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Clonakilty Bay

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Courtesy Flag

Irish Tricolour


None Given


AC 2092 Toe Head to Old Head of Kinsale; SC 5622 Ballycotton Bay to Glandore Bay; Imray C56 Cork harbour to Dingle Bay (No plan Clonakilty Bay)

Rules & Regulations

None Known


All bays and anchorages have hidden rocks and Clonakilty Harbour is very shallow

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Clonakilty Bay is approximately HW Cobh – 0020 MHWS 3.8m MHWN 3.0m. There is no data for LW which is a nuisance because we could do with it! Everywhere else around here has about half a meter at LWS so that will be a good working figure but it does add doubts to an already doubtful situation in Clonakilty Harbour itself.

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General Description

Contacts:  None, you’re on your own!

In terms of distance it’s only fifteen miles from Old Head of Kinsale to Galley Head so, in all probability, you will completely miss out this bay and its neighbour Courtmacsherry Bay. On the other hand if you are just pottering and exploring this part of the world you could spend a couple of days in the area. The most sheltered haven is up the estuary of the river Fealge to Clonakilty itself but unless you are blessed with an extremely high spring you are unlikely to be able to get to the town and will more than likely end up in the vicinity of Ring Pier at Arundel Mills which is ok as it’s only another 1.5 miles walk from there...

It’s worth the walk as Clonakilty is a vibrant town packed with entertainment and eateries.  It is the birthplace of one of Ireland’s favourite sons, Michael Collins, and there is a national monument to him here.  The land here has been fought over for centuries but has returned to a previous time of gentleness and hospitality which was its original attraction.  There are ancient churches, castles and grand houses in the area all of which merit visits if you are so inclined and for the explorer, whether by land or sea, on foot or by road it is a rich source of discovery and an ideal centre to roam further afield.


Firstly be aware that AC 2092 relies on very old nineteenth century surveys....

.... in this area so rocks and soundings may be out of position  (which means virtually ALL raster, vector and paper charts have the same caveat).

Coming round Seven Heads from the East there is little to trouble you close in, apart from Cotton Rock to the east of Seven Heads and Bird Island off Dunworly Point. If you make straight for the beach from Dunworly Head you’ll avoid Cow Rocks which can be seen but be aware of  Horse Rock just to the North of that which may be covered. 

If you are approaching Dunworly Bay from the West you need to go past the centre of the bay and leave Cow Rock to port before turning in unless you can identify Horse Rock, in which case it’s safe to go between it and Cow Rock.  If you can’t see Horse Rock be wary of using a chart plotter to avoid it - it may be closer than you think!  Obviously there’s no shelter here from South west weather but in an Easterly it’s a comfortable temporary anchorage.

Although there is a place name Dunworly on the chart it’s more of a post code for the farmsteads in the district as there is no village here and this absolutely nothing in the way shops or pubs. There’s a single track road from the SE corner of the beach leading NE towards Butlerstown (near the 102 spot height); that has two small bars and it’s only a mile away!

That’s about it for the Coast to the east of Clonakilty apart from a small cove at Ballinglanna where there is a small slip but little else.

Clonakilty harbour is a gamble if you have a fin keel and...

... to be honest, not worth the risk unless you go up on a spring tide remembering that where you anchor has to be deep enough to cover the low water spring!  The little pier at Ring dries at LWS and would be a pretty rough affair to lean your boat on to take the bottom.  There is a lit WCM at the entrance to the channel which replaced the Green unlit starboard mark in 2020

There is still no PHM to match the WCM on Wind Rock on which it stands and the shoals on the West side of the channel are very close. Anyway, if you’ve got past there safely, keep tight (half a cable) to the east side and proceed up to Ring where you can then look for somewhere to lay your anchor. 

There are loads of moorings here so you’ll have to be careful and consider using a tripping line.

Finally, the current is very strong down through here, reaching a couple of knots at springs, so make sure your anchor is well bedded in.

On the West side of the bay there are two main anchorages; Dunnycove Bay and Dirk Bay. The Northerly of these, Dunnycove, is without hazards and you can anchor close in, in deep water just to the NW of Dunnycove Point.  Dirk Bay (to the South West and just to the East of Galley Head) is a different matter as it has a scattering of rocks to the West of Dunowen Head and you need to enter the bay from due South and come in on its Western side. You can then anchor off the slip on the West shore or work your way round inside to anchor to the NW of Carrigduff.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

This has been dealt with above.


Apart from Clonakilty you will find very little in the way of facilities on this coast

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

Here’s the reason you came.  Clonakilty town has everything from monuments to a model village and from fish and chips to gourmet restaurants.  Music and Craic abounds and for the possibilities explore their website below.
Clonakilty does have a taxi company - try 086017504777



Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th Oct 2022
No changes
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 23rd Aug 2021
I reviewed these notes in August 2021. The Green perch at the entrance to the Clonakilty channel has been replaced by a lit WCM. Everything else is the same.
Update Summer 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 15th Jul 2019
These notes were reviewed in July of 2019. No changes but new charts
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 13th Apr 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2015 without changes
Update November 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 19th Nov 2013
These notes were reviewed 19th November 2013. We have added an aerial photograph
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