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England Ireland Find Routes


Dublin - Kilmore Quay inside the banks

Tides and tools

What is the route?
This is a detailed set of waypoints that offers the quickest route from Dublin to or from Kilmore Quay inside the major banks and optimising the tides. It passes:

  • • Inside the Kish Bank

  • • Inside the Arklow Bank

  • • Outside the Blackwater Bank

  • • Outside the Lucifer Bank

  • • Outside The Splaugh Rock

  • • Outside the Fundale Rock

  • • Inside the rock groups of The Barrels, The Black Rock and The Tercheen's

  • • Crosses St. Patrick’s Bridge, via East, Central and West Waypoints

Or the reverse.

Why sail this route?
This is a well-tested route that has been regularly used by local boatman Burke Corbett, both north and southbound, in poor visibility and in boisterous conditions. The waypoints should keep Mariners at the right side of the hazards and the provided tidal timings will ensure the most efficient passage Dublin, to or from, Kilmore Quay can be obtained.

Tidal overview
Today's summary tidal overview for this route as of Thursday, November 30th at 04:27. The Northbound timer is scheduled for a departure from Kilmore Quay which should enable a vessel capable of maintaining 6 knots to reach Wicklow Head before the tide turns adverse. The Southbound timer is optimised for departing Wicklow Head at slack water.


(HW Dover -0030 to +0030)

Starts in 07:44:00

(Thu 12:12 to 13:12)


(HW Dover +0415 to +0515)

Starts in 00:10:00

(Thu 04:38 to 05:38)

What are the navigational notes?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the route. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Clicking the 'Expand to Fullscreen' icon opens a larger viewing area in a new tab.

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Please zoom out (-) if all of the waypoints are not displayed.
The above plots are not precise and are indicative only.


The 70 miles of coast between Dublin Bay and Rosslare Harbour is partly obstructed by a long discontinuous chain of detached sand banks. The banks lie parallel to the coast varying from just over a mile to almost ten miles offshore and some are as long as five miles in length. Caution is required at the southeast corner of Ireland where the Atlantic Ocean and the St. George's Channel collide with tidal flows that attain up to 2.5 knots. To say the least it can be a very rough corner, both close in and well out to sea.

In heavy weather conditions, with wind-against-tide, heavy overfalls will be found all along the coast and it should be entirely avoided. In fair conditions, availing of the waypoints and tidal planning provided, it is more than manageable. This well-tested route should present little difficulty in reasonable conditions for a modern sailing vessel with auxiliary power.


The complete course is 84.26 miles from the waypoint 'Baily Lighthouse' to 'East of Kilmore Quay entrance' tending in a south south westerly direction (reciprocal north north easterly).

Baily Lighthouse, 53° 21.700' N, 006° 2.700' W
Approximately 500 metres East of Bailey lighthouse. This leg is inside the Burfford, Kish, Codling, and India banks and outside the Moulditch bank and Breaches shoal.

       Next waypoint: 23.88 miles, course 173.19°T (reciprocal 353.19°T)

Wicklow Head, 52° 58.000' N, 005° 58.000' W
Approximately 2000 metres East of Wicklow head. This leg is inside the Arklow Bank outside the Glassgorman, Money Weights, and Blackwater Banks.

       Next waypoint: 29.84 miles, course 192.18°T (reciprocal 12.18°T)

East Blackwater, 52° 28.840' N, 006° 8.330' W
Approximately 250 Meters East of the east Blackwater Cardinal mark. This leg is outside the Blackwater and Lucifer Banks.

       Next waypoint: 12.13 miles, course 192.44°T (reciprocal 12.44°T)

Luicifer, 52° 17.000' N, 006° 12.600' W
This point is just 75 metres South East of the mark to visually identify in fog. This leg crosses the channel into Rosslare between South Long and Splaugh rock marks, A call to Rosslare on VHF is required when crossing.

       Next waypoint: 7.85 miles, course 215.35°T (reciprocal 35.35°T)

Fundale Rock Buoy, 52° 10.600' N, 006° 20.000' W
Approximately 500 metres East South East of the Fundale Buoy. This leg is close enough to the shoreline with a strong tidal sweep around Carnsore point so stay on track to avoid being swept on shore.

       Next waypoint: 1.16 miles, course 243.95°T (reciprocal 63.95°T)

Carnsore Point, 52° 10.090' N, 006° 21.700' W
Approximately 500 metres South East of the point. This leg is close to the Carnsore point to keep you well inside the Tercheen rock awash 400 metres to the North of Back rock - clearly visible.

       Next waypoint: 6.99 miles, course 263.25°T (reciprocal 83.25°T)

St. Patrick's Bridge - eastern approach alignment waypoint, 52° 9.260' N, 006° 33.000' W
This is positioned approximately a mile to the east of St. Patrick’s Bridge to align the best passage.

       Next waypoint: 1.04 miles, course 270.01°T (reciprocal 90.01°T)

St. Patrick's Bridge, 52° 9.260' N, 006° 34.700' W
The deepest part of the St. Patrick's Bridge, 2.4 metres CD to cross. From April to September two seasonal port and starboard light buoys are provided for this crossing with the direction of buoyage being from west to east. Green Buoy Fl. G6s 2M, Red Buoy Fl. R6s 2M.

       Next waypoint: 0.40 miles, course 270.00°T (reciprocal 90.00°T)

St. Patrick's Bridge - western approach alignment waypoint, 52° 9.260' N, 006° 35.350' W
About 400 metres west of St. Patrick’s Bridge and very close to the Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker. The harbour's leading marks will be coming in-line, on 007.8° T, at about this point.

       Next waypoint: 0.68 miles, course 7.82°T (reciprocal 187.82°T)

Kilmore Quay Initial Fix, 52° 9.930' N, 006° 35.200' W
Approximately 1,500 metres south of the harbour entrance and about on the transits, use eyeball navigation here. There is a cross tide on this leg so keep a sharp eye on the transit.

       Next waypoint: 0.29 miles, course 15.90°T (reciprocal 195.90°T)

East of Kilmore Quay entrance, 52° 10.210' N, 006° 35.070' W
Approximately 100 metres east of the harbour entrance.

Attention should be paid to the prolific sand banks off the east coast as the tide does not flow parallel to the banks but tends to flow diagonally across them so a vessel can be easily swept up onto them. Around the banks, the north going flood tides tends to flow across the banks northwest, and the south going ebb tide tends to the southeast. This causes the water to ride up and break on the west side of the banks on the flood and the eastern side on the ebb. It also draws the vessel in along these lines. Close inshore off Arklow the streams run alongside the coast.

Please advise Rosslare Harbour [Rosslare Radio] on 16, working channel 23, when approaching the commercial channel into Rosslare. Cross in the vicinity of the South Long and the Splaugh Rock Buoys.

East, central and west St. Patrick’s Bridge waypoints are indicated so as to allow an approach to the Bridge at angles and line up the crossing to be at the optimum to point.


Best time to leave Kilmore Quay is when the tide turns on St. Patrick's Bridge immediately outside. This is up to 2 hours earlier than in Saltee Sound and high water Kilmore Quay which is at High Water Dover -0535 (Cobh +0015). This will have the tide turning on St. Patrick's Bridge at approximately Dover +0450 and a boat should be there awaiting the slack 30 minutes earlier as presented above.

A back eddy situated in the bight between the Saltee Islands and Carnsore can then be utilised to take the vessel to Carnsore Point where the start of the north going tide can be picked up at the Fundale Buoy. This, when combined with the local back-eddy, will thereby provide a northbound passage with 8 hours of supporting tide. Availing of this a vessel capable of maintaining six knots or above, should be able to get past Wicklow Head before the tide turns south.


Southbound vessels should aim to be at Wicklow Head at slack water ready to pick up the south going tide. Again this uses the local tide eddy from Fundale to St. Patrick’s Bridge. Although not as favourable as it is for a north going passage, the tide is slack and not adverse allowing approximately 8 hours of favourable, or at least neutral, tidal streams for the passage.

The tide turns west on St. Patrick's Bridge at low water Kilmore, Dover HW +0037, -2 hours which is Dover -0123. Kilmore Quay's channel and entrance are narrow at low water and subject to silting. So clawing back time to avoid a low water entry will be helpful, especially so for vessels carrying deeper drafts. Prepare to the last bit under power.
Please note

Beware of lobster pots in the vicinity of the harbour and the islands.

What is the best sailing time?
Sailing season is May to September, with June and July offering some of the best weather. Nevertheless the incidence of gales in June and July are on average two days of winds each month of winds up to force seven. So you may be either held up or having a blast depending on your sailing preferences. Ireland is not subject to persistent fog – statistically complete days of persistent fog occur less than once in a decade.

Are there any security concerns?
Never a known issue to have occurred sailing off the Irish coast.

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

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Add your review or comment:

Tim Tim Murphy wrote this review on Apr 4th 2017:
Hi, The heading from the 2nd last to the last waypoint, into Kilmore Quay, seems to be in the red zone of the lights. Also, the final approach does not seem to follow the heading of the leading lights (7.8D). Is there a reason for this. Im on a motor boat, so maybe the reason is specific to sailing and the tides?

Average Rating: Unrated

Michael Harpur wrote this review on Jul 12th 2017:
Hi Tim, Burke would have run in and out of here every day and these are the waypoints he uses to lay up the final entry that he know like the back-of-his-hand. However, your suggestion is very good for newcomers and I have tweaked the final waypoints, per your recommendation, to make them serve better. Thank you.

Average Rating: Unrated

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