Ardglass Harbour (Phennick Cove Marina), County Down
Summary* Restrictions applyA completely protected location with straightforward access.
LWS draught3 metres (9.84 feet).
Today's local tide estimatesLW 04:20, HW 10:24
LW 16:34, HW 22:49
Now approaching Springs
Swell todayDirection NNW, height 1.7 metres, period 4.0 seconds, significant wave height of 2.1 metres.
Local weather outlook
Haven position54° 15.655' N, 005° 36.150' W
Where is that position?Upon the position of the South Piers navigation lights Fl R 3s 5M situated at the pier’s northern or outer end.
What is the initial fix?
What is the story here?Ardglass harbour is located on the northeastern coast of Ireland, three miles northeast of St John’s Point and five miles south of the entrance to Strangford Lough. It is a small and busy fishing port that is not particularly set up for leisure craft but with a marina alongside that provides all services.
Ardglass offers a vessel complete protection with straightforward access.
Please note the area is subject to silting and vessels carrying a draft should take it steady when operating at low water. It is inadvisable to anchor when winds are from the southeast or berth alongside the South Pier during gales from east round to south as it is subject to overtopping waves and swell.
Not what you need?
Dundrum Harbour - 8.2 miles W
Newcastle Harbour - 10.6 miles WSW
Annalong Harbour - 13.7 miles SW
Kilkeel Harbour - 18.2 miles SW
Cross Roads - 5.7 miles NNE
Strangford Harbour (Strangford Village) - 6.9 miles NNE
Audley Roads - 7.1 miles N
Audley’s Point - 7.4 miles N
Why visit here?Ardglass (from the Gaelic: ‘Ard Ghlais’ meaning "green high place") is a key location from a pleasure boating perspective. It combines the full featured Ardglass Marina (also known as Phennick Cove Marina), with straightforward access from the Irish Sea at any stage of the tide plus it offers complete protection in a location that is just five miles south of the Strangford Lough entrance. Thus it provides the ideal location for yachts to berth and wait for a favourable tide to enter into the Lough whilst also providing a stopover for yachts on passage south in the Irish Sea.
Furthermore, Ardglass is a town of great historical interest. The natural deepwater anchorage was in use as far back 3,000 years BC as witnessed by earthworks and artefacts. It is only with the Anglo Norman invasion of Ulster, from about 1172, that history is recorded. Then John de Courcey, moved north from Dublin with 22 knights and 300 soldiers fighting battles with local Irish chieftains for land conquest. He established headquarters in Downpatrick in 1178 incorporating the port for sea communications.
Ardglass slowly grew from a place of little note in the 13th century to a prosperous port in the 15th century. This was largely as a result of a London Trading Company establishing itself in the village during the reign of Henry VIII, and by the 15th century the harbour handled more trade than any other port in the province of Ulster.
It was only in 1812 when William Ogilvie, who acquired Ardglass Castle and estate, took a great interest that the tidal North Dock was constructed to encourage trade. This was further extended and a lighthouse was built following an act of parliament in 1813. Unfortunately a great storm in 1838 washed away the lighthouse and the end of the pier. This was replaced by the present metal structure and work on the current harbour piers was completed in 1885.
Today the village is a commuter centre for workers in Downpatrick and Belfast with a large scale fish processing industry exporting fish and prawns to European countries, and Russia. However the town’s historic fortifications survive reflecting its importance as Ulster's busiest 15th century port. The Phennick Cove Marina is an ideal starting point for a pleasant walk through this great legacy. A brief walk will take a visitor past the fortified tower houses that provide the town with historic character.
These are believed to be part of a linked defensive wall built around the harbour. The wall stretched from Newark (new works) at the harbour entrance, to Cowd's, at the entrance to Ardglass Golf Club. Then opposite Cowd's Castle to Margaret's at the southern end of the Castle Place. From there to Kildare Street and Jordan's Castle that takes a central position overlooking the harbour and is the most imposing of a ring of towers. Finally to the larger King's Castle situated higher up the hill of Ardglass at the top of Kildare Street. All of which are within an easy walk.
Also of interest Ardglass Castle that was probably a row of warehouses. Large sections of the original building can still be seen within the modern club house of Ardglass Golf Club. Isabella’s Tower, visible upon entry on the top of comical hill, is a folly built for a handicapped daughter, marks Ardglass’ highest point. Ardtole Church on the outskirts of Ardglass (1.2 km to the north-east) is another point of historical interest. It is also worthwhile simply walking out the Green Road to behold the fine view of Coney Island and the Mountains of Mourne.
How to get in?Come in from the Ardglass harbour initial fix track on a course of 311º T, south of Phennick Point, towards the 10 metre high sectored light marker on the North or inner pier. The breakwater is made conspicuous by a large grey fish processing plant with a bright tin roof situated at the root of the pier. Also the considerable armouring units upon the pier extension make the harbour highly discernable.
The above track will lead round the head of the South Pier and is in the middle of the night-time leading light white sector (please note that although the harbour is supported by leading lights, it would not be prudent to approach Ardglass for the first time at night).
It is important to keep on track during the approach giving the shore a wide berth. Although the fairway is 100 metres wide there are rocks on either side. West of the pierhead a conical iron triangle beacon marks the outside edge of the rocks on the starboard side from Phennick Point. Also keep clear of the head of the South Pier itself as covered protective rock armour extends from the pier head. Its outer end is marked by a lit red top-marked black pile.
Upon final approach the harbour master must be notified of the intended entry to avoid collision. A radio watch is maintained upon VHF Channel 12.
Telephone: +44 28 4484 1291
Mobile: +44 79 9064 8274
Normal Working Hours: Mon – Thur: 8am to 5.00pm, Fri: 8am to 5.00pm (Excludes Statutory Holidays) Once clearance is provided proceed in.
The harbour is set into a rocky inlet that is divided by an outcrop of rocks that separates the marina from the fishing harbour. All of which are protected by a South Pier, a breakwater with a high wall, with quays on the inner side. The marina is on the west side of the harbour and is protected from the east by a detached breakwater on the west side. Marina access is through a marked channel.
If approaching the fishing harbour turn to port around the head of the South Pier and keep Churn Rock, a central visible harbour rock west of the harbour and fairway marked by a south cardinal beacon, to starboard.
If approaching the marina, approximately 120 metres distance, continue north from the head of the South Pier, passing to the northeast of Churn Rock keeping it well clear to port. As you continue in, you then pass a red buoy that you pass to port and, taking a northwest direction, a west cardinal that you pass to starboard, a red beacon that you pass to port and then you approach the final turning Red Light Buoy Q.R.
Round this to port and you are in the narrow marina access channel to the north of the rock armoury breakwater that leads in a southwest direction. It is marked by perches and buoys and has a maintained depth of 3.16 metres. The chain fixed pontoons are open 24 hours daily and vary in depth from 1.66m to 3.16m. The marina has approximately eighty berths, twenty of which are reserved for visiting yachts but you should check availability before entering.
Phennick Cove Marina VHF channel 37 or 80
Phone: +44 04 844 84 23 3
Due to the level of fishing activity and space constrictions it is preferred that visiting craft use the marina. However it is possible to berth alongside the quay on the inner side of South Pier or in settled times anchor in the harbour – typically in 3 metres between South Pier and Churn Rock. You must consult the Harbour Master for advice and consent before berthing or anchoring in the harbour.
Southeast winds tend to send in a heavy swell into Ardglass and there is one other location that offers complete protection. This is a small inner tidal basin to the west of the North Pier that carries three metres at high water. This is the traditional hide for fishing boats in gales from East round to South and it provides absolute protection. Vessels that can lie on its bottom of soft mud can avail of this location - keep close along the north side of the North Pier upon approach.
What are the tides here?Today's local tide estimates are based on High Water Belfast +0013
Today's Belfast tides — High waters: 10:11, 22:36, Low waters: 04:07, 16:21
Today's Dover tides — High waters: 10:10, 22:29, Low waters: 05:06, 17:32 (From Tide Times)
We are now approaching the next tidal event that will be Springs, need more detailed tidal planning information?
High Water Dover +0015, Belfast +20 minutes
Tidal range: Springs 4.7; Neaps 4.0 metres.
MHWS 5.2m MHWN 4.2m MLWN 1.7m MLWS 0.7m
The above image represents the current tidal stream off this haven in local time. Click [+] to advance the estimate by an hour and click [ - ] to step back. Future tidal planning is best accomplished by extracting the date's Dover Tide HW , and clicking [+] or [ - ] based on the presented Dover offset. Do you need information on the tidal graphics?
What facilities are available?Diesel fuel, fresh water, gas, showers, launderette, electric etc are all available at the marina and most other provisions can be had from the town (population approximately 1700) including banking and post office. Limited boat repairs can be undertaken here and there is service for radar, Decca and radio. Belfast international airport is 67 km away. 11 kilometres to the northwest is the larger town of Downpatrick that serves as a commercial and administrative centre for the locality. Ulsterbus 16A serves Killough and Ardglass.
What emergency contacts are there?Belfast Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC). Operational Area: Northern Ireland/ Irish Republic Border, Lough Foyle to Northern/Irish Republic Border Carlingford Lough. Belfast Coastguard (MRSC) VHF Ch 16, liaises closely with IRCG. Emergencies are worked on 16, 67 and working channel.
Alternatively, or if ashore, phone 999 and 112 and ask for ‘Marine Rescue’. Police, Fire and Rescue are also available on this number. Belfast (MRSC) may be contacted directly on +44 2891 463 933
Other useful contacts in this area:
Phennick Cove Marina VHF channel 37 or 80
Phone: +44 04 844 84 23 3
Address: Phennick Cove Marina, 19 Quay Street,, Ardglass
Harbour Master radio watch VHF Channel 12
Phone: +44 28 4484 1291
Mobile: +44 79 9064 8274
Any security concerns?The marina is a secured area.
What navigational resources are available for this area?British Admiralty 1411 ‘Irish Sea - Western Part’, Scale of 200,000:1, SC 44 ‘Nose of Howth to Ballyquintin Point’ scale of 1:100,000 and Standard Chart 633 ‘Plans on the east coast of Ireland’ for close detail. Imray chart C62 – ‘Irish Sea’ plus Discoverer Maps for Northern Ireland Sheet No 29 ‘The Mournes’ and Sheet No 21 ‘Strangford Lough’ scale of 1:50 000 also cover this area. OpenStreetMap provides local maps that include relief details plus walking and cycle routes for this locality.
With thanks to:Michael Young - Harbour Master Kilkeel
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