Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
SummaryA completely protected location with straightforward access.
LWS draught3.5 metres (11.48 feet).
Today's local tide estimatesLW 02:54, HW 09:42
LW 15:20, HW 22:07
Now approaching Springs
Swell todayDirection NE, height 0.1 metres, period 4.2 seconds, significant wave height of 0.2 metres.
Local weather outlook
Haven position52° 47.600' N, 006° 8.200' W
Where is that position?At the end of the South Pier at the harbour entrance beneath the light Fl WR 6s 10m 13M
What is the initial fix?
What is the story here?Arklow is busy a river port on the south county Wicklow coast. It has both a marina and ample fishing quays where a boat can come alongside or raft up.
The inner harbours offer complete protection and are the very definition of the term ‘hurricane hole’. A vessel could endure any weather condition happily unperturbed inside. Access is straightforward as there are no immediate offlying dangers and the entrance is lit so it may be entered day or night on any state of the tide.
Please note the single consideration with Arklow is entering the narrow 55 metre wide northeast facing entrance. With a heavy following wind from the northeast round to southeast this is challenging. The more challenging of these is the northeast that is blowing directly into the harbour entrance. Watch out for lobsterpot markers as you come inshore.
Not what you need?
Cahore (Polduff) - 13.6 miles S
Wexford Harbour - 29.6 miles SSW
Rosslare Bay - 32.3 miles SSW
Rosslare Harbour - 33.1 miles SSW
Greystones - 21.6 miles N
Bray Harbour - 25 miles N
Sorrento Point - 28.5 miles N
Dalkey Sound - 28.8 miles N
Why visit here?Arklow (Irish: An tInbhear Mór, meaning the large estuary) is a historic town founded by the Vikings in the ninth century A.D., and the location of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion.
The town's English name derives from "Arknell's Low" (Arknell was a Viking leader, a low was an area of land). Its Irish name means "the large estuary". Artifacts from the Viking Period are on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Historically it was a major seafaring town, with both shipping and fishing using the port, and shipbuilding was a major industry. The town also has a long history of industry, in particular the chemical industry.
After the arrival of the Anglo-Normans under the leadership of Theobald Walter, ancestor of the Earls of Ormonde, was granted the town and castle of Arklow by King Henry II. In 1264 the Dominicans were granted a large tract of land, which is now known as Abbeylands, and they built an Abbey, which became known as the Priory of the True Cross or Holy Cross.
Some time after 1416 the Manor of Arklow came into the control of the MacMurrough Kings of Leinster, possibly after the death of the 4th Earl of Ormonde in 1452. In 1525 Muiris Kavanagh (McMurrough, King of Leinster 1522-31) returned the manor and castle of Arklow and its lands to his nephew Piers Butler, the Earl of Ormonde.
During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in September 1649 Oliver Cromwell arrived at Arklow on his way to Wexford and took the surrender of the town. In 1714 James, Duke of Ormonde, sold the Manor of Arklow to John Allen of Stillorgan, County Dublin. In 1750 Allen’s eldest granddaughter Elizabeth Allen married John Proby who was raised to the peerage in 1752 as Baron Carysfort of Co. Wicklow and came into possession of the Arklow Estate.
The national sail training vessel Asgard II, and Gypsy Moth III, the yacht that Francis Chichester sailed in the first solo transatlantic yacht race in 1960, were built in Arklow. Recent times have seen large reductions in cargo and fishing and the shipyards have closed. However the town retains its significance to shipping in Ireland as the headquarters of Arklow Shipping, which maintains a fleet of 37 cargo ships.
Arklow now is a thriving commuter town with a population of 11,721 - according to the provisional 2006 census statistics. It is the second largest town in Co. Wicklow and from a boating point of view an excellent place to wait out foul weather, provision up and attend to repairs.
Extracts from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How to get in?Approaching from the sea you can clearly see the Arklow Bank as a result of the wind park’s 106m turbines, currently made up of a test of seven GE 3.6 MW machines. Arklow resides inside the bank so you need to round the ‘Arklow Bank’ either the north, around the ‘Arklow North Cardinal’, or to the south between ‘Arklow South Cardinal’ and ‘Arklow Lanby’.
North Arklow Cardinal - Q position: 52° 53.862’N, 005° 55.263’W
South Arklow Cardinal - VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 40.812’N, 005° 59.230’W
Arklow Lanby - Fl (2) W 12s Horn Mo(A) 30s position: 52° 39.548’N, 005° 58.145’W
In settled weather you can cut directly across the bank at Arklow No. 2 which brings you on a direct course between Arklow and Aberystwyth – anything more than a force 4 and you should go round.
No. 2 Arklow Buoy - Fl R 6s position: 52° 50.294’N, 005° 54.558’W
If approaching from the north and hugging the coast to avoid an adverse current note Wolf Rock and there is a submerged rock 15 metres off Mizen Head. If on a fair tide keep east of the Horseshoe marker as there are lots of back-eddies to slow your progress inside. There are no other dangers outside of the Wicklow head and Mizen Head.
Approaching from the South, up the Rusk Channel, round Glassgorman No. 2 just to the east and turn in. Do note the overfalls off Kilmicheal Point can be very rough as can the Glassgorman bank in rough weather.
No. 2 Glassgorman Buoy - Fl (4) R 10 position: 52° 44.514’N, 006 05.343’W
If approaching at night from the south take note of the Roadstone Jetty situated 400 metres north of Arklow Head and 1 nm south of the entrance. It extends 250 metres from the shore and it is protected by a breakwater, often not lit, that extends out much further.
Roadstone Jetty – position: 52° 46.800’N, 006° 08.840’W
Apart from this there are no navigational hazards but do keep a good look out for numerous fishermen's pots, usually indicated by coloured jerry cans, approximately 3 miles to the north and 1 mile to the south of the harbour.
Arklow itself is easily identified for some distance by a 25m high white factory with a 44m high chimney on the shore close to the north pier. At night the pier lights are as follows.
Fl WR 6s 10m 13M on the South Pier
LFl.G.7s7m10m on the North Pier (if you cannot see this it may be due to maintenance issue).
Before finally approaching the 55 metre wide northeast facing entrance (see photo below) sit off until you can clearly see that you are correctly aligned. You should be able to look right down the first leg of the harbour entrance into the first bend where the river curves away to the right. Come straight in midchannel and be watchful on an ebb tide that sets southeast across the entrance.
As mentioned above entering the narrow with a heavy following wind from the northeast round to southeast is challenging. The more the heavy weather goes northeast, that is blowing directly into the harbour entrance, the m challenging it is.
In this condition you will be pitching into a lee shore. Once inside the entrance you then have to round hard to starboard 150 metres up river with a following seaway as the harbour turns to the northwest. If you are unfamiliar with the harbour and it has blown a steady north-easterly Force 6 for six hours this would be a condition best avoided. Heavy conditions from the east and southeast are less dangerous but nonetheless challenging on entry.
The more the wind comes around to the southeast the more the above described pitching evolves into a roll as the wind is moving round onto the beam for the final entry track into the harbour. Because the south pier extends out 50 metres further than the north pier you will not be thrown onto the north pier but it can be a challenging few moments. You will know the behaviour of your own vessel in these circumstances, but if uncertain or inexperienced, you should again avoid it if a Force 6 has established a seaway from the southeast.
The final point to note if you are confident to enter with heavy offshore winds and draw 2.5 metres plus, come in at half tide and above should you strike bottom on the through of a wave.
Generally speaking however the prevailing winds here are south-westerly and heavy easterlies are unusual. It would be unusual that you experience this in the summer cruising season.
Inside the channel there is a 3 knot harbour speed limit and you can elect to go to the fishing dock or the marina.
Approach the dock mid river and swing hard to come in its 10 metre wide entrance on the south side. The dock provides perfect shelter on the seaward quay where you can lie alongside a fishing boat, many of which are little used or layed-up, but keep clear of the Pilot launch.
The entrance to the Marina is to starboard 50 metres further upriver, immediately at the west end of the commercial North Quay with pontoons upriver of the marina entrance on the river bank. Once past the dock entrance, it is best to approach the marina and pontoon between the middle of the river and the northern bank as the south side of the river is shallow and a sandbank has emerged with a danger mark (as often-as-not dry and laying on its side indistinguishable) just before the moorings. Large vessels tend to berth on the river pontoons as the marina basin has constrained turning space. Vessels should beware of quickly shoaling depths towards the bridge.
What are the tides here?Today's local tide estimates are based on High Water Dublin (North Wall) -0238
Today's Dublin (North Wall) tides — High water: 12:20, Low waters: 05:32, 17:58
Today's Dover tides — High water: 11:41, Low waters: 06:54, 19:17 (From Tide Times)
We are now approaching the next tidal event that will be Springs, need more detailed tidal planning information?
HW Dublin (North Wall) -0315sp -0200 np, mean level 1.0
MHWS 1.3m MHWN 1.2m MLWN 0.9m MLWS 0.6m
Direction of stream outside the harbour
Dover +0445 North going stream at 1 kn (Dublin +0415)
Dover -0215 South going stream at 1 kn (Dublin -1245)
Around the banks the north going flood tides tend to the Northwest across the banks and the south going ebb tide tends towards the Southeast. This causes the water to ride up and break on the west of the banks on the flood and the east on the ebb. Close inshore off Arklow the streams run alongside the coast.
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 available from the fisherman’s dock, water and electricity available at the marina facilities plus shower and toilet facilities.
Bottled gas available locally in the town, along with a host of pubs and restaurants within walking distance of the marina & dock. The town hosts a boat yard, chandlery close to the river opposite the marina and engineers but no sail maker along with all the shops a you would expect in a large provincial town. A regular bus and train service runs to Rosslare ferry ports and Dublin.
What emergency contacts are there?Dublin Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) VHF Ch 83 covers the area from Carlingford Lough to Youghal. Carlingford (04), Wicklow Head (02), Rosslare (23) and Mine Head (83) 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. Dublin (MRSC) may be contacted directly on +353 1 662 0922/3
Other useful contacts in this area:
Harbour master – office starboard hand just after the dock entrance.
Radio VHF Channel 16 on entry 12
Sailing Club: VHF Channel 10
Arklow Marina: VHF 16, M1, +353 402 39901/32610
Police: +353 402 32304/5 Doctor: +353 402 32421
Any security concerns?There is no specific issue in Arklow, as with any small provincial town, lock up as you would do normally when the vessel is unattended.
What navigational resources are available for this area?British Admiralty 1411 ‘’Irish Sea - Western Part’, Scale of 200,000:1 and 1468 Arklow to the Skerries Islands Scale of 100,000:1, British Admiralty 633 ‘’Plans on the East Coast of Ireland’’ includes Arklow Scale of 10,000, Imray chart C61 plus Discovery Ordinance Survey maps 56 & 62 cover this area. ’Sailing Directions - Irish Cruising Club - East & North Coasts of Ireland’ provides an excellent pilot for this area. OpenStreetMap provides local maps that include relief details plus walking and cycle routes for this locality.
With thanks to:Paul Barrett, local boatman of many years.
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Colin Ingram wrote this review on May 27th 2010:
We visited this harbour on 21st May, mooring on the long visitor's pontoon. When we departed, we went over a patch equivalent to 1.0m at CD just opposite the moored Lightship and about 15m from it. We expected it because we watched one of the local race yachts go aground on it when he went out at LW the previous day. Keeping close by the Lightship would avoid this patch. Also, as shown in your photos, there is a powerboat frequently moored on the port side of the marina entrance, which makes entering the marina rather sporting for beamy craft ... The Arklow marina folk and locals were very friendly and helpfull !!Average Rating: Unrated
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