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eOceanic has been made aware of this haven. We are looking for a sailor with first-hand experience to provide their direct personal insights so that we may complete our write up. In advance of this we have posted these preliminary research notes. Do you know this location? Please contact us or click the 'Report a Mistake or Omission' button below to help share this location with the sailing community.

Ballysadare Bay is an extensive inlet just south of Sligo on the north west coast of Ireland. It is choked with sand banks, but there is a narrow channel winding among them only navigable with local knowledge.

Ballysadare Bay is an extensive inlet just south of Sligo on the north west coast of Ireland. It is choked with sand banks, but there is a narrow channel winding among them only navigable with local knowledge.

It affords a secure anchorage in Portcuny pool, just within the entrance but careful navigation is required.

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Keyfacts for Ballysadare Bay
Bus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landing

Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
4 metres (13.12 feet).

2 stars: Careful navigation; good visibility and conditions with dangers that require careful navigation.
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.

Last modified
May 30th 2017


A good location with careful navigation required for access.

Bus service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometres

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationJetty or a structure to assist landing

Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 15.079' N, 008° 35.546' W

this is the position at the anchorage off the pier at Culleenamore.

What is the initial fix?

The following Sligo initial fix will set up a final approach:
54° 18.188' N, 008° 41.669' W
This is at the centre of Sligo Bay between Raghly Point and Aughris Head

Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Ballysadare Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Rosses Point - 3.3 nautical miles NNE
  2. Sligo - 4.2 nautical miles ENE
  3. Brown Bay - 5.4 nautical miles NNW
  4. Aughris Hole - 5.8 nautical miles WNW
  5. Inishmurray - 11 nautical miles NNW
  6. Mullaghmore - 13.8 nautical miles NNE
  7. Kilcummin - 21.6 nautical miles W
  8. Killala Bay - 21.9 nautical miles W
  9. Teelin - 22.5 nautical miles N
  10. Killybegs - 23.6 nautical miles NNE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Rosses Point - 3.3 miles NNE
  2. Sligo - 4.2 miles ENE
  3. Brown Bay - 5.4 miles NNW
  4. Aughris Hole - 5.8 miles WNW
  5. Inishmurray - 11 miles NNW
  6. Mullaghmore - 13.8 miles NNE
  7. Kilcummin - 21.6 miles W
  8. Killala Bay - 21.9 miles W
  9. Teelin - 22.5 miles N
  10. Killybegs - 23.6 miles NNE
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Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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How to get in?
Route location The 'Erris Head to Malin Head' coastal description provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northeast bound Route location sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southwest bound Route location sequence; western approaches may use either description.

Ballysadare Bay is an inlet of Sligo Bay off the North Atlantic Ocean in County Sligo on the west coast of Ireland.

This large enclosed bay is open to the northwest and is the southernmost of three forks off Sligo Bay and provides charming remote anchorages tucked away behind a sandy spit which affords good shelter in most weathers. It is entered between Derkmore Point and Killaspug Point but it is encumbered with many sandbanks through which there are narrow channels and these must be navigated with caution. It can be approached in any reasonable weather but should not be attempted by sailors new to the area in a heavy sea from the northwest. A little local knowledge would be useful.

Traughbaun shoals occupy much of the approaches to the entrance channel and the passage over the bar with 3.4 metres depth is narrow, so a leading wind or an engine and good visibility are necessary. It is definitely best to go in at, or soon after, low water as then the banks and some rocks inside are showing which makes it much easier to be sure where you are going. The inner part of this large enclosed bay is divided by the Great Seal Sandbank, creating a north channel overlooked by Knocknarea Mountain and the south channel which is generally shallower.

The bay affords a safe anchorage close within the entrance in the main channel between Portavaud Point and Portcurry Point in about 4 metres depth where in the prevailing westerly winds the shelter is very good, but there is a fairly strong tide. There is a further anchorage east of Portcurry Point where the north and south channels divide in a pool with a depth of 4 metres which is out of the strength of the tidal streams and where there is good shelter in west or northwest winds. From the division of the channels, the southern fork below Great Seal Bank is very shallow but the northern arm east of Portcurry Point is now the main outflow of the Ballysadare River and is getting deeper. There is also a good anchorage in an east wind in this channel in 4 metres depth off the “Hut”, an old two storey house on a point southwest of Knocknarea Mountain just above the only public slip in the bay where it is suitable to go ashore at Culleenamore and where there are some facilities at Strandhill village 2 miles away up the road.

There are no villages anywhere near the shores of Ballysadare Bay and it is not advisable to consider an attempt by boat or dinghy to reach Ballysadare Town which is 6 miles from the bar beyond long narrow unmarked channels through sandbanks.

Why visit here?
A remote and quiet location, Ballysadare Bay is a rich estuary for wildlife, particularly for many wading birds and gulls who enjoy the various sandbanks, and it has been described as being one of the least disturbed by human activity in all Ireland.

There are no villages round its shores but those who do venture off the boat at the only suitable landing can choose to walk 2 miles west to the village of Strandhill or 2.5 miles to the east to the larger town of Ballysadare. A local bus service connects both villages to the larger city of Sligo a distance of only 5 miles.

Knocknarea, Irish : Cnoc na Riabh, is a large hill west of Sligo town that overlooks Ballysadare Bay. The 1,000 ft. high limestone hill is visually striking as it is monolithic in appearance and stands in a prominent position on the Cuil Irra peninsula between Ballysadare and Sligo bays.
It is just a short walk from the village of Strandhill to the summit of Knocknarea where there is the legendary cairn of Maeve, Iron Age Queen of Connaught. The huge cairn stands 40 ft. high and has a circumference of 600 ft. and although it has never been excavated it is believed to conceal a Neolithic passage tomb. According to legend a smaller grave of the warrior King of Connaught, Eogan Bel, lies near to Maeve's cairn. The King was fatally injured at the Battle of Sligo in 537 AD and his last order was to be buried upright with his blood red javelin in his hand on the summit of Knocknarea, facing north to see the enemy flee before the army of Connaught.

Strandhill also known as Larass, Irish : an Leathros, situated on the Cuil Irra peninsular is a very picturesque unspoilt holiday resort between the Atlantic Ocean and the towering slopes of Knocknarea. It has miles of golden beaches and sandhills to explore, and the village is noted for unforgetable views of Atlantic sunsets. The beaches are well known as a location for having huge waves in the right conditions and consequently are very popular with surfers. Possibly due to its pure sea breezes and its particular setting Strandhill has traditionally been regarded as a natural health resort, as the area is invigorating and creates a sense of well-being. The district round Strandhill is steeped in legend and rich in archaeological remains, the Carrowmore site alone has one of the largest collections of Megalithic tombs in Europe. In a re-enactment of ancient events a 'Warrior's Run' from the village to the summit of Knocknarea takes place every year, and visitors are very welcome to participate.

The falls on the Ballysadare River at the village of the same name are a splendid sight and the river is also a huge attraction to salmon fishermen. Middleton and Pollerton, relatives of W.B. Yeats, owned flour mills in Ballysadare and the poet had fond memories of his visits there, and Ballysadare is the probable location of his “Sally Gardens”.

What facilities are available?
There are no facilities available at this location, the nearest village for restocking of provisions is at Strandhill 2 miles away. Facilities at Strandhill include a hotel, inns with B & B, pubs, bars and restaurants, shops including a supermarket, a doctors and a petrol station. The facilities at Ballysadare are comparable with Strandhill but also include a post office, a good butchers, a pharmacy, and a Leisure Cente.

A local bus service serves the area, and Sligo Airport at Strandhill is literally on the doorstep.

Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred at anchor in Ballysadare Bay.

With thanks to:
inyourfootsteps.com site research

The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with Sligo Bay.

The following video presents a voyage in to the bay.

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