Castlegregory, County Kerry, Ireland
SummaryA good location with straightforward access.
Exposed today; forecast to be exposed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
LWS draught3 metres (9.84 feet).
Today's local tide estimatesHW 00:43, LW 07:23
HW 13:22, LW 20:02
Now approaching Springs
Swell todayDirection ESE, height 0.0 metres, period 9.9 seconds, significant wave height of 0.3 metres.
Local weather outlook
Haven position52° 15.800' N, 010° 0.200' W
This is off the beach near the village of Castlegregory.
What is the initial fix?
What is the story here?Castlegregory is located on the west coast of Ireland, on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula. It is remote anchorage within Tralee Bay, on the east side of the headland that separates it from Brandon Bay, offshore of a small inshore village.
The anchorage is well protected south westerly winds but is increasingly exposed to other quadrants if the wind should move round. In such cases Fenit, only five miles across the bay, provides all round protection. Access is straightforward in daylight at any stage of the tide.
Please note Tralee Bay has a ledge and can be divisive in a big seaway. A vessel enduring highly adverse conditions along this coast should run for the River Shannon. With the exception of strong tides it has easy access and provides complete protection from all conditions within.
Not what you need?
Scraggane Bay - 3 miles NNW
Brandon Bay - 5.7 miles W
Smerwick Harbour - 14.4 miles WSW
Great Blasket Island - 20.9 miles WSW
Barrow Harbour - 5.3 miles ENE
Foynes Harbour - 38.7 miles ENE
Askeaton - 42.8 miles ENE
Limerick Docks - 55 miles ENE
Why visit here?Castlegregory in Irish Caisleán Ghriaire derives its name a 16th century castle built by Gregory Hoare.
It is the capital of Lettragh, whose population is now a quarter of what it was before the Great Irish Famine, and it remains the only place in the area which resembles a real village.
It is very popular with locals and tourists because of the miles of blue flag beaches for bathing and water sports. Nearby Lough Gill is a breeding place for the rare, and noisy, natterjack toad.
Castlegregory is another anchoring opportunity in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
How to get in?The ‘Route: Sybil Point to Loop Head coastal description’ provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northbound sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southbound sequence; either description may be availed of for the River Shannon description as far as Limerick.
Vessels approaching from the southwest may take a shortcut into the southern half of Tralee Bay via the Magharee Sound that is described in the aforementioned coastal description and for convenience also discussed here. This lies between the Magharee Islands, or Seven Hogs, and the sandy peninsula that separates Bandon and Tralee bays. Magharee Sound is narrow and intricate and has a least depth of 4.5 metres. In moderate or clear weather with a favourable tide there is no great difficulty in running through this cut that saves at least an hour from the passage whilst adding interesting sailing.
Two transits mark the Magharee Sound’s best water. Admiralty Chart 2739 presents a leading mark shown of 106°(T) of the rock islet The Rose with Fenit Castle, a ruined square tower, in line with the highest part of Church Hill, upon which stands two prominent churches. This will lead out through the eastern side of the sound. However this transit may not always be easily picked out by an unacquainted visitor. Another possibly more easily identified lead through the sound is to give Illauntannig a reasonable berth and then keep Gurrig Island, a flat island that looks like a pan lid almost replete with knob, about its own breadth open to the south of the south point of Illauntannig, providing a line of bearing of 282°(T) astern.
But Magharee Sound requires good conditions. In bad weather the sea breaks right across the sound and it should be absolutely avoided. In these times it is best to pass two miles north of the Magharees to avoid possible breakers over two shoals located to the north of the group. In this case keep on an easterly heading, to intercept the white sectors bearing of 140°-152° of Little Samphire lighthouse, and enter as if approaching from the north.
Little Samphire – lighthouse Fl WRG 5s 17m W16M position: 52° 16. 254’N, 009° 52.909’W
The white sector will carry a vessel through the dangers on either side of the bay, the shoals off the Magharee Islands on one side and Mucklaghmore, Boat Rock plus, further south, the shoal water off Fenit Island on the other. Once the Castlegregory initial fix is a mile and a half to the southwest of this approach it is safe to ignore the initial fix and head directly to the anchoring location.
The Castlegregory initial fix is on the east end of the transit marked on Admiralty Chart 2739, 106°(T) of the rock islet The Rose with Fenit Castle, and to the east of Rough Point.
Drop down south for three and a half miles from the initial fix to the anchoring position. This passes the fish farms, located off the peninsula to the south by southeast of Rough Point, to starboard in the first mile and a half. Sometimes a commercial ship awaiting a berth in Fenit may be seen in the area.
The beach shelves gradually out from the shore so vessels will be a long way out. Anchor according to draught offshore where excellent holding may be had in sand and mud.
Note: Occasional gusts may come down from the mountains.
What are the tides here?Today's local tide estimates are based on High Water Cobh -0037
Today's Cobh tides — High waters: 01:20, 13:59, Low waters: 08:00, 20:39
Today's Dover tides — High waters: 07:45, 20:12, Low waters: 01:56, 14:37 (From Tide Times)
We are now approaching the next tidal event that will be Springs. View future tidal events in our lunar calendar
More accurately Cobh -0057sp, -0017np, or alternatively -0612 Dover
MHWS 4.6m MHWN 3.4m MLWN 1.6m MLWS 0.5m; ML 2.6 M Duration 0605
The flood tide in Magharee Sound starts running East at –0100 Dover, or +0450 Cobh, HW Galway +0505. The ebb tide starts running West at +0500 Dover or –0055 Cobh, HW Galway -0120. The tides run in line with the fairway in the sound and around the north of the islands reaching a maximum of two to three knots at springs both ways. During west gales, a heavy breaking sea makes up in the sound with an opposing current.
The above image represents the current tidal streams offshore of this haven. All times are in local time with red text indicating springs, blue indicating neaps and gray between tidal events. Click [+] to advance the estimate by an hour and click [ - ] to step back. Future tidal planning is best accomplished by using our manual tidal calculator . Do you need information on the tidal graphics?
What facilities are available?Castlegregory is a village has a population of about 200 that is vastly swelled by an in surge of holidaymakers attracted to its extensive blue flag beaches. To cater for this there are two small supermarkets a post office, a doctor and pharmacist. All resources are available in either Tralee or Dingle of which Castlegregory is about halfway between.
What emergency contacts are there?Valentia Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) VHF Ch 24 & MF 1752 kHz covers this coastal area. Cork (26), Mizen (04), Bantry Bay (23), Shannon (28) and Galway (04) provide relay stations. Coastguard Radio is always called on a working channel. Emergencies are worked on 16, 67 and working channel.
Alternatively, or if ashore, phone 999 or 112 (free) and ask for ‘Marine Rescue’. Gardai (police), Fire and Rescue are also available on this number. Valentia (MRSC) may be called on +353 669 476 109
Other useful contacts in this area.
Fenit Port Manager VHF 14 & 16 phone: +353 86 1276602
Marina VHF 14 Ch 16, 14 or 80 (mob) +35397460516
Any security concerns?Never an incident known to have occurred off Castlegregory.
What navigational resources are available for this area?The large scale Admiralty Chart 2254 ‘Valentia Island to River Shannon’ Scale of 1:150,000 covers this area for planning purposes. Admiralty Chart 2739 ‘Brandon and Tralee Bays’ Scale of 1:37,500, including Fenit Harbour 1:12,500, provides the requisite detail required for cruising this area. Also Imray C55 ‘Dingle Bay to Galway Bay’ scale of 1:170,000, Ordinance Survey of Ireland, Discovery Series Map ref No. 70 / 71 Kerry scale 1:50,000.
Ordnance Survey Ireland provide online maps which can be accessed here, alternatively OpenStreetMap provides local maps that include relief details plus walking and cycle routes for this locality.
With thanks to:Batty McCarthy, Fenit Harbour Master
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.
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