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Ballinskellig Bay

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Overview





Ballinskelligs Bay is a large southwest facing bay on Kerry’s Iveragh peninsula on the southwest coast of Ireland, which is situated to the north of Scariff and Deenish Islands. The bay provides a remote anchorage to the north of an island in the entrance and other options in alternate conditions.

Although the bay is open to the southwest, and thereby exposed to a heavy sea from the prevailing quarter, a tolerable anchorage can be found just north of Horse Island in Ballinskelligs Bay. Navigation is straightforward as, apart from some immediate off-lying rocks fringing both entrances, a central path up to the anchorage at Horse Island has no obstructions.



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Keyfacts for Ballinskellig Bay
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
4 metres (13.12 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.



Last modified
May 11th 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 48.730' N, 010° 15.870' W

The anchorage to the north of Horse Island.

What is the initial fix?

The following Ballinskellig Bay Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
51° 48.000' N, 010° 15.000' W
In the centre to north side of the entrance into Ballinskellig Bay.


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.


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 Ballinskellig Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Darrynane Harbour - 3.3 miles SE
  2. Portmagee - 3.6 miles NW
  3. Knightstown - 4.3 miles N
  4. West Cove - 5.1 miles ESE
  5. Cahersiveen Marina - 5.1 miles N
  6. Great Skellig (Skellig Michael) - 6.4 miles WSW
  7. Garnish Bay - 8 miles SSE
  8. Ballycrovane Harbour - 8 miles ESE
  9. Dursey Sound - 8.2 miles SSE
  10. Sneem Harbour - 8.5 miles E
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Darrynane Harbour - 3.3 miles SE
  2. Portmagee - 3.6 miles NW
  3. Knightstown - 4.3 miles N
  4. West Cove - 5.1 miles ESE
  5. Cahersiveen Marina - 5.1 miles N
  6. Great Skellig (Skellig Michael) - 6.4 miles WSW
  7. Garnish Bay - 8 miles SSE
  8. Ballycrovane Harbour - 8 miles ESE
  9. Dursey Sound - 8.2 miles SSE
  10. Sneem Harbour - 8.5 miles E
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?
Anchoring area in Ballinskelligs Bay
Photo: Dave Keeshan via CC BY-SA 2.0


The entrance to Ballinskelligs Bay is located between Hog Head, and it's off-lying Pig's Rocks and drying reef that extends northwestward, and Horse Island. The northwest opening entrance is 2¼ miles wide with deep water all the way. Inside the bay expands to four miles in width and three in depth, with moderate depths. The northeast side of the bay is rocky with Blue Boy, a rock awash, lying at the outer end of a reef extending a little over a ½ mile from the shore. Leisure craft tend to use a temporary anchorage in settled weather to the north Horse Island.


Ballinskellig Bay as seen from the southwest
Image: Robert Linsdell


The bay is quite open to the southwest and exposed to a very heavy sea with the wind from that quarter. A heavy sea rolls in with a southwesterly gale.



Initial fix location Ballinskelligs Bay will be clearly visible as the initial fix is approached. From the Initial fix head northwards towards Horse Island. When passing the island keep at least 250 metres off the eastern side to avoid the off-lying Bullig Rock (awash) that lies close east of the island.

Round Horse Island when clear of the extending northeastern finger and come into the protected north side where you will find local boats. Be careful not to stray further to the north as a 400-metre drying ledge extends from the western shore called Reenduff approximately 800 metres north of the island.

Haven location Come in as close to the north side of the island as your vessels draught permits. A little to the south of local lobster boat’s permanent moorings, if possible, is an ideal place to drop anchor. There is a lot of kelp in the area but the water is clear and it is no problem finding a sandy spot. The holding is good and it is remarkably free of swell in south-westerly conditions here.

Alternatively, and in very settled conditions, a day anchorage can be found in four metres plus with sand holding off Waterville - 3.25 miles east by northeast across the bay. Note the position of Bay Rock (with 1.2 metres of cover) traversing between these anchorages and the Blue Boy cluster of rocks just south of the Waterville anchorage.

Damaged and abandoned pier adjacent to MaCarthy's Castle
Image: Dave Keeshan CC BY-SA 2.0


Also in southerly winds, there is reported to be a sheltered anchorage in deeper water at the southeast entrance to the bay to the north of the 162-metre high Hog’s Head.

If operating in the Hog's Head area note the position of two visible rocks called the Pigs 300 metres northwest of Hog’s Head Island and a reef that lies 200 metres west of the Pigs.

Anchoring in the centre of the bay is prohibited owing to the existence of submerged telegraph cables.


Why visit here?
Ballinskelligs, in Irish Baile na Sceilge meaning homestead of the rocks, is another location to enjoy the magnificent Skellig Ring between Waterville and Valentia Island. The area boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland with its wild rugged coastline, scattered islands, vast mountains, high passes, and miles of golden beaches and turquoise water.

Waterville Beach & Ballinskelligs Bay
Image: Robert Linsdell


The rocks that lend the bay its name are Skellig Michael Sceilg Mhichíl and Little Skellig, an ancient monastic colony which lies off the coast from Ballinskelligs. This area has a unique historic connection to the monks that lived on Skellig Michael. The town is also the site of an attractive beach and ruins of a priory of Augustinian Canons, now in ruins, and the remains of a MacCarthy castle.


Coast near Waterville
Image: Florian Christoph via CC BY-SA 2.0


Being in the Gaeltacht, Gaelic speaking, region it has its own Irish College, where children come in summer to learn the Irish Language.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities around Horse Island except for a pier at Ballinskelligs to land a dingy. There are some basic necessities plus a butcher in Waterville. This is a long run in exposed water by dinghy so it is best approached by road or in settled conditions where you may temporarily anchor off as mentioned above.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred in Ballinskelligs Bay.


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


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The above plots are not precise and indicative only.















A photo montage of Ballinskelligs Bay



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