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Coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour

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What is the route?
This is the primary coastal description and set of waypoints for the area between Rosslare Harbour and Cork Harbour. The detailed coastal description may be used by those planning to come closer inshore or to approach one of the useful passage havens that are listed along the length of the route. The sequence of description is from east to west or coastal clockwise, as follows:

  • • From the Rosslare Harbour via its entrance channel

  • • Inside the Bailies

  • • Between Carnsore Point and the Tercheen and Black Rock

  • • Between the Saltee Islands and the mainland via St. Patrick's Bridge

  • • South of Hook Head and directly to the Cork Habour entrance
The preceding eastern coast's set of waypoints and coastal description is available by clicking 'Previous', above, and vessels planning on continuing westwards, past Cork Harbour and around to the west coast, can find the following sets of waypoints and coastal descriptions by clicking 'Next'.

Why sail this route?
The is a straightforward set of waypoints providing a coastal route to passing between Rosslare and Cork Harbour whilst rounding the southeast corner of Ireland. Boats approaching from Saint George's Channel, or the east coast of Ireland, and rounding Carnsore Point, Ireland’s south-eastern corner, have two primary options:

  • • The 'offshore route' that rounds the corner outside of Tuskar Rock and the Saltee Islands to the south of Coningbeg Super Buoy.

  • • The 'inshore route', that comes close in and around Carnsore Point and heads almost directly west to pass through St. Patrick’s Bridge, between the Saltee Islands and the mainland.
It is the 'inshore route' that is detailed here with the separately covered 'Offshore Route' Route location being available as a separate option for rounding Carnsore Point.

Please note

The current tidal event is springs so expect streams to be at their strongest.


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.

ROSSLARE HARBOUR TO CORK HARBOUR
OVERVIEW

The eighty-five miles of coast between Rosslare and Cork Harbour moves from long stretches of sandy shorelines, backed by lowlands, in the east, to the predominately rock cliff, and boulder-strewn indentations in the west. The passage is interspersed by numerous headlands and peninsulas with a few off-lying dangers residing to seaward of the salient points.

Careful advance planning is required to round the south-east 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, with careful tidal planning, it is more than manageable.

LISTED WAYPOINTS

The complete course is 83.33 miles from the waypoint 'Rosslare Harbour Pierhead light' to '½ a mile east of the Cork Sea Buoy' tending in a west south westerly direction (reciprocal east north easterly).

Rosslare Harbour Pierhead light, 52° 15.421' N, 006° 20.260' W
Rosslare Harbour Red Tower, Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M, at the head of the pier.

       Next waypoint: 1.57 miles, course 104.43°T (reciprocal 284.43°T)

100 metres north of Calmines Buoy, 52° 15.030' N, 006° 17.781' W
Calmines Red Can Buoy, Fl R 3s SYNC


       Next waypoint: 0.87 miles, course 135.47°T (reciprocal 315.47°T)

100 metres north of Splaugh Light buoy, 52° 14.410' N, 006° 16.785' W
Splaugh Light red buoy, Fl(2) R 6s Sync, situated ¾ of a mile to the east by north-east of an extensive rocky shoal, with 0.6 of a metre on its shallowest part. From here steer to stay inside The Bailies.

       Next waypoint: 3.78 miles, course 207.16°T (reciprocal 27.16°T)

100 metres east of Fundale Rock Buoy, 52° 11.045' N, 006° 19.600' W
Fundale Red Buoy, Fl (2) R 10s, marks a Fundale Rock that resides 600 metres west-northwest of Carnsore Point. It uncovers at half-tide and dries to 1.2 metres. This is close to the shoreline so some vigilance is needed not to allow the strong tidal sweep around Carnsore Point to set the boat towards the shore. Beware of lobster pots along this corner.

       Next waypoint: 1.60 miles, course 233.46°T (reciprocal 53.46°T)

Carnsore Point, 52° 10.090' N, 006° 21.700' W
Approximately 500 metres south-east of the point. This leg is positioned close to the Carnsore Point in order to keep pass well inside Tercheen Rock, awash and 400 metres to the north of Back Rock that is always clearly visible. Steering for St. Patrick's Bridge keeps the vessel north of the Bohurs which are subject to extensive overfalls.

       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: 12.86 miles, course 257.37°T (reciprocal 77.37°T)

1 mile south of Hook Head Light, 52° 6.420' N, 006° 55.770' W
South of Hook Head Lighthouse - Fl 3s 46m 24M and Tower Race. Tower Race which forms when the ebb from Waterford Harbour is stronger than the west-going stream becomes violent in strong westerly winds, and particularly so between about 2 hours before to 2 hours after High Water Dover.

       Next waypoint: 54.21 miles, course 244.83°T (reciprocal 64.83°T)

½ a mile east of the Cork Sea Buoy, 51° 42.935' N, 008° 14.910' W
The Cork Sea Buoy has LFl 10s and is situated 5 miles south of the Cork Harbour entrance. The waypoint is in the alignment 354°T of the leading lights at Dogsnose situated about 1½ miles within the entrance and on the east side of Cork Harbour.


ROSSLARE HARBOUR TO GREENORE POINT


Rosslare Europort and Rosslare Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Both Rosslare Europort Click to view haven, formerly and more commonly known as Rosslare Harbour, and Rosslare Bay Click to view haven are entered from the south through the South Shear Channel. The South Shear Channel passes south of the extensive shoal that contains the Holden’s Bed and Long Bank that enclose the Rosslare Harbour and bay.


Rosslare Europort from the approach channel
Image: Michael Harpur


The southernmost sandbank is immediately east of Rosslare Harbour and called the Holdens Bed. It is approximately ¾ of a mile long, north to south, and a ¼ of a mile wide. Located immediately to the south-west of the Long Bank it may be considered a detached portion of this larger bank. The Holdens Bed has 5.8 metres of water at its shallowest point and its western edge is steep-to.


Rosslare Europort
Image: Michael Harpur


The South Shear is immediately south of Holdens Bed bank and the southern end of the Long Bank. It is ½ a mile wide with a controlled depth of 6.7 metres at the entrance decreasing to 3.9 to 4.5 metres off the head of the harbour breakwater. The key northern markers for the South Shear are starboard markers off the Holdens Bank plus a south cardinal off the southern end of the Long Bank. All of the following markers should be passed to port.

West Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (3) G 10s position: 52° 15.763'N, 006° 18.747'W

South Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (2) G 6s position: 52° 15.146'N, 006° 17.249'W

South Long - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 14.835’N, 006° 15.647’W


Rosslare Europort's pierhead light with Tuskar Rock in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur
The South Shear’s southern dangers, on the opposite or south side of the channel, are the shoals and reefs surrounding the mainland’s Greenore Point plus the Splaugh Rock. These are marked by the following markers that should be passed to starboard.

Calmines - Red Can Buoy Fl R 2s position: 52° 14.997’N, 006° 17.781’w

Splaugh - Red Can Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 14.432’N, 006° 16.774’W


The channel, along with the North Sheer that providing northern approaches, is supported at night by a white sector light from the red metal tower set on Rosslare Harbour pierhead.

Pierhead Light – Red Tower Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M position: 52° 15.430’N, 006° 20.320’W

The light sectors are as follows; Green 098°-188°, White-208°, Red -246°, Green-283°, White-286°, Red-320°.


A water tower ½ a mile to the northwest makes Greenore Point highly conspicuous. It may be additionally distinguished from Carnsore Point by its 18-metre high clay cliffs with a small derelict second world war watch station at its head. The very small Helen’s Bay boat harbour, protected by a short pier, may also be seen ¾ miles south by southwest of the point.


Carrick Rock beacon as seen over the channel's Calmines buoy
Image: Michael Harpur


This is a dangerous corner that requires specific attention. A reef extends 800 metres east by northeast from Greenore Point. At the end of the reef is Carrick Rock that is marked by a perch in the form of a red mast with a metal flag with letters "CR".


The reef extending from Greenore Point to Carrick Rock
Image: Michael Harpur


Greenore’s off-lying dangers plus unpredictable strong tidal currents make this area particularly dangerous. Heavy overfalls occur off the point caused by the rocky uneven bottom in the vicinity.


The Greenore Point watch station overlooking Carrick Rock
Image: Michael Harpur


Immediately offshore, 0.7 miles east by south-east of Greenore Point, is the Splaugh Rock, an extensive rocky shoal, with 0.6 of a metre on its shallowest part. Splaugh Rock is marked by the Splaugh Light buoy ¾ of a mile to the east-northeast.

Splaugh - Red Can Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 14.432’N, 006° 16.774’W



GREENORE POINT TO CARNSORE POINT
Via The Inshore Route


There are two primary options available to vessels passing around Carnsore Point, Ireland’s south-eastern corner, to/from St George's Channel or the east coast of Ireland:

  • • The 'offshore route', that rounds the southeast corner of Ireland on the outside, or on the eastern or seaward side, of Tuskar Rock using the Inshore Traffic Zone, of the Tuskar Rock Traffic Separation Scheme. This is detailed in the route rounding the southeast corner of Ireland via the 'Offshore Route' Route location.

  • • The 'inshore route' that passes inside the 3½ mile wide fairway that lies between the coast and Tuskar Rock and then passes close in and around Carnsore Point.

The former, 'offshore route', continues southwestward to pass the Barrels East Cardinal Mark Light Buoy and then to pass around the Saltee Islands to the south of Coningbeg Super Buoy. The 'inshore route' passes to the north of the Barrels, Tercheen Rock and Black Rock then heads almost directly west to pass through St. Patrick’s Bridge, between the Saltee Islands and the mainland. But the latter westward stages of either option, after Carnsore Point, may be exchanged according to one's preference.


Although the 'inshore route' requires some more attentive navigation and good visibility it is the preferred leisure craft route for many reasons. It avoids the complications of the Inshore Traffic Zone, shortens the approach distance and secures smoother inshore waters. In reasonable conditions, with the benefit of good visibility plus a good breeze, or a reliable engine, the inshore option offers the leisure boats the better option and more interesting passage and it is the coastal description that is detailed here. However, the 'offshore route' detailed in Rounding the southeast corner of Ireland via the 'Offshore Route' Route location, is much more straightforward and the best approach to take at night, with poor visibility or in uncomfortable weather.


Southward via the 'Inshore Route'

Vessels taking the 'inshore route' should stand well clear of Greenore Point
Image: euphro via CC BY 2.0


Leisure vessels taking the inshore route should entirely avoid Greenore Point and the surrounding area.
From there a vessel should make a direct path to pass immediately east of the Fundale port hand marker Buoy, just over 4 miles 208° T along the coast - see below.

This route between the Splaugh and Fundale markers take a vessel just inside, to the west of, The Bailies and close outside, to the east, of Whilkeen and Collough rocks.


Tuskar Rock Lighthouse as seen from the north
Image: Tom Furlong


This is well inside Tuskar Rock that is the outermost danger of this corner of Ireland, situated 6 miles east by north-east of Carnsore Point. It is 5 metres high and located on a rocky bank with depths of less than 3 metres around it, except on the east side that is steep-to. A light is shown from a conspicuous lighthouse structure, 34 metres high, standing on the rock.

Tuskar - Lighthouse Q(2) 7.5s position: 52°12.175'N, 006°12.445'W

Tuskar Rock Lighthouse first lit in 1815
Image: Blair Kelly
On the west side of the rock, the deep-water channel is 1½ miles wide between the dangers west of the rock and The Bailies bank and this is also a viable option. The traffic separation scheme is established within 11 miles south-east of Tuskar Rock. Vessels proceeding north should enter St. George’s Channel through the outer lane and vessels proceeding south should leave the channel through the inner lane. Northbound vessels should be aware that outbound vessels from ports on the east side of the Irish Sea, generally head across St. George’s Channel in order to enter the south and inner traffic lane.

The South Rock Light buoy is moored 1.5 miles South of Tuskar Rock marking the South Rock with 2.4 metres of water over it.

South Rock - South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 52° 2 10.810’N, 006° 12.848’W

The 'inshore route' is well in from Tuskar Rock and inside the The Bailies that extend along the shore approximately ¾ of the distance between the Tuskar and the mainland. The Bailies are part of an irregular bank of rocks and coarse ground that extend from Greenore Point in a south-southwest direction for four miles. At its shallowest, the bank has just over 9 metres of cover and heavy overfalls are to be found here on its rocky pinnacles.

The direct path between the Splaugh and Fundale markers takes a vessel along the inshore edge of The Bailies where deeper waters are to be found between the shoal and the Wexford shoreline. It may be advisable for smaller vessels to avoid The Bailies entirely in the full strength of the tidal streams when the overfalls occur.

Ballytrent Bay indenting the coast close north of Whilkeen Rock
Image: Michael Harpur


There is an anchorage in Ballytrent Bay Click to view haven, about 2 miles south by southwest of Splagh Rock and northward of Whilkeen Rock. The open clean bay provides shelter during moderate winds from north round through west, to west by southwest in ample water with good sand holding.

Ballytrent's grove of trees and mast from seaward
Image: Burke Corbett


The anchoring area will be readily apparent on approach as it lies beneath a grove of trees which is the only significant group of trees along this stretch of coast. There is also a radio mast within the treeline and a house standing close north.


The two rock groups that exist outside and between Ballytrent Bay and St Margaret's Bay on the shore. These are the Whilkeen Rocks and Collough to the south of St Margret's Bay. Although unmarked, they are prominently noted on charts.


Wilkeen Rock as seen from the southern end of Ballytrent Bay
Image: Burke Corbett


Awash at high-water springs and drying to about 2.5 metres Whilkeen Rock resides about 700 metres out from the shore. It forms the extremity of a reef that partially uncovers at low water with foul ground extending ashore for a distance of 400 metres to the northeast and east of it.

Whilkeen Rock – unmarked position: 52° 12.234’N, 006° 20.051’W

Black Rock, kept open of Carnsore Point, bearing 239° T leads southward of Collough and Fundale Rocks. Alternatively, Ballytrent House (bearing 336° T), open eastward of Whilkeen Rock when dry, leads eastward of Collough and Fundale Rocks (below).


Carne's small pier at the south end of St Margaret’s Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


In St Margaret's Bay, between Collough and Whilkeen Rocks, there is the tidal pier of Carne Click to view haven that is principally used for the protection of small lobster boats. A good anchorage for leisure vessels over clean sand can be had here with offshore winds. But when the wind is southward of west a heavy swell rolls in.


Carne Pier with Crossfintan Point and Carnsore Point in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


Crossfintan Point, 1.2 miles north by northeast of Carnsore Point, has the latter outside danger Collough Rock. The outlying Collough Rock lies about a ½ mile eastward of the point, ¾ of a mile to the south of Whilkeen and about 1¾ miles northeastward of Carnsore Point. It is steep-to, and has a general depth of 1.5 metres but is awash at LAT over a small part. Foul ground extends 0.2 mile northeast and east of Collough Rock.

Collough Rock – unmarked position: 52° 11.450’N, 006° 19.803’W


Fundale Buoy with Carnsore Point in the backdrop
Image: Burke Corbett


Just over ½ a mile southwest of Collough Rock and about 1 mile northeast of Carnsore Point is Fundale Rock. Fundale is steep-to, dries at half-tide and dries to 1.2 metres. It is marked by a light port buoy moored close east by southeast.

Fundale - Red Can Buoy Fl (2) R 10s position: 51° 10.655’N, 006° 20.299’W


Low and modest Carnsore Point shows its outline at dusk
Image: Michael Foley via CC BY-NC 2.0


Modestly marking Ireland’s south-east corner Carnsore Point is a low 16-metre high clay cliff with rocky shelves beneath. The point makes itself known from many miles by its prominent wind farm that consists of 14 large turbines. There are several rocks to the northeast but it is largely clear on the southern side with plenty of depth 500 metres offshore. Keep close to the southern shore to align a path to St. Patrick’s Bridge to the north of Tercheen Rock.
Please note

There can be a dangerous race off Carnsore Point. Beware of a strong tidal sweep that may occur when passing the Fundale Rock Buoy and Carnsore Point. It is essential that a vessel stays on track here and avoids being swept too far south or ashore depending on the tide at hand.





SOUTH OF CARNSORE POINT

South of Carnsore Point the coast to St. Patrick’s Bridge is being low and fronted by offshore dangers. There are two routes available to proceed westward:

  • • The 'inshore route' comes close in and around Carnsore Point and heads almost directly west to pass through St Patrick’s Bridge, between the Saltee Islands and the mainland.

  • • The 'offshore route' continues southwestward to pass the Barrels East Cardinal Mark Light Buoy, to pass around the Saltee Islands to the south of Coningbeg Super Buoy.

The 'inshore route' is the preferred leisure craft route for many reasons. It avoids the complications of the Inshore Traffic Zone, shortens the approach distance and secures smoother inshore waters. In reasonable conditions, with the benefit of good visibility plus a good breeze, or a reliable engine, the inshore option offers the leisure boats the better option and more interesting passage. Hence this coastal description provides waypoints for the 'inshore route'. Conversely, the 'offshore route' is much more straightforward and the best approach to take at night, with poor visibility or in uncomfortable weather. Hence, there is a separate set of waypoints for rounding Carnsore Point by the 'offshore route'Route location.

Barrels Cardinal Mark with Carnsore Point in the backdrop
Image: Burke Corbett


The inshore route continues to St. Patrick’s Bridge by passing north of the Barrels Rock, Black Rock and Tercheen rocks; the latter being the most important.

This path will have a vessel pass about a mile north of the drying Barrels Rocks that lie about 1.8 miles south by south-west of Carnsore Point. An additional shoal, Nether Rock, with 5 metres of cover, lies ½ mile north by north-west of these rocks. The Barrels are marked by an East Cardinal Buoy that is moored about 2 miles south of Carnsore Point.

Barrels – East Cardinal Q (3) 10s position: 52° 08.363’N, 006° 22.108’W


If at this point there is any uncertainty of visibility or a big sea is running this is the opportunity to go south and seaward. Thereby taking the latter half of the rounding Carnsore Point by the 'offshore route'Route location by making for the Barrels Light buoy and then for the Coningbeg Super Buoy.


Black Rock as seen from the southwest with Carnsore in the backdrop
Image: Burke Corbett


The reference rock to identify on the 'inshore route' is the highly conspicuous Black Rock that resides 2 miles southwest-by-south of Carnsore Point. It is about 100 metres in extent and elevated 2 metres above high water. The south side of it is clear of danger, but 400 metres to the north of it is a detached rock, the Tercheen, that only uncovers at low water and is awash at other times.

Black Rock – unmarked position: 52° 09.209’N, 006° 24.893’W


Once Black Rock is located Tercheen Rock is then the key rock to accurately position. It will be found awash, or drying, 400 metres to the north of Black Rock. A midway path between the prominent Black Rock and the mainland comfortably passes to the north of Tercheen.

Tercheen Rock – unmarked, position: 52° 09.409’N, 006° 24.911’W

Once past these rocks, the passage is clear to St. Patrick’s Bridge located 7 miles west by south-west between the northernmost of the Saltee Islands, Little Saltee, and the mainland.


The Saltee Islands appearing on the western horizon
Image: Burke Corbett


The Saltee Islands consist of two islands, Great Saltee and Little Saltee and require specific attention. Both islands are fronted by numerous rocks and shoals and have highly irregular surrounding currents. They offer a host of, largely settled condition, anchorages out of the strength of the tidal currents see below 'Additional notes for the Saltee Islands'.


The Saltee Islands as seen from the northeast on the approach to the pass over
St Patrick's Bridge

Image: Burke Corbett


Situated within the 1¾ mile-wide gap between the shore and northern Little Saltee Island, St. Patrick’s Bridge is a ridge of rock and shingle that curves back from the northernmost point of the Little Saltee to the mainland east of Kilmore Quay. The attached ends dry off a considerable distance from each side and at about midway between the island and the shore, if a little closer to Little Saltee, there is a passage over the ridge. The passage has 2.4 metres at LWS and is well marked from April to September by two seasonal port and starboard light buoys.

Starboard Marker – Green Buoy Fl. G6s 2M position: 52°09.300’N, 006° 34.700’W

Port Marker – Red Buoy Fl. R6s 2M position: 52°09.135’N, 006° 34.700’W


St Patrick’s Bridge extending from the shore to the east of Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


On approach, the 35 meters high Little Saltee Island, on the southern side, plus the constant use by leisure and fishing boats should make the bridge and passage plain to see. A local boatman’s set of waypoints will align the bridge for crossing at the optimal point.

St Patrick's Bridge East – alignment waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 33.000’W

St Patrick's Bridge – waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 34.700’W

St Patrick's Bridge West – alignment waypoint: 52° 09.300’N, 006° 35.650’W


The St Patrick's Bridge passage offers the shortest and simplest route to the inshore area between the Kilmore Quay and the Saltee Islands. It is also the quickest route from Carnsore Point to Hook Head.


Kilmore Quay’s Safe Water Marker with the leading marks aligned in the
backdrop

Image: Michael Harpur


The bridge crossing aligns a vessel to track down on the Kilmore Quay’s safe water marker. This is a red and white buoy that has a white long flash and situated a ⅓ of a mile west of the St. Patrick's Bridge crossing point.
Please note

The buoy may not be marked on older charts as it was only established in April 2007.




Kilmore Quay situated four miles north of the Saltee Islands
Image: Michael Harpur


The popular fishing harbour and the village of Kilmore Quay Click to view haven is situated ½ a mile west of St Patrick's Bridge and 4 miles northward of the Saltee Islands. The small fishing harbour, protected by two quays, has a small marina and ample leisure facilities such as sea angling charters and pleasure trips to the Saltee Islands that also contribute significantly to its economy.



SALTEE ISLANDS
(Additional Notes)

The Saltee Islands as seen from Kilmore Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Below are additional navigational notes for vessels assessing other routes and berthing opportunities Click to view haven in and around the Saltee Islands or for those who plan to cruise in this area.


The view from the southwest end of Great Saltee Island
Image: Michael Harpur


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