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Dún Laoghaire

Your Comments: 10 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Irish Tricolour


Not Necessary


AC 1468 Arklow to the Skerries; AC 1415 Dublin Bay; AC 1447 Dún Laoghaire; SC 5621 Dublin Bay; Imray C62 East Coast Ireland (No Dublin Plan); Imray C61 St Georges Channel (includes Dublin plan)

Rules & Regulations

Speed limit in the harbour is 8kts and in the marina 4kts.
Commercial vessels have right of way over leisure vessels inside the harbour limits. This rule applies to "smaller power-driven vessels with restricted manoeuvrability " and then quotes as examples "cruise ship tenders, small passenger ferries, MFVs etc"


None known

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW is HW Dublin – 0003; MHWS 4.1m MHWN 3.4m MLWN 1.5m MLWS 0.8m The tidal streams run across the harbour mouth so don’t give up your “course to steer” too early and head directly for the entrance when you see it at range because you’ll miss it and end up pegging the tide back towards it!   (links)

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General Description

The first thing to note about Dun Laoghaire is its size;

.......you will still have half a mile to go to the marina after you’ve passed through the harbour entrance.  This is the home to three sailing clubs, a motor yacht club and sailing school as well as an 820 berth marina. The detached pontoons just inside the Western Marina Breakwater belong to the Marina but are not for use by visiting boats.

This used to be a very busy harbour when they operated HSS ferries from the central pier but now, since the withdrawal of that service, it is still home to just about everything else that can float (though wind surfing and kiting is banned) and you will have to pick your way through carefully and be aware that an anguished yell of “Starboard” may not have the desired effect on a youngster (or oldster) in a Topper.  

Whilst there is no rule against proceeding under sail in the harbour you have to bear in mind that in light winds you may have to move out of the way of a commercial vessel at short notice so act accordingly.  There are three types of large power boat using the harbour all of which have right of way over other users; vessels working with the Commissioners of Irish Lights, ships of the Irish Navy and the Lifeboat. 

Having said that, this harbour is enviable in all the services available; it is well sheltered in the marina.

The town is blessed with pubs and restaurants, several supermarkets, a multiplex cinema and outside the harbour area to the south there are some nice beaches and interesting villages.  There are walks and cycle routes in the hinterland, car and bike hire - even a Ferris wheel (have you got an aerial photo of your boat?); you’ll definitely run out of time before you run out of ideas for things to do

Update 2021  The plans for building a berth for Cruise Ships here have been dropped.


The approach and entry to this harbour could not be simpler,

......... you can see it from miles away, the entrance is 1/4 of a mile wide with two large stone built lights on each breakwater. 

After entering the harbour (on the starboard side of the channel like all good yachties) you must continue on a SSW heading and round the SHM before heading in for the marina. You will have been allocated a berth on #37 on the way in and there are several diagrams of the pontoon layout available in the publications and on the marina website. 

If you choose to sail down to the marina you do not have right of way over large power driven vessels; they will tromp on and assume you intend to get out of the way. The full text of this restriction is available in the harbour company's Notice to Mariners 02 of 2022.  That text is ambiguous, as it does not define "Larger" and "Smaller". It further claims that smaller powered vessels are restricted in their
manoeuvrability; which is rubbish - just don't get in the way of power driven boats which look as if they are in a hurry. (They quote as examples cruise ship tenders, passenger ferries and MFVs)

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Visitors usually berth alongside at the marina.  It should be noted that there is about half a mile of pontoons to negoatiate between the visitors pontoon and the shore!

In 2022 the marina is charging 4.00 Euros per metre per night  They also offer a discount for returning visitors. 

The club moorings have been removed so the old "who-you-know" rule which was valuable here is no more and most visitors go to the marina

If marinas and pontoons are not your thing there is an anchorage in Scotsman’s Bay a cable SE of the East Pier wall. It’s well sheltered from off shore winds and there are a couple of small slips at the root of the pier where it is possible to land.

We are indebted to "Cricalix" for his notes on the desirability of the anchorages in the vicinity of the harbour and worth reading in the "Have your say" section at the bottom of the page.  It would be nice if skippers reading this could add their notes on this or on any UK/Eire harbours that they frequent.


The marina has everything; water and power (prepayment cards required) on the pontoons, showers/toilets (included in the mooring fees) at their office building and on the amenities barge between Q &P pontoons. There is also a laundrette (coin op)

It has a boat hoist as do several of the yacht clubs; Most of the yacht clubs have bars and restaurants but you should check their web sites for times and dress codes.

The marina has a licence to retail both diesel and petrol. There are chandleries, electronic engineers, mechanical engineers, boatyard services, sail makers and if your G & T glasses get broken there’ll undoubtedly be a retail outlet for Waterford Crystal ashore!

The Royal St George is equally well equipped but sadly much smaller so you might not be able get on a pontoon at the weekend but they do run a water taxi around their moorings in daylight hours. It does have a major advantage over the marina (apart from price!) in the distance between your boat and the shore if you are on the pontoon - a mere hop and a skip whereas it's the thick end of 3.5 cables in the marina visitors berths. There is a website link below for further details

The Royal Irish Yacht Club has an imposing building with great facilities as well as a haul out Boatyard facility. You need to arrange your visit in advance but I'm sure they wouldn't turn away last minute visitors as long as they are members of another RYA affiliated Club. We have provided a website link below.

Transport from here to Dublin is by their DART system and very quick; there are also air connections from Dublin airport - now there's an exercise - how to get all your crew gear into the cheapest options of hand/hold for Mr Ryan!!

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

There are the usual restaurants and fast food outlets and plenty of pubs (with and without music). As has been mentioned, there is plenty to do ashore and if that is not enough you can always hire a boat!!


Your Ratings & Comments

2022 local update
Written by cricalix | 14th Oct 2022
Cruise ships are now back in force, typically on weekends. They anchor in the anchorage-marked location on your charts, south-east-middle of the bay, and ferry passengers to and from the harbour using tenders/lifeboats. The terminus is in the eastern part of the harbour, alongside the old Stena building.

RIBs flying a yellow flag escort the tenders to and from the harbour mouth - other harbour users are expected to stay clear of the tenders; the ones I've observed do not have the best handling (whether it's the helm or the boat, I do not know).

On the fishing side - beware unmarked pots on long lines, especially at low tide when the polyprop rope is not pulled down. There is no requirement that pots be flagged, and more often than not they're using old plastic cans that are camouflaged by greenery. Pots are not placed directly in the harbour mouth. Typical locations, other than "random" are along the pier arms (sea side), and on the approach to Dalkey Sound and the areas around Dalkey Island.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 10th Oct 2022
I reviewed these notes in October 2022. I have changed the rules and regulations section at the top because they no longer have regular ferries arriving and departing and, unless they are expecting a large ship, may not even bother manning the harbour office radio. Their additions to the give way rules for power driven vessels is dangerous as it gives extra rights to vessels which are restricted on their ability to manoeuvre by their commercial timetable.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 26th Aug 2021
I reviewed these notes in August 2021. Firstly, many thanks to those of you who have posted additional notes here; I have used them to modify the text above where applicable. The price of £3.80 Euros per metre is confirmed for this summer. Your attention is drawn on the requirement for a Covid Locator form if coming from overseas.
2020 update
Written by cricalix | 26th Nov 2020
The plans to build a cruise ship pier have vanished into a wandering fog bank, to hopefully not be seen again. Current plans talk about making the previous high speed ferry area into a national sailing centre; this would likely have minimal impact on visiting yachts.

All of the clubs keep a listening watch on VHF 37A/M1, not just the Marina, so you can usually chat to any of the clubs by calling for "<clubname> boathouse".

The marina prices are still at ~3.80 EUR/metre for summer (per night), and ~1.90 EUR/metre for winter.

The main harbour basin can be very busy with dinghies from the various clubs and the sailing school; it's definitely busier than it was a few years ago. As a visiting yacht, I'd suggest dropping sails before entering the harbour if possible and proceeding under engine.

Fishing vessels should be considered with the same deference as the Navy, RNLI, and Irish Lights vessel. They tend to come through at speed.

Be aware that people like to fish from the pier heads, right into the entrance channel; props and sails have been caught in the past.

It was remiss of me to not mention the anchorages off of the south of Howth Head (in my 2016 comment), but like every other anchorage around here, they're not really well protected and are best suited to day trips - Dublin Bay has some funky cross-tides (it goes across the bay mouth, and around the bay, leading to good lumps), and what was a nice spot at the slack tide becomes very uncomfortable very quickly.
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Visited July 2018 from Pembrokeshire
Written by greatspirit | 18th Jul 2018
Pronounced "done leery". A superb safe harbour and excellent marina 3.70 euros per metre per night WiFi included. Easy safe approach to this massive harbour. Having entered the harbour Fairway no 1 on chart the entrance to the marina on starboard side is invisible due to the overlapping breakwaters that look like one long one. Keep going and you will see them open. We were berthed on z15 a long way in by the marina block passing the stunning Irish Lights building and the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Excellent town with superb ice cream at Scrum Diddys. Option of fingerprint to enter marina from shore. Just a few minutes walk to buses and railway stations. Trains to Rosslare (no changes) and Dublin.
Written by Don Thomson | 21st Apr 2017
I reviewed these notes in April 2017. The proposed building of a cruise liner berth for 18M Euros in the middle of the harbour is still being debated, challenged in court etc. One of the latest changes is a limit of 250 meters LOA for cruise ships entering the harbour. So liners over that length would have to go to the new cruise liner berth being built in Dublin for 280M Euros (Conspiracy Theorists "Front and Centre!!") The Marina lowered it's prices a couple of years ago and the clubs no longer have moorings for visitors.
Notes from a local
Written by cricalix | 26th Dec 2016
Regarding anchoring around Dun Laoghaire harbour:

Scotsman's Bay can be very uncomfortable in certain conditions, such as swells from the NE, wind from anywhere other than NE, and the tide running across the swells. It's certainly doable, but definitely a case of check the conditions. I've fished up a fair bit of plant life from the bottom. It's also not a pleasant lee shore to have - lots of rocks and concrete structures. Sandycove to the SE is probably a better bet for getting ashore, depending on tide.

These same uncomfortable conditions extend to the bay NW of the harbour walls, though it has a sandy/silted bottom instead of plant life, pretty good holding. Very shallow bay, and it dries out to nearly 1/2 a km from the shore, so pay attention to your depth. There is something resembling a slip at the root of the harbour wall, and one just a little bit towards Dublin (but still at the root of the wall/carpark that's there), but they're not intended for launch and recovery of sailing vessels. A dingy.. yeah, maybe, but you're probably better off inside the harbour - there are two public slips, one in the Coal Harbour, and one in the Inner Harbour (both of these seconds are to the west).

I have seen boats anchor in the main harbour basin; the local clubs had to remove their moorings at the behest of the Harbour Company, so the ground should be fairly free of things that will want to keep your tackle to themselves. However, as noted in the article, most people will just call the marina up and take a berth there.

Nearest alternatives are Poolbeg Marina to the north (in Dublin port), Greystones to the south. There are other small harbours in between Dun Laoghaire and Greystones, but they're essentially small fishing ports (think dories with 5 people in and an outboard on the back), and unlikely to be useful to a visiting boat of any type.

Heading south from Dun Laoghaire, you can drop anchor in the channel between the mainland and Dalkey Island, on the Dalkey Island side. Holding is decent, but the flow through the channel can be very strong, and combines with flukey winds.

While not quite a harbour by any stretch of the imagination, Killiney Bay to the south of Dun Laoghaire has some lovely views, katabatic offshore winds, and you can tuck yourself into the small bay at the north end of Killiney Bay. There's a small beach there, but I don't know if it's private to the house (looks like a small hotel!) above. I've never had an issue with the holding here, though it does shelve rapidly.
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Update November 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 30th Dec 2015
I have just become aware that the Stenna Line HSS ferry from Wales has been withdrawn so the notes have been edited to reflect this.
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 15th Apr 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2015. Some prices have changed and we have given advanced warning of possible extensive works in the harbour starting in 2016
Update November 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 27th Nov 2013
These notes were updated by Don Thomson on 27th November 2013. prices have been updated to 2013 and I have added some extra notes on the facilities offered by the local yacht clubs.
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