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Glandore Harbour: Potential for Shangri la

Glandore (Irish: Cuan D'Ór, meaning harbour of gold) is the name of both a bay and a village in County Cork.  The charming harbour at Glandore has everything going for it. A residential and sailing centre in picturesque Glandore village, a tiny village at Leap, the fishing port at Union Hall, and a grand expanse of anchorage in between, protected from the Atlantic swell by small islands at its mouth.  But take care, as the approach to the harbour is not well marked and there have been multiple serious accidents both on approach and inside the harbour, including the sinkings of the FV Tit Bonhomme in 2012 and the FV Christ Maria in 2003.

The anchorage

Glandore Bay is approximately three miles long north to south with the village of Leap at the north end, the village of Glandore on the east side, Union Hall (Irish: Bréantrá) on the west side and two small islands, named Adam and Eve, at the mouth of the harbour at the south end.

The sailing directions into the harbour are "to avoid Adam and hug Eve".  Rocks in the middle of the bay called The Perches have a flashing green mark at the western extremity. The Danger Rock further up the bay has a flashing northern mark. The harbour itself is located midway in Glandore Bay which is the area between The Galley Head and Toe Head.  There is no channel marked through Glandore Habour, although there is a channel marked on the charts leading into Union Hall and the fishing docks. 

There are visitor moorings located just off the shore below Glandore village. The anchorage offers good holding but take care to choose your spot carefully to avoid any potential entanglement with the fishing fleet. There is an ancient protected cove at the base of Glandore village which provides excellent dinghy access to the village via floating pontoons.  It can be very busy on days when regattas or youth events are held.

Access to Union Hall was also via pontoons secured on the opposite side of the harbour which were exposed to swell and not in the best of repair when we were there. 


Glandore was one of the earlier settlements in the area. Drombeg, one of the most visited megalithic sites in Ireland, is just 2.4 km (~1 mi) east of Glandore.  Also known as The Druid's Altar, Drombeg  is a recumbent stone circle. It is open to the public free of charge.

The stone circle once comprised seventeen stones but only 13 survive. The most westerly stone is a long recumbent one and has two egg-shaped indentations.  It is flanked by a pair of high portal stones. The stones in the circle slope upwards to the recumbent stone, the midpoint of which was set in line with the sunset when viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills at winter solstice.

The ruins of two round stone-walled prehistoric huts and a cooking place (fulacht fiadh) are just west of the monument. The smaller hut had a cooking oven on its east side. A path leads from the huts to the fulacht fiadh, which features a well beside a hearth and trough in which water was boiled by adding hot stones. The fulacht fiadh is thought to have been in use until the 5th century AD.

In 1215, the Normans built two castles here. A fair was held at Trá an Aonaigh (Tralong Beach) in the 18th century.  The present pier and wall were built in the first half of the 19th century. The Church of Ireland, which is being restored, is located at the entrance of The Rectory overlooking the harbour at the Leap end of the village. The Rectory along with Bearna Donn and Stone Wall were built in the 19th Century by the Allen Family. The first regatta was held in 1830, and the Glandore Harbour Yacht Club is a major feature of the area today.  The Glandore Classic Regatta has been held every other year since 1992.

Things to do

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club's official headquarters is next to the Glandore Inn. The Irish Coast Guard has a unit at the "Rocket House" at the western end of the village. 

The village is charming and has several pubs with traditional music, a wonderful antique book shop, a gallery and several restaurants. It is a very popular holiday destination among Irish in particular.

Sailing is the main attraction, although rowing, diving, and swimming are also popular. The annual regatta takes place the third weekend in August. Every 2 years (on odd years) the Glandore Classic Boat Regatta is held during the second week of July.  The closing parade of sail and fireworks display have become a sailing tradition.

Union Hall is worth a visit as there is a wonderful fish store, a supermarket, and several pubs and restaurants.  The walk around the perimeter of the harbour is quite pleasant, although more charm can be found in Glandore.  CH Marine, an excellent marine chandlery is located a few miles away in Skibereen.

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