England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes


Coastal Overview for Strangford Lough to Dublin Bay

Tides and tools

Be the first
to comment

What is the route?
This is the primary coastal description and set of waypoints for the area between the entrance to Strangford Lough and Dublin Bay. 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 north to south or coastal clockwise as follows:

  • • Close east of Dundrum Bay

  • • Close east of the entrance to Carlingford Lough

  • • Close east of the Skerries

  • • Inside Lambay

  • • Close east of Ben of Howth
The preceding northeast coast's set of waypoints and coastal description is available by clicking 'Previous', above, and vessels planning on continuing southwards, past Dublin and beyond, can find the following sets of waypoints and coastal descriptions by clicking 'Next'.

Why sail this route?
This is a coastal sequence for cruisers who want to stay in inshore waters to enjoy the coastal scenery, its calmer seas and drop into the many listed passage havens described along the way.

Those intent upon making a fast passage will find the Bangor to Dublin Route location , either way, with 12 hours of a favourable tide, offers a better plan for this length of the coast.

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.

Expand to
new tab or fullscreen
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 Strangford Lough and Dublin Bay has comparatively few dangers when compared to other Irish coastal stretches. Rockabill, the Skerries and Lambay are the only deep water off-lying obstructions that require any consideration.


The complete course is 66.31 miles from the waypoint '1 mile south of the Strangford Light Float' to '¼ a mile east Dublin Bay buoy' tending in a south south westerly direction (reciprocal north north easterly).

1 mile south of the Strangford Light Float, 54° 17.550' N, 005° 28.680' W
The Strangford Lough Marker Light Float approach marker, LFl 10s, is situated a mile and a half to the southeast of Ballyquintin Point. It is on the bearing of 323.7° T of Angus Rock Lighthouse (2.9 miles with the entrance to Strangford Lough) used for entering The Narrows.

       Next waypoint: 6.63 miles, course 233.54°T (reciprocal 53.54°T)

1 mile east of St John’s Point Light, 54° 13.605' N, 005° 37.800' W
The prominent 40-metre high Saint John’s Point Lighthouse, Q(2) 7.5s (Red. Vis.), stands on the southeast side of Saint John’s Point, a low promontory that makes up the east entrance point of Dundrum Bay.

       Next waypoint: 18.73 miles, course 225.07°T (reciprocal 45.07°T)

1 mile east of Hellyhunter South Cardinal, 54° 0.351' N, 006° 0.350' W
Hellyhunter South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s moored about 1.5 miles southeast of Cranfield Point at the entrance to Carlingford Lough. It marks Hellyhunter Rock, with 1.5 metres of water, located 1.2 miles east by south from the point.

       Next waypoint: 25.28 miles, course 184.16°T (reciprocal 4.16°T)

½ a mile east of The Skerries' St. Patrick’s Island, 53° 35.150' N, 006° 3.440' W
St. Patrick’s, the outermost island of The Skerries group, is distinguished by the ruins of a church on its southwest end.

       Next waypoint: 5.80 miles, course 181.88°T (reciprocal 1.88°T)

¾ of a mile west of the Burren Rock Beacon Lambay Island, 53° 29.353' N, 006° 3.760' W
The Burren Rocks Beacon Fl G5s, is a starboard beacon situated 400 metres west of the westernmost point of Lambay Island. It marks a reef, that uncovers on last quarter of the ebb, that extends out from the island.

       Next waypoint: 6.36 miles, course 169.67°T (reciprocal 349.67°T)

½ a mile east of the Nose of Howth, 53° 23.100' N, 006° 1.850' W
Nose of Howth is the northeast corner of the Ben of Howth, a peninsula dominating the northeast side of Dublin Bay.

       Next waypoint: 1.50 miles, course 200.22°T (reciprocal 20.22°T)

¼ a mile east of Baily Lighthouse, 53° 21.690' N, 006° 2.720' W
The Baily Lighthouse, Fl 15s (Red. Vis.), stands on the southeast extremity of the Ben of Howth marking the northern point of the entrance to Dublin Bay.

       Next waypoint: 1.99 miles, course 206.74°T (reciprocal 26.74°T)

¼ a mile east Dublin Bay buoy, 53° 19.912' N, 006° 4.220' W
R/W Buoy Mo(A)10s Dublin Bay's central marker situated in the middle of the bay.


The highly attractive sailing destination of Strangford Lough is located nearly midway between Carlingford and Belfast loughs and is entered between Ballyquintin Point and Killard Point, 1.2 miles to the southwest. It provides cruisers with all-weather, all-tide shelter and at least seventy islands, along with many islets called pladdies, bays, coves, inlets and headlands to explore. It is thought to offer 60 square miles of the finest sheltered sailing in Ireland and a host of its sheltered anchorages Click to view haven are already covered.

The Narrows leads north-northwest for five miles into Strangford Lough where are available for cruising vessels, at all stages of the tide, in various parts of the entrance and the wider Lough itself. With maximum Spring tidal rates attaining 7.6 knots in The Narrows, timing is everything when it comes to entering Strangford Lough. The tidal window for an approach, or exit, along with its waypoints and pilotage, are separately covered in the Route Entering and exiting Strangford Lough Route location.

On the north shore is Ballyquintin Point that marks the southern extremity of the Ards Peninsula; the thumb of land that separates Strangford Lough from the Irish Sea. It is low and shelving, but further back, the Ballywhite Hills above PortaferryClick to view haven , are high and conspicuous, attaining an elevation of 99 metres. Tara Hill, with a prominent old fort on its summit, stands 1.5 miles to the north of the point.

In the middle of the entrance is Angus Rock, about ½ a mile long and 200 metres wide, of which the greater part uncovers at low water. Upon it stands the Angus Rock Lighthouse, a white tower with a red top.

Angus Rock Lighthouse - Fl. R. 5s 15m 6M position: 54° 19.843’N, 005° 31.520’W

On the southern side of the entrance, is Killard Point located about 1.2 miles northeast of Guns Island. Surrounded by a rocky foreshore it is of moderate elevation and backed by high hills. The Craiglewey Rocks extend in a south-southwest direction from it for more than 600 metres. Likewise to the north of the point, a rocky foreshore, with foul ground beyond, extends 500 metres to the north.

600 metres to the southeast of Killard Point is St. Patrick’s Rock. Steep-to all-round, it is covered at 4 hours flood, when its position is marked by a red beacon (that is unlit at night).

St. Patrick's Rocks - Red Beacon position: 54° 18.584’N, 005° 30.937’W

The Strangford Lough Marker Light Float marker is situated a 1½ to the southeast of Ballyquintin Point.

Strangford Light Float - LFl 10s position: 54° 18.626’N, 005° 28.689’W

From Guns Island to the southwest, as far as Ardglass, the coast is a bold rocky shore, of moderate elevation. It is free from danger with depths in excess of 10 metres for 400 metres off the shoreline. Guns Island is connected with the main at low water by a gravelly bank and is well marked on its south end by a white square 7 metres high obelisk with a red can topmark. A conspicuous 24 metres high water tower stands on the mainland.

The busy fishing harbour of Ardglass Click to view haven, that includes the Phennick Cove Marina is approximately a mile to the eastward of Ringfad Point. The promontory of Ringfad, between Killough and Ardglass, is distinguished by a conical hill surmounted by a tower, which, as well as Ardglass church steeple, serves to point out the harbour. There are several old castles in the neighbourhood, three of which are in the town. Phennick Point, on the east shore, is steep-to on its seaward side.

Just under a mile to the southwest of Ardglass, and 1½ miles to the northeast of Saint John’s Point, between Ringfad Point and Ringsallagh (or Corbet Head), is Killough Bay Click to view haven. The bay has many rocks and a drying harbour that is used by a handful of small open fishing vessels. The Water Rocks, in the outer part of the bay, are marked by a red mast, dry to 3 metres and only cover on last quarter of the flood. Further within the bay these are the Little and Big Plates, and the Garter reef, all dry at low water. The rocky foreshore uncovers out to a distance of 300 metres in places.

Saint John’s Point is a low promontory that makes up the east entrance point of Dundrum Bay. The prominent 40-metre high tower of St. John's Point Lighthouse stands on the southeast side of the point.

Saint John’s Point Lighthouse - Q(2) 7.5s 37m 25M position: 54° 13.605’N, 005° 39.611’W

Saint John’s Point is moderately steep-to with more than five metres 400 metres to the south of it.

Between and St. John’s Point and Mullartown Point, bearing west by south and east by north from each other, is Dundrum Bay. It is 10 miles wide and nearly 5 miles deep. There is 25 metres of water between the points of the bay that decreases to 5 to 7 metres one mile from its shores and the shoreline is shallow everywhere. The Mourne Mountains skirt the western shore. Slieve Donard, their highest peak, rises within the distance of 1.5 miles from the beach, to the height of 848 metres, and is a very imposing feature. Of the interior mountains Slieve Croob, rising to a height of 534 metres, is conspicuous from all parts of the bay.

The northern shore of the bay is composed of sand-hills, which about the middle of the bay are penetrated by a narrow channel leading to the harbour of Dundrum Click to view haven. The eastern shore is formed by the low promontory of St. John’s Point, with a lighthouse at its extremity. The west shoreline continues foul and rocky for more than 2 miles to the north of Mullartown Point.

The rock of Craigalea stands conspicuously on the sandy shore near the middle of the bay, almost 5 miles to the east by north from Newcastle. A little to the eastward of Craigalea, a reef extends for more than a mile from the shore.

This terminates in the Cow and Calf rocks, that barely cover at high-water spring tides, and form a useful mark for the extremity of the reef. The coast from Craigalea to St. John’s Point forms several indentations and rocky points.

1.8 miles north of Mullartown Point and 600 metres from the shore is Roaring Rock that dries at low water. To the north of this it is clear of danger, but as Newcastle Harbour Click to view haven is approached, at the foot of the mountains, in the western corner of the bay, it becomes shallow, with not more than 5 metres of water ½ a mile from the pier.

Between Dundrum Bay and Cranfield Point, on the northern entrance to Lough Carlingford, about 13 miles to the northeast, the coast is for the most part composed of low ranges of clay cliffs with foreshores of rocks and boulders. It is entirely backed by the lofty summits of the Mourne Mountains. Prominent amongst these are the 631 meters high Eagle Mountain that rise about 7 miles north of Cranfield Point. Plus, 6.7 miles east-northeast of Eagle Mountain, the 848 metres high Slieve Donard, the group's highest and most conspicuous peak.

¾ of a mile south by southwest of Mullartown Point resides Annalong Harbour Click to view haven, dry at three-quarters ebb.

About 3.75 miles to the southwest is Lee Stone Point, a low point with a huge granite boulder at its extremity. A mile to the west of Lee Stone Point the active fishing port of Kilkeel Click to view haven can be found.

From here the coastline runs west by south for about 4 miles to Cranfield Point. Vessels should keep at least two miles off or not venture into depths of less than 10 metres from Lee Stone Point to Cranfield. Between Lee Stone Point and Dundrum Bay cruising vessels maintain a distance of ¾ of a mile off the shoreline will clear all dangers.


Yachts visiting Carlingford Lough will find a wide range of berthing opportunities Click to view haven. The Lough stretches eight miles inland here and it has been long enjoyed by sailing vessels. Its entrance resides between Ballagan Point and Cranfield Point, 2 miles to the northeast, and in the centre stands the 34-metre high grey granite Haulbowline Lighthouse.

Haulbowline Lighthouse - Fl (3) W10s 17M position: 54° 01.196’N, 006° 04.740’W

Haulbowline Rock, upon which the lighthouse stands, covers during the first quarter of the flood. The channel to the Lough is to the eastward of it. Out to 3.2 miles to the southeast from the Haulbowline Lighthouse is the Carlingford marker buoy.

Carlingford Buoy - Fl 10s position: 53° 58.759'N, 006° 01.111’W

The ingress is easily identified by the low entrance being framed between the Cooley Mountains and the Mountains of Mourne appearing in the upper part of the Lough ranging from 300 to 600 metres in height.

Foul ground extends to the southeast of Cranfield Point upon the north-western side of the entrance. The drying Nelly Pladdy group exists 600 metres from the shore. Hellyhunter Rock, with 1.5 metres of water, is on the outer edge of this group 1.2 miles east by south from the point. This is marked by the South Cardinal buoy moored about 1.5 miles southeast of Cranfield Point.

Likewise Ballagan Point, upon the southern side of the entrance, is surrounded with foul ground with Ballagan Spit extending east for a mile. A little within the entrance is a reef of Limestone Rocks that extend across the entrance to Haulbowline Lighthouse, some of these uncover at half-ebb, and others dry to 2.1 metres at low water, and all forming a natural breakwater to the Lough within.

Hellyhunter South Cardinal - Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 54° 00.351'N 006° 02.052’W

Progress southwest, Dundalk Bay’s northern limit is Cooley Point with two beds of rocks extending from the shoreline.

The westernmost of these, called the Castle Rocks, that run off in a south by southwest direction from the west side of the point. These have 1.5 metres of cover at a distance of a mile from the point.

The other shoal is Imogene Rock, which extends from the east side of Cooley Point. This is a pinnacle rock with 0.3 of a metre of cover, ¾ of a mile to the southeast of the point. To the eastward of the Imogene Rock there is an irregular rocky shoal, called the Ridge, with 4 and 7 metres of cover over it. To enable vessels to keep to the southward of all these rocks and shoals, the Imogene Buoy has been placed in 15 metres of water 1½ miles south by southeast of Cooley Point.

Imogene Buoy – Port hand Fl (2) R 10s position: 53° 57.415'N 006° 07.042’W

This places Imogene Rock nearly half way between the buoy and the shore. It is advised that vessels entering or exiting Dundalk Bay should pass to the southward of the buoy.

Between Dunany Point and Cooley Point, about 8 miles to the northeast, is Dundalk Bay that is shallow throughout. Extensive reefs surround both points of entrance and midway between them is deep water of between 11 to 14 metres. The southern and western parts of the bay are also very shallow and rocky, with not more than 2 to 4 metres of water over a large space. Towards the north shore and 1½ miles to the westward of Cooley Point, the bottom is clean sand. Soundings here decrease gradually to the head of the bay making it usable for anchoring with off-shore winds. The best place for this purpose is off Gyles Quay Click to view haven.

From Gyles Quay extensive sandbanks sweep round the bight of the bay to beyond Anagassan on the southern shore, uncovering at low water for a distance of up to 2 miles from the high-water line. A narrow channel leads through these sands to the Dundalk Harbour Click to view haven.

The southern limit of Dundalk Bay is formed by Dunany Point. Of moderate height, it has a church on the summit of the rising ground about 0.7 of a mile west-southwest of the point. Another spire, surrounded by trees, exists about 1.7 miles further southwest. A further conspicuous and isolated tower will be seen 2 miles inland about midway between Clogher Head and the point. On top of the cliff of Dunany Point itself, a small lookout hut can be clearly seen from seaward. Dunany Point is marked by red buoy placed 3.5 miles to the northeast in 15 metres of water.

Dunany Buoy – Port hand Fl R 3s position: 53° 53.530'N 006° 09.502’W

Dunany Point is surrounded by outlying rocks, one uncovers at low water at a distance of ½ a mile to the east of it. This rock makes it a very dangerous point to cut for those intending upon exiting Dundalk Bay. A shallow patch runs out from Dunany Point to the east for a distance of 1½ miles and Dunany Shoals stretch 2¾ miles to the north-eastward in irregular patches with depths of 2 to 3 metres. Beyond this, there is a deep shoal called Dundalk Patch with 5 to 8 metres of cover 3 miles east by north from Dunany Point. All of these are marked by the Dunany Buoy and vessels acquainted with the area may pass over the shoals and the point along the 5-metre contour.


Four miles south of Dunany Point is the bold rocky promontory of Clogher Head with the fishing port of Port Oriel Click to view haven upon its north side. Two Coast Guard huts are prominent east of Clogher Head. It is moderately bold-to and clear of danger, there is more 5 to 10 metres water within 200 metres of the headland.

4½ miles south of Clogher Head is the River Boyne, the first important inlet to the northward of the Skerries. The entrance is 6.75 miles north of Balbriggan, 9 miles to the north of the Skerries and approximately thirty miles north of Dublin. It is well marked by leading lights plus an unlit shipping alignment tower called the Maiden Tower situated 1,000 metres inside the entrance on the southwest side.

Maiden Tower - position: 53° 43.352'N 006° 15.087'W

There are several anchorages available in the River Boyne on the way to Drogheda Click to view haven situated 4½ miles up the River Boyne.

Between the River Boyne and Balbriggan the coast is low-lying and unreceptive to yachtsman. Whilst traversing this part of the coast special attention should be paid to keep clear of Cardy Rocks.

The Cardy Rocks are a patch of half-tide rocks that are marked by a (port hand) beacon and covered by the green sector of Balbriggan Light. They are located 1 mile north by northeast of Balbriggan lighthouse, 400 metres from Braymore Point.
Cardy Rocks – Port beacon position: 53° 37.912'N, 006° 10.850’W

Five metres will be found immediately east of Cardy Rocks and a narrow passage where up to 7 metres of water can be found between them and the mainland. Gormanstown Aerodrome is close to the coast here, approximately 2 miles northeast of Balbriggan and one mile north from the Cardies, with a 49.2 metres high radio mast. This is visible for some considerable distance out to sea during darkness when it is lit by three vertical red lights plus lower level red lights.

Just under seven miles to the south of the River Boyne is Balbriggan Click to view haven a small artificial harbour that dries out completely along with the surrounding bay. The harbour is made obvious by the Balbriggan Light, a white pierhead light upon the north corner of the pier.

Balbriggan Light - Fl (3) WRG 20s 10M position: 53° 36.778' N, 006° 10.702' W

Four miles to the southeast of Balbriggan are The Skerries. This is a group of small islands called St. Patrick’s, Colt, Shenick’s, and Red islands. They vary from 15 to 18 metres in height and all have extensive rocky foreshores. St. Patrick’s, the outermost island, is distinguished by the ruins of a church on its southwest end, Shenicks and Red islands by Martello towers. The two latter are connected with the mainland, Shenicks at low water only, and Red Island by a causeway, which provides shelter to the drying Skerries Bay and Harbour Click to view haven on its north-west side. There is a passage between St. Patrick’s Island and Colt Island that is used by leisure craft and has a least depth of 3 metres.

The principal dangers to be avoided are a reef that extends 400 metres to the south-west of St. Patrick’s island. Also, for those approaching Skerries Bay and Harbour, Cross Rock, on the outer end of a ledge extending to the northward of Red Island and dry at low water, must be carefully avoided by vessels inbound into the harbour. Skerries Sailing Club shared a list of waypoints Route location and directions to assist with passage planning through the Skerries Islands.

2½ miles east by north of St. Patrick’s island is Rockabill with its Lighthouse, and although separated from the Skerries by a deep and clear channel, it may be considered an outer part of this group.

Rockabill Lighthouse - Fl WR 12s position: 53° 35.811' N, 006° 00.297' W

It consists of two granite rocks rising abruptly from the sea to a height of 9.5 metres. Rockabill Lighthouse stands 32 metres high on the highest part of the southern rock. The rocks are clear of danger, with 12 or 16 metres close in, and 20 to 30 at the distance of a ¼ of a mile off.


2½ miles to the south of the Skerries Islands and on the mainland coast is Loughshinny Click to view haven. This is a small cove with a fishing pier situated l.5 miles north of Rush Point and 1.6 miles south of Shenick Island - the southernmost of the Skerries Islands.

A further 2½ miles off the coast and 6 miles south by southeast of the Howth Peninsula is Lambay Island the most conspicuous feature of the coast. Its east point, called the Nose of Lambay, is elevated 55 metres above high water, and the 123 metres high Knockbawn is its highest summit. The west side of the island is low and rocky and has a small harbour enclosing a private drying pier. The western shore of the island has some outlying dangers that need to be observed. The other parts of the island coastline are made up of high bold cliffs.

The channel between Lambay Island and the mainland is nearly 2 miles wide and has a least depth of 9.7m except for Burge Bar, with a least depth of 7.6m. It is a straightforward channel for leisure craft to adopt taking care to avoid the rocks on the island side.

These are the Burren Rocks that are marked by a starboard hand beacon 400 metres west of the westernmost point of the island. A reef, that uncovers on last quarter of the ebb, extends from the island plus a shallow ledge extends a further 30 metres out from the beacon.

Burren Rock Starboard Beacon - position: 53° 29.353’N, 006° 02.460’W

Near these rocks, in a very small inlet situated on the southwest side of the island, resides Talbot’s Bay Click to view haven .

Keep at least 300 metres offshore as you progress up the west side of the island past the privately owned Lambay Pier where vessels anchor off the pier Click to view haven. An unmarked rock, covered by 1.2 metres of water, resides 200 metres out from the shoreline 200 metres north of the pier.

Finally, there is Taylor Rocks marked by a north cardinal buoy off Scotch Point, at the Islands north-western tip.

Taylor Rock North Cardinal Buoy – Q position: 53° 30.222’N, 006° 01.871’W

Taylor Rocks are a patch of rocks that extend 300 metres north-northwest of Scotch Point. There is a very good anchorage available immediately east of Scotch Point in Saltpan Bay Click to view haven . Two sand banks extend north and south from the island. Frazer Bank, made up of sand, with 7 to 9 metres of water over it extends up to a mile to the north and likewise Hoskyn Bank to the south. These banks should be avoided in strong easterlies.

Progressing south the coast from Rush Point to Howth, 8 miles to the south, is of a moderate elevation, and is generally fronted by a clean sandy beach, with 5 metres of depth approximately 150 metres off. Several Martello towers stand along this coast that are easily identified and well-marked on the chart. In settled conditions, yachts may anchor temporarily anywhere between Lambay Island and Howth. Between these points Rush Harbour, Rogerstown Inlet, Malahide Inlet, and Baldoyle Creek are located.

The Rogerstown Inlet, with Lambay Island nearly in front of it, is made conspicuous by a hospital on the south side of the inlet. It consists of a group of red buildings with an illuminated 56-metre high clock tower. A further prominent 60-metre high tower stands close east of the hospital.

3½ miles south by southwest of the Rogerstown Inlet is the shallow inlet of Malahide Click to view haven, replete with a full-service Marina. The inlet is made conspicuous by a hotel building that stands on the south side of the inlet. A prominent 50-metre high chapel spire stands close west of the hotel plus a square-towered castle, with the red roofs of several houses close by, stands about 0.7 miles southeast of the hotel. An aeronautical light situated at the airport about 4.5 miles west-southwest of the entrance to Malahide Inlet that is highly visible from the sea.

The conspicuous reef-fringed island of Ireland’s Eye resides about a mile to the northward of the Nose of Howth and 1,200 metres due north of Howth Harbour. Ireland's Eye rises abruptly on its north side to the height of 99-metres and slopes down to its southern extreme. From the southern end shelving rocks, that cover at high water only, extend to the Thulla that is a small patch elevated 2 metres above high water. To the southwest of this, there are some rocky patches called the North Rowan, that uncovers to a distance of 300 metres from the Thulla.

The north and east sides of Ireland’s Eye are steep-to, with 8 and 12 metres water 100 metres out from the rocks. The west of the island, by contrast, is very shallow with not more than 2.7 metres of water in the middle of Howth Sound. Nearby Carrigeen Bay Click to view haven, off the north-west end of Irelands Eye, provides a good landing anchorage for the small island. The south, at low water, is about ½ a mile wide with depths decreasing towards each side. The key markers off the south end of the island support access to Howth Harbour and Sound and are as follows:

Rowan Rocks buoy - E cardinal Q - (3) 10 sec position: 53° 23.877’N, 006° 03.269’W

Howth Buoy - Starboard hand F1 G 5 sec position: 53° 23.727’N, 006° 03.593’W

South Rowan Buoy - Starboard Hand Q G position: 53° 23.790’N, 006° 03.941’W

Howth Harbour
Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

To the south of Ireland’s Eye is Howth Harbour Click to view haven that is formed by two piers run out from the shore towards the island. Howth Harbour is easily distinguished by its east pier light tower. This is a 13 metre tall white and red beacon at the end of the harbour’s northernmost breakwater.

Howth East Pier - Fl (2) W.R. 7.5 sec 13m W12M position: 53° 23.647'N, 006° 4.012'W

Balscadden Bay Click to view haven, on the southeast corner of Howth Harbour underneath the Martello tower at the beginning of Howth Harbours East Pier, also offers an external anchorage.


East of Howth the northern side the Hill of Howth is steep-to as is most of the headland around to the Nose of Howth, except close in 400 to 1,200 metres north of the Baily, and at Casana Rock situated 800 metres south of the Nose where a distance off of 50 metres is recommended. Immediately northwest of the Nose there is a drying rock that resides about 50 metres outside Puck's Rocks.

The Baily leading out to the Baily Lighthouse
Photo: Tourism Ireland

The Ben of Howth is a peninsula dominating the northeast side of Dublin Bay. The 167 metres high Hill of Howth terminates to the southeast in the Baily, the southeast extremity of the peninsula. This is a bold projecting point with precipitous shores, with a lighthouse, a 13-metre high granite tower, that marks the northern point of the entrance to Dublin Bay.

Baily Lighthouse - Fl 15s position: 53° 21.691’N, 006° 03.158'W

[leftrimage "baily_lighthouse_and_view_across_dublin_bay.jpg"]

The Burford Bank extends across the entrance of Dublin Bay in a north by northeast direction; nearly due south from the Baily lighthouse. It is a narrow ridge of hard sand, 2 miles long, and less than a ¼ of a mile wide. Burford Banks shallowest part is 3.9 metres and presents little danger to leisure craft in settled conditions. However, it breaks heavily in easterly gales and should be avoided. The north end of the bank is marked by the North Burford Cardinal and the south end by the South Burford Cardinal.

North Burford - Cardinal WHISTLE position: 53° 20.507'N, 006° 01.493’W

South Burford - Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s WHISTLE position: 53°18.060'N, 006° 01.298’W

4½ mile east by south of the Baily Lighthouse and 3 miles north of Kish Bank, is the Bennet Bank. It extends in a north by east direction for 1.5 miles and is steep-to on both sides. The shallowest part of the bank is on the southern side with 8.8 metres of cover and as such it does not concern leisure craft. A continuous ridge of sand extends to the northward from the bank, with 13 and 17 metres of cover. Its southern side is marked by a south cardinal.

Bennet Bank – South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 53° 20.172'N, 005° 55.130’W

Port of Dublin and Dublin Bay
Image: Giuseppe Milo

Hosting the capital of Ireland, Dublin Bay is unmistakable from seaward. Situated between Dalkey Island on the south and the hill of Howth on the north it is about 5.8 miles wide and 6 miles deep. The head of the bay is filled with extensive sandbanks through which the River Liffey, guided by long walls, flows into the sea and the city and port of Dublin are situated at the mouth of the river. The ‘Hill of Howth’, abruptly rising on the north side of the bay, forms the most prominent natural feature when approached from the sea. Dún Laoghaire Harbour plus the Killiney hills will be seen to the south closer in. The coast is comparatively low on the southern side backed by hills which rise to a height of 500 metres within 5 miles of the shore. In the centre of Dublin Bay the Poolbeg lighthouse stands 20 metres high at the head of the south breakwater. 1.5 miles above the Liffey’s entrance the conspicuous twin 210-metre high Poolbeg power station chimneys stand close together; behind which the high rise buildings of Dublin city will appear.

Heading southwest from the Nose of Howth to the Dublin Bay Buoy the first markers to be encountered are the East and South Rosbeg cardinal markers for the Rosbeg Bank.

Rosbeg South cardinal - Fl Mo (A) 10s position: 53° 20.373'N, 006° 04.312'W

Rosbeg East cardinal - Fl Mo (A) 10s position: 53° 21.007'N, 006° 03.452'W

These mark the Rosbeg Bank on the north side of Dublin Bay, lying 0.7 of a mile south-southwest from the Baily lighthouse. It is made up of fine sand and is ¾ of a mile long and 200 metres wide, with 4.6 metres of water at its shallowest part.

Dublin Bays central marker is the Dublin Bay buoy, L Fl 10s, situated in the middle of the bay.

Dublin Bay Buoy - Fl Mo (A) 10s position: 53° 19.912'N, 006° 04.646'W

Please note

A Traffic Separation Scheme has been established in Dublin Bay with a traffic circle established around on Dublin Bay buoy. This is well marked on Admiralty Chart No. 1415, 2002 and involves separation lanes to the north and south of the Burford Bank.

Vessels continuing south may avail of the set of waypoints and coastal description for Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour Route location.
What is the best sailing time?
May to September is the traditional Irish Sailing season with June July offering the best weather. June and July’s statistical incidence of strong winds are however two days of winds up to force seven. As such, depending on personal sailing preferences, a vessel may expect to be held-up or enjoy robust sailing conditions. 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 been a security issue known to have occurred sailing off the Irish coast.

With thanks to:
eOceanic research

Expand to
new tab or fullscreen

A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this route and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.

Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this route.

Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not sailed this route 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.