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Sailing from Arklow to Dun Laoghaire

After crossing over from Milford Haven on the Welsh coast we had spent an evening anchored just outside the harbour entrance at Arklow on the east coast of Ireland.

Ideally we would liked to have explored Arklow but with yet another spell of rather unsettled weather due in we didn’t fancy being stuck here for a period of time. Therefore our visit here was unfortunately very short lived!

Our Passage Plan

Dun Laoghaire, just outside of Dublin, was our destination, approximately 35 nautical miles up the coast. The wind was a predicted 8 – 12 knots from the west. Low water in Arklow was just before 7.00am after which we would benefit from the north going tide on our run up.

Our waypoints were set:
WP1 – 52°56.818N 5°58.218W (Red can near Horseshoe Bank)
WP2 – 53°8.409N 6°1.085W (Red can near Greystones)
WP3 – 53°16.018N 6°5.235W (Entrance to Dalkey Sound)

Our Actual Passage

Departing Arklow at 6.20am we navigated our way out through the pots and raised the sails. The wind was very light at a round 7 knots but we were still able to sail. By 8.25am we were in position 52°57.877N 5°58.529W, just coming up on Wicklow Head lighthouse.

Wicklow Head Lighthouse

As we rounded the headland the wind started to pick up and for the rest of the sail it was averaging 16 – 18 knots, a little higher than forecasted. This was probably as a result of the wind whipping around the beautiful Wicklow Mountains that we could now catch a glimpse of.

Sailing past the start of the Wicklow Mountains

As we approached Dalkey Sound the wind was around 18 knots. With the increase in wind speed and the fact we did not know the area, we made the decision to go around rather than go through. Subsequently our route now took us to the east of Dalkey Island and Muglins.

Approaching Dun Laoghaire and Dublin

Once past here we dropped the sails and made our approach into Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

As soon as we entered this protected harbour the wind dropped away and we prepared for our arrival. However we obviously arrived on summer sailing school day as the harbour was full of children out sailing little dinghies. It’s great to see kids learning at a young age though it did make navigating through them quite a challenge in itself!

Dun Laoghaire Marina

As we intended to stay for a week we contacted the marina in advance to see if we could get a finger berth. Dun Laoghaire Marina is massive, holding over 800 boats. They have a large visitor area however this is right at the end of the walkway.They were very accommodating, giving us a berth on pontoon NG, much closer to the main office and facilities.

Interestingly the marina uses a biometric entry system, meaning you need to scan your finger print into their system if you wish to let yourself in to the marina. This is optional and we opted against this but it did mean we had to be buzzed in each time.

Dun Laoghaire Marina

The main facilities were a little dated and reminded us of old school/football changing rooms however they do have a “facilities barge” located towards the outer end of the main marina. This has four individual cabins each fitted out with a shower, wash basin and toilet, and was much more modern, and unique!

The washing machine cost €7 for a wash with the tumble dryer costing €1 for 10 minutes. Electric was charged at €4 for 10kw. Our 907 gas bottle here was €55 for a refill! Diesel and petrol are available along with a pump out service.

Nearby you will find two chandleries; Viking Marine, just below Wetherspoons, and Solas Marine, just along the front.

The weekly cost at Dun Laoghaire Marina was €22.50 per metre (July 2023). Obviously as cruisers we try to keep our costs as low as possible but we were treating this as our little ‘holiday’ and were excited about exploring the surrounding areas and of course Dublin!

VIDEO: Sailing Arklow to Dun Laoghaire


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