Situated on the western shore at the northern end of the Lough Foyle estuary, and under the lee of the Inishowen Peninsula, Carrickarory is a good anchorage that affords better south-westerly protection than Moville, half a mile to the east by northeast, particularly so close in. It offers very good protection through north to northeast winds but is exposed to strong winds from the east and south. Whilst tidal streams are occasionally strong it is accessible at all states of the tide and provides safe access in all reasonable conditions. The pier lies close to the ¾ of a mile wide Port of Londonderry Commercial Shipping Channel, which is well marked and supported by a lighthouse with a sectored light.
Keyfacts for Carrickarory Pier
SummaryA good location with safe access.
Position and approaches
Haven position55° 10.869' N, 007° 3.381' W
This is the location of the pier head.
What are the initial fixes?The following waypoints will set up a final approach:
(i) Lough Foyle North Channel Initial Fix
55° 14.155' N, 006° 53.700' W
One mile east of Inishowen Head and 400 metres northwest of Red Tuns Light (port hand) Buoy F1. R.3s. It is set on the 222° line of bearing of the Martello tower on Magilligan Point that leads into the North Channel.
(ii) Lough Foyle South Channel Initial Fix
55° 11.760' N, 006° 57.084' W
Midway between the shore and the southern edge of the Tuns Bank in the narrowest part of the South Channel in approximately 10 metres of water.
What are the key points of the approach?
- Lough Foyle’s approaches, the run up the lough to the River Foyle and beyond are detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) entry.
- Follow the Lough Foyle channel to the Moville Bank Light structure. Pass it close southeast, or to starboard, and proceed directly to the pier.
Not what you need?
- Moville - 0.6 nautical miles ENE
- Greencastle - 2.7 nautical miles ENE
- Magilligan Point - 3.1 nautical miles E
- Silver Strand - 3.7 nautical miles ENE
- Cornashamma Bay - 4.1 nautical miles ENE
- Kinnagoe Bay - 5 nautical miles NNE
- White Bay - 5.3 nautical miles ENE
- Portnocker - 5.4 nautical miles NE
- Tremone Bay - 5.6 nautical miles N
- Portkill - 5.6 nautical miles NE
How to get in?
Carrickarory Pier is a rural pier situated on the Inishowen shoreline three miles within the entrance to Lough Foyle. It is set in a rural part of the lough where the shore is backed by steep hills. The stone pier is used by fishing vessels and small craft. There are visitor moorings nearby between the pier and Moville.
Entered between Magilligan Point and the Inishowen shore, Lough Foyle’s approaches, the run up the lough to the River Foyle and beyond are detailed in the Foyle Port Marina (Derry City) entry. Once inside Lough Foyle, it is simply a matter of following the northwest shoreline to Carrickarory Pier.
When approaching the Moville Bank Light structure the pier will be seen less than a mile to westward. From a position close southeast of Moville Light beacon, passed to starboard, it is safe to proceed directly to the pier.
Moville Light beacon – Fl WR. 2.5s 11m4M position: 55°11.993'N, 007°02.129'W
By night there are three street lamps along the length of Carrickarory Pier that are as bright as the light beacons in the vicinity.
The water shoals gradually towards the shore on a final approach to Carrickarory Pier. The best position to anchor is to the northeast of the pier head in sand and mud with depths of two metres, as close to the pier as convenient. Good shelter is to be found under the 100-metre long pier in southwest winds, especially hauled close in, but southeast winds blow right into it. Likewise, it is possible to anchor on the south side of the pier to seek protection from a northeasterly.
Boats may also berth alongside the wall that has ample depth. The outer 25 metres of the quay has a depth of two metres at low water springs with three metres found at the pier head. However, mussel boats tend to come and go here and it is best to anchor off so as not to obstruct the fishing activity.
A quarter of a mile east by northeast of the pier, passed on the starboard side when approaching Carrickarory Pier, are eight seasonal moorings for visiting yachts. These are situated between Moville and Carrickarory, approximately 600 metres southwest of Moville Pier Head. There are typically ten to fifteen local boats moored in the area where the moorings are situated, making it easy to locate their position.
Visitor Moorings ‘Yellow’ – position: 55°11.000'N, 007°03.000'W
Why visit here?Carrickarory derived its name from the Irish ‘knoll, or rock, of Rory’. A friar, named Rory Hegarty, once lived here. When a sick man called searching out the priest, the response to all his inquiries was "he is walking around the rock" and through the retelling of this story, the area became known as such.
The pier was constructed in 1849, and was then 370 feet long, 36 feet wide. The Coastguard Station, a short stroll from the pier, was constructed in 1856 to accommodate the Coastguards and their families. They were established here to prevent unnecessary loss of life and improve maritime safety. At this time Carrickarory and Moville were connected to Derry City by a steamboat service and were regular points of departure for emigrants on the Anchor Line ships from Glasgow bound for America.
Today the Coastguard Station has since been converted to residential use and although in the recent past the pier fell into disrepair it has since been entirely restored. It is used today by fishing vessels and leisure boats. Several anglers also make use of it to pull in mackerel, flounder, dabs, dogfish, occasional ray and flounder.
From a sailing perspective, Carrickarory presents another interesting berthing opportunity on beautiful Lough Foyle. This quiet rural location offers moorings that lie between Carrickarory and Moville piers, and is an attractive alternative to the more frequented Moville for two reasons. It offers better protection from southwest winds, especially hauled close in, and the pier offers deeper water to come alongside.
What facilities are available?Fresh water is available from a tap on the pier. All other supplies can be obtained from Moville, a small town approximately one kilometre away that caters for a community of 4000. The pier is 25 kilometres by road, or 13 nautical miles, from the separately covered Derry City which lies across the border in Northern Ireland and this has all facilities plus excellent transport links.
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel anchored off Carrickarory Pier.
With thanks to:Bill McCann, Londonderry Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Kay Atherton, Richard Webb, Peter Homer, Patrick Mackie and Google Earth.
Add your review or comment:
Please log in to leave a review of this haven.
Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.