Stopping places: East Coast of Ireland from Carnsore Pt to Red Bay

Be sure to check out Reeds  and / or the appropriate pilots for more detailed information and alternates, this is just an overview of likely candidates, but I have been to all of them. 

To see my recent visits to each anchorage check out the "Labels" towards the bottom of the right hand panel, links below may not be comprehensive.

Update through Sept 2023 to include Harbours and Marinas also info on fuel & gas availability although this is not comprehensive as I don't need either that often.

Further updated during a boring winter 2023/4 to include some information on access to and from marinas. See my page Marina notes (opens in a new window) for some general tips and the context (handling of my boat) in which I comment.

Anchorages = RedMarinas = Blue

St Margaret's Bay

Coming from Lands End, the Isles of Scilly, St Ives or Milford Haven,  Carnsore Point is often a good landfall and will usually allow you to avoid the Off Tuskar Rock TSS and the rock itself and in offshore winds it is then an easy sail up the coast inside of the often dangerous banks. The first suitable anchorage is St Margaret's Bay with Ballytrent Bay just beyond.  

Approaching Carnsore Point. ST Margret's Bay just out of
shot to the right.
No pictures of the anchorage I'm afraid because when I first went that way it was a bit damp and the other times overcast and dull. Good shelter in offshore winds, I have been there in in NW and SSE winds, the later quite strong, and had no problems. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Visited 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Roney Head

Again, no pictures but a reasonable passage anchorage in an offshore wind. Visited 2020.


Anchor outside and north-west of the harbour avoiding the outfall one cable off the West Pier. Offshore winds or calm conditions only. It was OK in a F5 southerly. The harbour is a possibility, but the pilot is not complementary to the managements attitude towards yachts and there are no pontoons. Vodafone and O2 signals OK. 

Visited 2022 and 2023.

Wicklow harbour from where I anchor.

Sorrento Bay, Dublin

Just south of Dublin Bay, it is a good anchorage when the wind has west in it and in 2021, I spent a good night there in a strong northerly. You need to be quite close in for shelter and to be out of the deeper water. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Sorrento Bay, 2020. the following year I went a bit further west
away from the bathing area and in 2022 & 2023 further east. Jet Skies
and Speed boats were a problem for a time but didn't stay long.
Looking east towards Dalkey Island with its fort and Martello tower.
Visited 2020, 20212022 and 2023


A good harbour but care is needed in the channel through the outer harbour at low water and often access will not be possible an hour or so either side. Also if running for shelter from a gale with any east in it you need to be there before the storm arrives (as I did in 2023) as the passage inside Irelands Eye" gets very rough:

The passage inside "Irelands eye" is not a good place to be in a
strong easterly. Spray from waves breaking on the other side or the
island was reaching well above the Martello tower.
This boat had made the short hop from Malahide to the NW but
wished they hadn't.
The pilot warns of an old breakwater submerging at low water,
that has been rebuilt and provides good shelter to the marina
but it is very shallow either side so stay well clear on the marina
side of the port hand markers,
Access is easy but the channel is shallow and can change so ask for advice if within an hour or so of low water and keep in the marked channel. Designated visitors berths are on the hammerheads so you can choose to go port or starboard side too, expecting (and getting) an easterly gale I went starboard side too to be head into the wind. The channel is narrow off of the inner pontoons so to turn round (with a clockwise prop) you head into one of the avenues turning to starboard then back out turning to port.

Good facilities and very good food at the club. Fuel by porterage or from the fuel berth. Chandlery nearby with a reasonable amount of "yachty" stuff but more orientated to commercial users. Plenty of places to eat outside of the marina but I did not try them. Small supermarket / large convenience store is a good walk (at least for me) up hill, IIRC there is a butchers a few doors away. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

The Skerries

Good shelter from southerly and offshore winds, lots of moorings but room between and outside. Quite shallow further in. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

The Skerries harbour.
Visited 2022 and 2023 when I had a very disturbed evening due to beam on refracted waves.

Dundalk Bay

Dundalk bay is large and shallow and there is not a lot of shelter from an offshore wind which gave me a few uncomfortable hours on my visit in 2020 but it does avoid going into Carlingford Loch, that might be a good visit but getting out against the tide can be a problem - best to read my post Dublin – Dundalk Bay – Ardglass. My visits in 2021 & 22 when I anchored in different spots in different conditions went smoothly. Vodafone and O2 signals OK. Visited 20202021 and 2022


A well sheltered small marina with very limited manoeuvring room, the entrance is likely to be problematic and often dangerous, in a strong south easterly or easterly wind. 

The berths directly ahead as you enter (see pic below) are easiest to get into but, at least at low tide when you will want to leave if heading south, tricky to get out of with very limited turning room especially from the one I was in below,  On one occasion with no wind very early in the morning I reversed out from this berth to the end of the channel. At high water it can be somewhat easier, the rise in tide being from a little over 2 metres at neaps to well over 5 at springs. 

I have not been further in but with a clockwise prop they may well be easier on the far side of the first pontoon, after passing the hammerhead all turns are to starboard and coming out from any but the furthest berth there is room to back out turning to port into the avenue then drive out ahead.

Fuel by porterage a longish walk without a trolley (c 1/2 mile?) from a garage with an unusually good SPAR shop. Small off licence, several places to eat and take-aways, the Chinese (sit down or take out) is good. Showers and laundry facilities (domestic type) at the marina. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

On a visitors berth at Ardglass, getting onto one of these
berths is not normally a problem, getting out could be due
to lack of manoeuvring room.
Visited in 20202021 & 2023.

Ballyholm Bay, Bangor

A useful stop off point if the wind is too light or contrary to get between Ardglass and Brown's bay in a single day and there is a marina nearby if the wind is onshore and kicking up a sea or if you need supplies etc. and want to stop off before reaching Ardglass when going south. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Visited 2021 and 2023

Bangor Marina

I was lucky here, I could back out turning to port,
John then owner of the 34ft Pippin next to me who
took the picture was not so lucky but had a bow
thruster to help and I was gone by then so he
had some manoeuvring room.
Initial access is easy but be prepared for a pile appearing as you turn to starboard from the commercial harbour, with a moments thought it is obvious that you leave it to starboard but iirc it is not marked as starboard hand.

Small boats are likely to be sent to the berths furthest from the entrance, the channel is quite narrow and the avenues more so, getting in and out needs care and if you need to turn round in the channel on the west side of the marina you will need to use a spare berth or go to the back and use one of the avenues.

A well sheltered decent marina, local authority owned but privately operated. Facilities rather utilitarian but perfectly acceptable. Fuel berth, but I refuelled by porterage, white diesel only.  Small chandlery, lots of places to eat of varying quality, good ASDA supermarket about half a mile (uphill). Gas is available. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Visited in 2022 North bound and South bound and again in 2023.

Browns Bay

A good spot for the passage across the North Channel to or from Islay, Gigha or Campbelltown, the usual first or last ports of call when cruising through the Scottish Islands and not using the Crinan canal. It is exposed to the North and can suffer from surge but if it is too bad you can always go into Larne. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Visited 2020, 20212022 and 2023

Red Bay

A good alternate to Browns Bay if you can get that far north but be warned the tide runs very strongly around Garron Point. It can be a useful place to wait for a good tide going in either direction making use of inshore counter currents for an early start see my visit in 2023. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Anchorages, marinas and harbours:

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