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Sorrento Point is situated on the east coast of Ireland, immediately south of Dublin Bay, at the northern end of Killiney Bay and to the southwest of Dalkey Island. It offers an anchorage in a beautiful setting close to a popular beach.

Sorrento Point is situated on the east coast of Ireland, immediately south of Dublin Bay, at the northern end of Killiney Bay and to the southwest of Dalkey Island. It offers an anchorage in a beautiful setting close to a popular beach.

Although sheltered from north round to southwest, Sorrento Point can be subject to swell and is best described as an exposed anchorage that may be best used in moderate offshore winds or settled conditions. This is largely because of poor ground holding that makes it unwise to venture far from the vessel should the ground holding break free. Navigation is straightforward as it has deep water and unimpeded access from the sea so it may be accessed at any stage of the tide. However, there are no navigation aids here so it is best accessed with the benefit of daylight.

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Keyfacts for Sorrento Point
None listed

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Note: sectioned off swimming area in the vicinity

Protected sectors

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

4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
2 stars: Exposed; unattended vessels should be watched from the shore and a comfortable overnight stay is unlikely.

Last modified
August 11th 2020


An exposed location with straightforward access.

None listed

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Note: sectioned off swimming area in the vicinity

Position and approaches
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Haven position

53° 16.166' N, 006° 5.699' W

This 300 metres southwest of Sorrento Point and on the 5 metre contour. It is a start point from which you may find a good spot to anchor.

What is the initial fix?

The following Sorrento Point initial fix will set up a final approach:
53° 16.030' N, 006° 5.520' W
This waypoint is 400 metres southeast of the anchorage.

What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in eastern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour Route location. Vessels approaching from the north may find a useful set of waypoints and directions for Dalkey Sound in the routes entry Dublin to Killiney Bay via Dalkey Sound Route location.

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 Sorrento Point for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Dalkey Island - 0.3 nautical miles NE
  2. Dún Laoghaire Harbour - 2.4 nautical miles NW
  3. Bray Harbour - 3.6 nautical miles S
  4. Dublin Port - 6.3 nautical miles NW
  5. Greystones - 7.1 nautical miles S
  6. Balscadden Bay - 7.2 nautical miles N
  7. Howth - 7.6 nautical miles N
  8. Carrigeen Bay - 8.2 nautical miles N
  9. Malahide - 11.3 nautical miles N
  10. Talbot’s Bay - 13.2 nautical miles N
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Dalkey Island - 0.3 miles NE
  2. Dún Laoghaire Harbour - 2.4 miles NW
  3. Bray Harbour - 3.6 miles S
  4. Dublin Port - 6.3 miles NW
  5. Greystones - 7.1 miles S
  6. Balscadden Bay - 7.2 miles N
  7. Howth - 7.6 miles N
  8. Carrigeen Bay - 8.2 miles N
  9. Malahide - 11.3 miles N
  10. Talbot’s Bay - 13.2 miles N
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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What's the story here?
Sorrento Point anchorage beneath the Sorrento Terrace
Image: Michael Harpur

Sorrento Point is situated on the northern end of Killiney Bay immediately inside of Dalkey Island and bounded to the west by the remarkable Killiney Hill. Recessed and into the hilly terrain immediatly between are the villages of Killiney and Dalkey. Been located just over three miles north of Bray and nine miles south of Dublin with many of their houses overlooking the pretty bay, the beautiful area is home to many of the capital’s wealthiest and best-known residents.

The anchorage lies in about 7 metres at the foot of the bay's signature Sorrento Terrace. It provides a serviceable berth in light offshore winds or settled conditions. Being subject to poor holding it is not a place where one can leave a vessel unattended for long periods. Likewise the immediate coastal area has steep-to cliffs that do not lend themselves to a convenient dinghy landing. So come prepared with an outboard or be prepared for a long row to land on Killiney beach on the western side.

How to get in?
The north end of Killiney Bay as seen over Dalkey Island
Image: Mark's Mavic External link

Convergance Point Use the area directions provided for Bray Harbour Click to view haven for broader approaches to Killiney Bay. Directions for Dalkey Sound are available in the Dublin to Killiney Bay via Dalkey Sound Route location.

Dalkey Island and Sorrento Terrace viewed from Killiney Hill
Image: Passps via ASA 4.0

Sorrento Point lies to the east of the hill with the conspicuous and elegant Victorian Sorrento Terrace stretching out along its length and making it highly visible from a great distance. Killiney Hill is made readily identifiable by the Mapas Obelisk standing on its summit.

The Mapas Obelisk standing on the summit of Killiney Hill
Image: Michael Harpur

Initial fix location From the initial fix set on the 10-metre contour come in under the Sorrento Point headland, it is steep to and there are no out-lying obstacles.

Land on Killiney beach
Image: Michael Harpur

Haven location Anchor just off the rocks to the southwest of the Victorian Terrace in about 5 metres. The railway line follows the coast above and developments to the infrastructure often leave some construction detritus in the fringing waters so keep an eye out. Test the holding well as it can be poor if you hit a rocky patch and watch out for any signs of dragging.

The shoreline to the north presents a high steep cliff with deep water and rocks at its foot. Killiney Beach, to the southwest and on the western shore, offers a shoreline where it is possible to land. The beach has a designated swimming area immediately off the beach. It is marked by two yellow spar buoys and yachts and tenders should stay well clear of this area.

Why visit here?
Sorrento Point takes its name the town of Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast that overlook the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. Because the view over Killiney Bay had been favourably compared to this part Italian Coast the northeastern extremity of Killiney Bay, Sorrento Point, was give the town's name to reflect it.

Killiney Bay as seen from Killiney Hill
Image: Sergei Gussev via CC BY 2.0

The fanciful name was given without obvious sarcasm as this is one of the prettiest bays around Dublin. Framed from seaward by the gradual curve of Killiney Bay, in the summer it has the vivid greens of the Irish countryside meeting along with a turquoise seam of translucent waters with the deep blue of the Irish Sea. Behind, at a little distance inland, are the Wicklow Mountains ranged in a series of groups so as to form a picturesque background. All of this, particularly the conical peak of the Great Sugar Loaf, redolent of Mount Vesuvius, gives it the appearance of the Bay of Naples. The view over Killiney Bay and Sorrento Point are amongst the most famous in Ireland today and readily recognisable. Killiney, pronounced 'kill-eye-nee', takes its name from the Irish 'Cill Iníon Léinín', meaning 'church of the daughters of Leinin' around the ruins of which the original village was based.

Sorrento Point during the Victorian Period (circa 1880-1900)
Image: National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The great vista is overlooked by the Sorrento Terrace that provides a magnificent focal point to the headland. The beautiful houses were commenced by the Rev. Dr Richard MacDonnell, 1787–1867, who was the Reformist 29th Provost of Dublin’s Trinity College. In 1837 MacDonnell bought the coastal plot of land planning to build his country retreat that was to be Sorrento Cottage. He then devised a plan to construct 22 houses on the remaining plot which would have been a huge undertaking at the time. But this got cancelled due to the onset of the Great Famine when MacDonnell nobly decided to help those around him rather than himself.

Sorrento Terrace's commanding view today
Image: Aidan McMichael via CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1845 the family built the first and largest of the terrace residences, 'Sorrento House', and he then leased the rest of the land to his son, Hercules Henry Graves MacDonnell. His son completed the remaining seven houses by 1874 and offered then out at a price of £1,000 each. Featuring such a breath-taking view the terrace is famous for being the most expensive row of houses in Ireland. The original Sorrento Cottage is now owned by David Howell Evans who is better known as 'The Edge' and lead guitarist of the Irish rock band U2.

Sorrento Point as seen from the north end of Killiney Beach
Image: William Murphy via CC BY SA 2.0

Those planning a shore visit will find a hike to the top of 153 metres high Killiney Hill more than rewarding. It is the southernmost of the two hills that form Dublin Bay’s southern boundary, the other being Dalkey Hill, and it is made unmistakable by having the 'Mapas Obelisk' at its crest. This was built by John Malpas in 1741, a wealthy Catholic, as a relief project for the little-known earlier famine of 1740 and 1741. Known as 'The Year of Slaughter' it was estimated to have killed at least 38% of the 1740 population of 2.4 million people, a proportionately greater loss than during the worst years of the Great Famine of 1845–1852.

The view southward from the south end of Killiney Beach
Image: William Murphy via CC BY SA 2.0

Deaths from mass starvation in the 1740–41 famine were caused by an acute cold snap that extended across Europe and was followed by a severely wet summer that wiped out the crops and killed off livestock. Mortality was higher in Ireland because both grain and potatoes failed and compounded by the outbreak of fatal diseases.

Victorian postcard of Malpas
Image: CC0
It was so cold that small vessels were destroyed by icebergs on the River Liffey, street lamps could not be lit plunging towns and villages into darkness. Food riots were common throughout the land and many of the oldest trees were also felled for fuel. The cold snap is now considered by scholars to be the last serious cold period at the end of the Little Ice Age of about 1400–1800.

John Malpas was amongst a small number of rich landlords that commissioned famine relief projects like the monument to provide employment to destitute families. The Obelisk bears the inscription: "Last year being hard with the poor, walks about these hills and this were erected by John Mapas, June 1742. " The Mapas obelisk was dedicated to Queen Victoria in the 1887 when Killiney Hill and Dalkey Hill were made part of the small public 'Killiney Hill Park' that was opened in honour of Queen Victoria's 50 years on the throne. Killiney Hill was called Victoria Hill at the time.

The Mapas Obelisk
Image: Tourism Ireland

Very close to the obelisk, if a little hidden behind gorse hedges, there is the step pyramid topped with a single square block. It was built more than a century later in 1852 by Robert Warren, the then owner of the estate. It was a folly, out of place and out of time, but one that has become much beloved by locals who refer to it as 'The Wishing Stone'. It will, according to local legend, grant your wish if you walk around each level, then stand on top while looking towards St. Begnet’s Oratory on Dalkey Island whilst expressing the wish. Another smaller folly lies below on the steep, shrub-covered slopes to the east. This is the small cone of Boucher's Obelisk, known locally as the 'Witch's Hat'. The remains of an ancient church 'The Druid’s Chair' can be found adjacent to the pathways and on the south side of the hill the remains of an old semaphore signalling station.

The Stepped Pyramid on Killiney Hill
Image: Tourism Ireland

Today all of these are accessible via the various steps and walking tracks of 'Killiney Hill Park'. The summits of Killiney and Dalkey Hill also provide 360° views of the surrounding area, with spectacular views of Dublin to the northwest and inland towards the mountains and the valley of the river Liffey; the Irish Sea out to the east, Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains to the south, and northwards often as far as Ulster’s Cooley Peninsula on a good day. On a fine day you might even see the Welsh mountains, almost 160km away across the Irish Sea.

View over Killiney Bay from Killiney Hill Park
Image: William Murphy via CC BY SA 2.0

From a sailing perspective, being just outside the very urban environment of the capital, Sorrento Point makes for the perfect escape where one can enjoy some peace and quiet in a particularly beautiful location. Killiney Beach makes it ideal for vessels with children, and, being within a couple of hundred metres of Dalkey Sound, it is also a perfect tide-wait location for a passage northward.

What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at Sorrento Point. All yacht services and provisioning may be obtained at Dún Laoghaire Harbour.

Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred at Sorrento Point.

With thanks to:
Charlie Kavanagh, ISA/RYA Yachtmaster Instructor/Examiner.

Bottlenose dolphins gambolling in the anchorage

Sunrise over the anchorage

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