour - 7.8 miles N
- West Cove - 7.9 miles SE
- Great Skellig (Skellig Michael) - 8.1 miles SW
- Great Blasket Island - 8.5 miles NW
- Sneem Harbour - 10 miles ESE
How to get in?
Image: Gabriela Avram
Situated at the east end of Valentia Island which lies on the south side of the entrance to Dingle Bay, Knightstown, or Valentia Harbour, is entered between the north end of the island and Beginish Island. The harbour is set in a sheltered bight at the northeast end of Valentia Island and it provides perfect shelter against all winds and sea and is easy to access.
Image: Doug Snider
From the initial fix make towards the narrow entrance that lies between Fort (Cromwell) Point and Beginish Island tracking in on 141°.
By day locate Fort Point, a white tower 15 metres in height, then identify the beacons. You should see the towers of the leading lights situated on the north side of Valentia Island about 1,500 metres southeast of Fort Point. The front is a white conical tower beacon with a faint vertical red stripe. The rear, positioned 122 metres behind, is reportedly no longer visible (2018) although a vaguely triangular shape can be seen on the skyline. However, the lower mark's below described sectored light is visible even in strong sunlight.
By night locate Fort Point Light F1.WR.2s and then the white sector 140°-142° T of Front - Lt.Oc.WRG. 4s11/8M; Rear Oc.4s5M. It is important that you track in on 141° T to the transits as foul ground extends north from Fort Point and from the west point of Beginish Island.
Once inside the entrance, there is a clearly visible 130-metre long Harbour Rock that dries to 2.6 metres and should be kept to starboard. It lies on the west side of the fairway approximately midway between Fort Point and the front beacon. It is clearly marked by an East Cardinal Beacon (Yellow/Black East Cardinal iron mast) Q(3) W10s, 4m, 5M. By night it is covered by the Red section of the Fort Point sectored light and presents no difficulty. However, again it is best to keep in the transits, as on the port side there are ledges and sunken rocks extending 400 metres off Cruppaun Point.
Once Harbour Rock has been passed the harbour trends to the east and is free of dangers so you are free to alter course for Knightstown.
Image: Gabriela Avram
Anchor off Knightstown to the south of the jetty, or as convenient in Portmagee channel, you will find 3.0 metres sand/mud with good holding. This is well sheltered in west winds and convenient for landing. There are six visitors moorings just south of the Knightstown pier. Land at the slipway on the north side of the breakwater at Knightstown.
Image: Doug Snider
Knightstown Ferry Pier has a depth of 1.7 metres at the pierhead and you can come alongside during the day for a short period. The car ferry runs from here to the mainland at Reenard Point so be careful not to obstruct the operation. The ferry berths at the pier in the evenings so it has to be kept clear. Please contact the Harbour Master before planning any berthing.
In winds from southeast round to southwest, you may anchor on the west side of ‘The Foot’, where you will find a depth of 2.5 metres in mud with good holding ground, and it is sheltered in these conditions. There are visitors moorings located here also.
Why visit here?Knightstown An Chois in Irish is the largest settlement on Valentia Island with a population of 172. Knight’s Town is named after the Knights of Kerry, the FitzGeralds, who were benign and beloved Protestant landlords.
Image: Tourism Ireland
Yachtsmen will find this a very secure spot to stop with good visitors moorings. It is very pretty and is also where all the island’s facilities are located – pubs, restaurants, dive schools, lifeboat, ferry, harbour etc and there is a fine view back to Portmagee.
Situated on the island is the Valentia Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC), one of the main coastal stations of Ireland. Of further interest, the first transatlantic cable was laid from Valentia to Trinity Bay in Newfoundland, a process that began in 1855 by SS ‘Niagara’ and ‘Agamemnon’. The latter was nearly lost in a storm in 1857 when the cable snapped at the edge of the continental shelf, 560 km out to sea.
If you walk up to the radio station you will find an abandoned slate quarry adjacent.
What facilities are available?Knightstown is the only town on the island where you will find a few pubs and restaurants but otherwise not much. You will find supplies limited to bread, some general stores and fuel. There is a boatyard on the island that is capable of lifting a 20 tonne large yacht and for repairs.
A ferry runs from here to the opposite mainland at Reenard. Portmagee is a town on the mainland connected by a bridge that opens to allow larger vessels through. Nearby Cahirciveen has all requirements.
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred in Knightstown.
With thanks to:Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Additional corrections by Simon Brewitt. Photography with thanks to Elkringo, Gabriela Avram, Adrian Beney and Dubh Eire.
An aerial view of Knightstown and Portmagee
Knightstown entrance between the north end of Valentia Island and Beginish Island
An aerial view of the seafront at Knightstown.
A historical overview of Valentia Island
Add your review or comment:
Michael Hallissey wrote this review on Jul 6th 2020:
The pier marked ferry pier is in fact the old pier .
The ferry uses the slip just to the south of it.
The lsland he two villages Knightstown (the foot ) on the eastern side and Chapeltown about two miles west which has a bar/resturant and B&B . The boat yard ( Murphy Marine ) is on the southern shore and has a 50 ton lift .... Repairs overhauls and hard standing ( great winter stopover)
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