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Kinsale Harbour

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Overview





Kinsale is situated on the south coast of Ireland about eleven miles southwest of the entrance to Cork Harbour and six miles north by northeast of the Old Head of Kinsale, in Co. Cork. It offers a range of anchoring, mooring and marinas alongside a thriving town.

Set into the fjordlike valley estuary of the river Bandon, and being a virtually landlocked natural harbour, Kinsale offers complete protection. The same features provide for safe access in all reasonable conditions, night or day on any state of the tide.
Please note

Specific care should be taken if entering in a south to a south-easterly gale. A race may develop when the River Bandon is on an ebb-tide against-wind. This however only presents a challenge when a spring tide collides with heavy southerlies. In very heavy southerly conditions the sea tends to break on a three-metre bar in the outer harbour area close to Charles Fort. Once past this point, a vessel will obtain the complete protection offered by the inner harbour.




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Keyfacts for Kinsale Harbour
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers 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 areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresTourist Information office availableHandicapped access supportedShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

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

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



Last modified
May 26th 2020

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers 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 areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresTourist Information office availableHandicapped access supportedShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: harbour fees may be charged



HM  +353 21 4772503      Ch.14 [KINSALE HARBOUR]
Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 42.101' N, 008° 31.051' W

The position of the harbour master’s office located on the northeast pierhead alongside Kinsale Yacht Club Marina.

What is the initial fix?

The following Kinsale Harbour initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 40.000' N, 008° 30.000' W
This waypoint is directly south of the harbour entrance and less than quarter of a nautical mile southwest of the Bullman South Cardinal Buoy Q + LF(W) Ev. 15 seconds. A course of due north from here aligns Ardbrach Church with the western edge of Charles Fort that carries a vessel safely into the harbour.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen 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 Kinsale Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Sandy Cove - 0.9 miles S
  2. Oysterhaven - 1.5 miles E
  3. Holeopen Bay East - 3.2 miles S
  4. Holeopen Bay West - 3.3 miles SSW
  5. Coolmain Bay - 4.2 miles WSW
  6. Robert's Cove - 5 miles ENE
  7. Courtmacsherry - 5.1 miles WSW
  8. Blindstrand Bay - 5.1 miles SW
  9. Broadstrand Bay - 5.1 miles SW
  10. Ringabella Bay - 5.6 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Sandy Cove - 0.9 miles S
  2. Oysterhaven - 1.5 miles E
  3. Holeopen Bay East - 3.2 miles S
  4. Holeopen Bay West - 3.3 miles SSW
  5. Coolmain Bay - 4.2 miles WSW
  6. Robert's Cove - 5 miles ENE
  7. Courtmacsherry - 5.1 miles WSW
  8. Blindstrand Bay - 5.1 miles SW
  9. Broadstrand Bay - 5.1 miles SW
  10. Ringabella Bay - 5.6 miles ENE
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?
Kinsale Harbour as seen from the north
Photo: H Kingston


Kinsale is a small commercial and fishing port alongside a resort town that is located a mile and a half within the mouth of the Bandon River. The port is easily identified by the river valley and the old eighteenth-century forts that once defended it. It is entered between Shronecan Point and Preghane Point, about 0.6 of a mile east-southeast.



Vessels approaching the harbour should check in with the harbour master by VHF Channel 14, call sign [KINSALE HARBOUR], or phone the harbour office on +353 (0)21 477 2503. The harbour office is manned from 9 am until 5 pm and the harbour master will be delighted to advise you regarding your preferences of berthing arrangements. If you arrive outside of these hours do establish contact with the harbour master as soon as the opportunity presents itself.




Initial fix location The Kinsale initial fix will place a vessel south of the harbour entrance with the Bulman Buoy, a South Cardinal Buoy Q + LF(W) Ev. 15 secs plus bell, broad on the starboard bow about 400 metres away. The Bulman South Cardinal marks its namesake ‘Bulman Rock’ that has 1.2 metres over it. It lies 0.2 miles south of Preghane Point and is the primary danger of the harbour entrance.

The alignment of the white and conspicuous Ardbrack Church, on the east side of the harbour about a mile within the entrance, with the western edge of conspicuous Charles Fort, standing half a mile south of the church, provides a ‘lead in’ alignment from the initial fix.

The outer and inner harbours cover approximately five square kilometres so once inside there is plenty of water for the cruising vessel. The harbour is largely free of dangers but the western shore must be approached with caution as it is generally foul.

The key danger of the western shore is within the entrance and called Farmer Rock. Farmer Rock is situated about 600 metres within Shronecan Point, the westernmost point of the entrance, and 150 metres out from the high water mark of the western shore. It uncovers at the three-quarters ebb and dries to 0.6 metres, and must be carefully avoided by vessels working in or out.

‘Farmers Rock’ unmarked – approximate position 51° 41.000’N 8° 30.200’W


Charles Fort and Blockhouse as seen from the north shore
Image: Mait


A mid-channel route presents no danger. At night a sectored light set in a small white tower within Charles Fort, set upon the eastern side of the entrance, leads vessels in from the entrance.


Kinsale revealing itself around Blockhouse Point
Image: Simon Greig


The channel in the vicinity of Blockhouse Point, about 1.2 miles north of Shronecan Point, is marked by three port lighted buoys that mark the channel.

1. Spur Buoy Fl (2) R 6s just opposite Charles Fort

2. Spit Buoy QR is North of James Fort’s Blockhouse clearly visible on the shoreline.

3. Crohogue Buoy Fl (3) R 10s is NW of Spit Buoy

These marks keep a vessel off the western shore, which from above Money Point is encumbered by an extensive mud flat. This mud flat encircles Blockhouse Point at the distance of 200 metres and confines the navigable channel towards the town to the east shore.


Kinsale Quay
Photo: vagabrothers2


Haven location Both the inner and outer harbours provide a host of good anchorages. Vessels who have not prearranged a berth with the harbour master may raft up to a vessel, equal or larger than your own at the quay, or pick up one of the two large yellow buoys upriver.

The visitor moorings are operated by the harbour master and are located on the starboard side of the inner harbour just below the bridge. They are rated for 75 ton and are situated in 4 metres at low water. Vessels may anchor up by the bridge that crosses the estuary above the town, where good holding in mud and shale will be found.



Vessels with a minimal air-draft may continue upriver. Tidal ranges for the area are Springs 4.3 metres and Neaps 3.2 metre. The bridge’s clearing range is from 5 metres at HW Springs to 8.7 meters LWS; mid-tide expect about 7 metres.

The 60 metres long Kinsale Quay, with depths alongside of 6.1 metres at MHWS and 2.7 metres at MLWN, is reserved for commercial traffic.
Please note

Please do not anchor off the quay as this obstructs harbour operations and you will be moved off.



All boats entering Kinsale must pay harbour dues to the harbour master, be it directly for anchoring or as part of marina fees. This is approximately 10 Euro for utilising the harbour.


Why visit here?
Kinsale derives its name from the Irish "Cionn tSaile" meaning "head of the sea". Set so close to the ‘Old Head of Kinsale’ and located on Compass Hill beside the Bandon Estuary, it is easily understood how it acquired its name. The historic old port is of enormous interest to a visiting boatman due to its services, heritage and the town's international flair that never fails to delight and surprise

The perfectly secure Kinsale Harbour
Photo: Tourism Ireland


Situated on the site of a monastery founded by St. Multose in the 6th century it became a Viking trading post in the 10th century. The town went on to flourish as a centre for trade and communications under the Normans who built walls to defend the location in the 13th century. By the end of the 15th century, Kinsale was one of the most important towns on the south coast of Ireland and derived considerable wealth from its large overseas trade, fishing, shipbuilding industries and wine. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was an important English naval base that was used as a rendezvous point for large squadrons of the British Navy and for 'homeward' bound East and West Indies fleets.

Kinsale is most famous for the 1601 ‘Battle of Kinsale’ that was a turning point in Irish history. The Irish and the Spanish joined forces against the English armies of Queen Elizabeth I and lost the battle here. The Spanish fleet invaded and held the town with the aid of Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone. When the English regained Kinsale it precipitated an event known as the "Flight of the Earls" that marked the defeat of Gaelic Ireland. After the conquest, the Irish aristocracy left for Europe to seek help in furthering their cause from the Catholic king of Spain. The Irish Earls never returned, thereby ending their historic legacy and leaving their lands to be colonized by the English settlers. These new settlers also filled the power vacuum created by their exit and established an English rule in Ireland that would last for the next 300 years. The town of Kinsale became an English town where the Irish were not allowed to live until the late 18th century.

Kinsale's location in relation to mainland Europe, most notably being almost exactly 500 miles due north of La Coruna, ensured its strategic importance to the British Navy. The town's importance was reflected in the strength of the harbour defences that can be seen today. Named after James I of England, James Fort on the Castlepark Peninsula was started in 1602, immediately after the Battle of Kinsale.
Charles Fort, located on the opposite water's edge at Summercove, was commissioned in 1677 and named after Charles II. Both fortifications guarded the entrance to Kinsale harbour. An underwater chain used to be strung between the two forts across the harbour mouth during times of war to scuttle enemy shipping by ripping the bottom out of incoming vessels. Charles Fort remained in use as a British Army barracks until the end of British rule in southern Ireland. It fell out of use after being burned by the retreating anti-Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War in 1922. It is today one of Europe's best-preserved star forts. James Fort may be conveniently explored from Castlepark Marina. Both forts offer fine views of the town and the estuary.

Today foodies flock to Kinsale, as it is well known as the gourmet capital of Ireland. The town pioneered the Irish small-town tradition of fine dining and it has a host of top-grade restaurants and pubs to choose from. The general standard of dining in Kinsale and its surrounding area is exceptional. A must for provisioning is the Kinsale Market on a Tuesday morning where you will find the best quality produce, chutneys, smoked salmon, farmhouse cheeses, fresh fish, and an array of organic goodies to stock up with. It is well worth visiting Kinsale late in the season when it hosts the Cork Fringe Jazz festival.

All this makes this very picturesque port a must stop for a coastal cruiser. Apart from the perfectly secure harbour, excellent facilities and superb dining, it is a great point to depart for an international voyage. Likewise, and just twenty minutes from Cork International Airport, it is also a useful crew change-over destination.


What facilities are available?
Kinsale has two fully serviced Marinas, Kinsale Yacht Club Marina and Castlepark Marina, with visitor berths available plus moorings. All shore facilities are available within a short stroll from the quay including an internet café, a host of shops, banks, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants. Up river there are a couple of yacht boatyards where repairs may be attended to, one of which has a 40 ton travel lift. Kinsale caters for approximately 100 commercial vessels per year and as such is a port of clearance. You can clear in through the harbour master where you may subsequently be visited at the discretion of the Irish Customs officer (Cork) 021-4315422. There is a local tourist information centre at the Quay, on Pier Road, that can help you make the most of your visit to Kinsale.

Bus Eireann runs up to 15 buses a day to Kinsale town centre (50 minutes) from the Cork Bus Station via Cork Airport. There is no other public transport in the Kinsale area but plenty of taxi services are available.


Any security concerns?
The Marinas have secure entry systems and crime is minimal to non existent on moorings.


With thanks to:
Captain Phil Devitt, Kinsale Harbour Master. Photographs with thanks to Mait, Simon Greig, Ann Ryan, Karl Grabe, H Kingston, Sean Rowe, John M, Ian Edwards, Michael Harpur and Patrick Woods.











































Kinsale History




Kinsale




James Fort



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