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Buttermilk Point is situated on the southeast coast of Ireland, 9 miles within and on the eastern shores of Waterford Harbour. It is a remote, secluded river-bight anchorage.

Buttermilk Point is situated on the southeast coast of Ireland, 9 miles within and on the eastern shores of Waterford Harbour. It is a remote, secluded river-bight anchorage.

The bight offers complete protection from all winds, with excellent mud holding. A slight chop may develop in strong northwesterly conditions, but nothing that would cause any undue hardship. 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, while a favourable passage current will make the estuary quickly traversable.

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Keyfacts for Buttermilk Point
None listed

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

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

5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.

Last modified
February 25th 2022


A completely protected location with safe access.

None listed

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Note: 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° 15.653' N, 006° 58.968' W

In the anchorage area, with approximately 3 metres depth

What is the initial fix?

The following Waterford Harbour marked channel initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 10.740' N, 006° 56.320' W
This waypoint is 600 metres south by southwest of the Waterford Channel No.1 starboard-hand marker (Fl G 2s, on a bearing of 009° T). It is directly east of Creadan Head on the eastern side of the Waterford Channel, where at night you will see the Dunmore East leading lights alternate white/green.

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 and 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 Buttermilk Point for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Seedes Bank - 0.4 nautical miles SSW
  2. Cheekpoint - 0.8 nautical miles NW
  3. Ballyhack - 1.1 nautical miles SSE
  4. Passage East - 1.3 nautical miles SSE
  5. Arthurstown - 1.6 nautical miles SE
  6. Duncannon - 2.9 nautical miles SE
  7. Little Island - 3.1 nautical miles WSW
  8. Port of Waterford - 4.6 nautical miles W
  9. Dollar Bay - 4.8 nautical miles SSE
  10. Creadan Head - 4.9 nautical miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Seedes Bank - 0.4 miles SSW
  2. Cheekpoint - 0.8 miles NW
  3. Ballyhack - 1.1 miles SSE
  4. Passage East - 1.3 miles SSE
  5. Arthurstown - 1.6 miles SE
  6. Duncannon - 2.9 miles SE
  7. Little Island - 3.1 miles WSW
  8. Port of Waterford - 4.6 miles W
  9. Dollar Bay - 4.8 miles SSE
  10. Creadan Head - 4.9 miles SSE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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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?
Buttermilk Point
Image: Michael Harpur

Buttermilk Point is a forested headland on the east bank of the River Suir. It is located about 1½ miles above Ballyhack and Passage East, close west of Catherine’s Bay. It is a remote, secluded river-bight anchorage a mile above the small village of Ballyhack.

A very good anchorage in 3 to 4 metres of water will be found anywhere within the bight to the north of Buttermilk Point. It offers excellent protection, especially during any southeasterly conditions. Landing, however, is poor here and the surrounding quays are for those who have a tender equipped with a stalwart outboard that can deal with the river's currents.

How to get in?
Buttermilk Point, with the harbour entrance visible
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.

Initial fix location From the initial fix, set in the middle of the entrance, head northeast for the ‘Waterford’ port marker buoy, then pick up the No.1 and 2 buoys off the fairway. From here follow the marked channel up to the facing villages of Passage East and Ballyhack, where a regular ferry crosses.
Please note

The ferry operates within very tight margins and should not be impeded.

The Seedes Bank, between Buttermilk Point and Ballyhack
Image: Michael Harpur

Above Passage East the western, or Waterford shore, is precipitous, rocky and bold-to, while the eastern Wexford and Ballyhack shore is skirted by a sandy flat, which runs off into the Seedes Bank. The only danger here is a shallow ridge that extends out 450 metres from the eastern bank about midway between Ballyhack and Buttermilk Point. Adhering to the channel as far as the ‘Seedes Bank South’ starboard mark clears this danger.

Rounding Buttermilk Point
Image: Burke Corbett

Upriver the high forested Buttermilk Point will be clearly visible at the head of the eastern shoreline. If following the western channel, it is located 400 metres east of the ‘Carters Patch South' starboard hand channel marker Fl(2) G 4s. However, a vessel can steer directly for Buttermilk Point from the ‘Seedes Bank South’ starboard mark, as upriver from this mark there is ample depth for leisure vessels. The shallowest open-water lies 400 metres northwest of the point in the ‘Carters Patch’ mud bank, which joins the eastern shore. It has from 3.3 to 5 metres of cover, and between the Carters Patch bank and the pitch of Buttermilk Point, the tidal stream scours a 6-metre deep channel with a 14-metre hole of water close home to the Buttermilk Point rocks.
Please note

This ebb tide from Cheek Point requires some attention. It sweeps around St Catherine’s Bay and is deflected by Buttermilk Point across the channel to the opposite shore. Vessels in calms or light winds must be ready to start their engines or keep their heads to the east. Otherwise, from a position a little above Buttermilk Point they could be carried onto the rocks on the western shore.

Buttermilk Point to Kilmokea Point
Image: Michael Harpur

To the north of Buttermilk Point, the east shore is covered by mudflats. The inland ruin of Dunbrody Abbey and the wreck of French trawler the Petite Sarah are conspicuous on rounding the Point.

Old Weir to the north of the head
Image: Michael Harpur

From the discarded wattle of an old weir, seen directly north of the head, a drying sand and mud crescent runs off the shore, extending out as far as 400 metres in Shelburne Bay, located in the northern section of the bight. A good marker of the drying area is the wreck of the French trawler the Petite Sarah, which can be seen to the northeast of the point where the two bays meet.

Local boats dried out in the corner of the bay
Image: Michael Harpur

Haven location The best berth is to the northeast of the point. Keeping Kilmokea Jetty (fronting Great Island Power Station) touching the Cheek Point (closer, on the western shore) provides a useful astern alignment to track into the bight. Anchor outside the shellfish beds according to draught and conditions. Soft mud will be found throughout the area, providing for excellent holding.

Unfortunately, landing is poor here. The head of the bay offers only a sandy landing at high water, but this dries to mud for some distance at low water. The best landing options are the quays at Ballyhack, Passage East or Cheekpoint upriver, which are available only to those who have a tender with a stalwart engine.

The entrance to the Campile River, opposite Cheek Point
Image: Michael Harpur

Those intending to venture up the Campile River will find its flow is well presented on Admiralty Charts 2046. Dinghies can only go up on the top two hours of the tide, gently feeling the path of the stream all the way upriver. Plan to start from Kilmokea Point (just shy of a mile to the north of the anchorage) a couple of hours before high water to allow four hours of exploration time. After Dunbrody Abbey, pass under the railway bridge and then a road bridge, where it is best to land for the abbey. Continue upstream to find Hart’s Bar, just off Campile’s main street.
Please note

The chart covers only the initial section of the river, as far as the railway bridge; the Navionics chart, equally accurate, continues to the second road bridge, which leads to the abbey. The pattern of the river is well presented in the Google satellite image. Try our full-screen mode for a better viewing area. As you would expect, the best water is on the outside of the bends.

Why visit here?
From a boating perspective, this is a perfect place to securely anchor if rough conditions are expected. Almost any storm conditions can be endured either here or on the Seedes Bank, immediately to the south. Both locations are traditional storm bolt holes that have been used throughout the ages. They offer complete protection from all winds, with excellent mud holding. Buttermilk Point is just off the run of river and is marginally better in severe conditions that would cause the river to flood and collect storm debris.

Dunbrody Abbey as seen from the Campile River
Image: Michael Harpur

The anchorage offers a particularly good adventure in a run up the Campile River. Snaking upriver in a dinghy for a picnic or a meal at Hart’s Pub provides a very pleasant outing on a sunny summer’s day. The river carries a tender up under the ruins of medieval Cistercian monastery Dunbrody Abbey. The solitary grandeur of these venerable ruins when encountered from the river, as the monks would have done originally, is a truly magnificent sight and makes for a wonderful visit.

Dunbrody Abbey
Image: Michael Harpur

The abbey was founded by Hervey de Montmorency, who was marshal to Henry II and amongst the first Cambro-Norman lords to obtain a footing in Ireland. Hervey was related to the leader of the invasion, Strongbow, by marriage, being uncle to the earl’s first wife. Prudent and courageous, he was made ‘Constable of Ireland’ by the English monarch and obtained extensive grants of Irish land from Dermot MacMurrogh, the king of Leinster who precipitated the Norman conquest of Ireland. After the conquest Strongbow found it necessary to return to England to assuage King Henry II’s concerns about his growing power. To comply with his king, he relinquished his lands and appointed Hervey de Montmorency ‘Seneschal of Leinster’, also committing to his command the Norman forces in Ireland.

Interior of Dunbrody Abbey
Image: Michael Harpur
Upon Strongbow’s return he found Hervey had exercised excellent judgment and management, maintaining the goodwill of his army. He was, by his good disposition, becoming very powerful. Both jealous and concerned, Strongbow picked a fight with Hervey perfectly designed to reduce and ridicule him. The unexpected consequence of the insult was that Hervey quit the army and restored to Strongbow all the lands allotted to him, save for a small portion in the ‘Barony of Shelburne’. He distributed part of this to lay tenants; with the remainder he founded a religious establishment in around 1182, where he settled an order of Cistercian monks. Leaving aside military politics he then became a monk and the first abbot of the abbey he had founded. The main body of the current abbey was built after his time, between 1210 and 1240, when it became an independent abbey and its abbot sat in parliament as a spiritual lord. The last Abbot of Dunbrody was Alexander Devereux, before the monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII and taken over by the crown in 1536.

In 1545 it was granted to Sir Osborne Etchingham, from Suffolk, in exchange for lands he held in England. He was the fourth cousin of Queen Anne Boleyn and was a high official in the court of Henry VIII, marshal of the English army in Ireland and a member of the Privy Council. It is doubtful that he ever occupied the property as he would have died soon after this time. However, it was adopted by his descendants, who used parts of the building for domestic and defensive purposes. In the early 17th century, they moved to the newly constructed Dunbrody Castle and later to Dunbrody Park, in their estate village of Arthurstown.

Dunbrody Abbey’s river-facing aspect
Image: Michael Harpur

Today the deserted ruins of Dunbrody Abbey cut a solemn image of a fall from greatness. It is nonetheless a National Monument and is regarded as one of the most impressive Cistercian monuments in Ireland. At 59 metres, the church is one of the longest in Ireland and has three rib-vaulted chapels in each transept. The central tower was added in the 15th century, and the walls of the rectory on the south side still stand to almost full height today. Across the road, the visitor centre is run by the current Marquees of Donegall. It features one of only two full-sized hedge mazes in Ireland, with a small museum and tea rooms.

What facilities are available?
This is a secluded anchorage with no facilities.

Any security concerns?
There are no reported security issues in the area.

With thanks to:
John Carroll, Ballyhack, County Wexford, Ireland. Photographs with thanks to Michael Harpur and Burke Corbett.

Cheek Point round to Buttermilk Point through the Seedes Bank, Ballyhack and Passage East

Tall Ships video was taken from the same location providing a feel for the estuary in this area

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