What is the route?
- • Two to five miles offshore from Loop Head and Black Head
- • Into Galway Bay through the South Sound
- • Exiting Galway Bay through North Sound
- • Passing to seaward of the Skerd Rocks
Why sail this route?This route passes between two and five miles offshore for the forty mile run between Loop Head and Galway Bay, where the mainland is devoid of shelter. It then sets up Galway Bay that offers a host of berthing options either in the Aran Island chain to the west, or Galway town itself and the many bays and inlets eastward from Black Head. It then passes close south of the bights and inlets between Cashla and Slyne Head, opening up the exploration of the Connemara coast in the many bays and inlets such as those of Kilkieran, Bertraghboy and Roundstone bays.
Inner passes to the west of Golam Head are available for vessels exploring the Connemara coast that will be more convenient and subject to less sea than the offshore route suggested, outside of the Skerd Rocks. But these inner passes require significant pilotage as there are many rocks and shoals and few navigational marks.
What are the navigational notes?
Clear water Slyne Head, 53° 12.019' N, 009° 15.839' W
This is over half a mile west of the Slyne Head lighthouse set upon the western extremity of the island of Illaunamid. It is a third of a mile to the west of the foul ground extending out for a quarter of a mile to the west of Illaunamid.
► Next waypoint: 18.09 miles, course ⇓ 269.10°T (reciprocal ⇑ 89.10°T)
North Sound, 53° 11.671' N, 009° 46.011' W
This waypoint is set on the leading marks for an approach to Kilkieran Bay for those who may wish to also use it to explore the inshore waters. For those choosing to do this the sight-line leads between Golam Head and Eagle Rock on the line of bearing 355.5° of Cashel Hill, seen over Birmore Island, which leads to the west of Dinish Shoal.
► Next waypoint: 10.19 miles, course ⇓ 278.46°T (reciprocal ⇑ 98.46°T)
2½ miles southwest of the Skerd Rocks , 53° 13.149' N, 010° 2.840' W
The unmarked Skerd Rocks are an extensive group of rocks and shoals some of which are always above water and others just awash. The outer rock, on the southwest side of the group, is called Skerdmore and it stand 18 metres high.
► Next waypoint: 14.58 miles, course ⇓ 318.21°T (reciprocal ⇑ 138.21°T)
3 miles west of Slyne Head, 53° 23.997' N, 010° 19.128' W
Slyne Head is the western extremity of the 23 metre high Illaunamid, the outermost island of a chain that extends about two miles west by southwest from the coast. A light, Fl (2) 15s, is shown from a conspicuous 24 metres high tower that stands on the island. The prominent ruins of a disused light-tower stand close south of the light.