Newcastle is a small drying harbour with fixed fore/aft moorings consists of two piers suitable for yachts up to 11m long that can take the ground. There is ‘the wee quay’ otherwise known as the North Quay at the town side of the harbour (1) and ‘the dog leg quay’ which lies to the South side of the harbour (2). Both quays have steel gates that may be locked by local boat owners or the council in storms.
Harbour Management & Moorings
The harbour is managed by Newry and Mourne District Council and there is no harbour master on full time duty at the harbour. Any queries in relation to the management of the harbour, the moorings or facilities should be directed to the Council who have a dedicated office for the management of Newry and Mourne area harbours – Tel: 0330 137 4311
There are 3 public slipways into the harbour. Members of the public are welcome to use all three slipways and currently do not need to book a slot for launching. Access to the most Northerly slipway (most used by the Yacht Club) parallel to the North Quay (3), is Courtesy of Newcastle Yacht Club. The club own this slipway down to the highwater mark. For your own safety, all users are asked to keep the slipway clear when boats are launching and recovering. The Council own the lower apron and are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the apron. The Yacht Club also own the slipway into the harbour in front of the NYC dinghy park, however lease this to the council who are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep (2). The council own and maintain the third steep slipway on the South side of the harbour (1).
There is no public parking at the North side of the harbour. To facilitate the unfortunate incident of the emergency services being required at the harbour, the area in front of the yacht club is restricted for parking and has been marked out in yellow boxes and double yellow lines by Road Service who control the area (4). Members of the public should beware of traffic wardens who at present have legal control in the area. There is a private Yacht Club car park that is for its members and guests only. There is a public harbour car park to the South side (Kilkeel side, 5) of the harbour however this can sometimes be full of fishing boats.
Notes for Visiting Yachts
HW +15 Dover; Newcastle harbour is nestled in Dundrum Bay, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in the South East corner of Northern Ireland. It lies about halfway between Strangford Lough and Carlingford Lough, approx. 8 miles from St Johns Point and 12 miles from Ardglass Marina. Yachts making passage along the East coast will usually bypass Newcastle as it is a little bit astray from a direct route between Dublin and Ardglass. The harbour completely dries, even in neaps.
The harbour offers good protection except in strong Easterlies. Winds from Southeast through to East to Northeast winds cause a heavy swell in the bay that can somewhat batter the harbour. Thankfully, Easterly winds are unusual. In winds from Southwest through to North, protection of the Mourne Mountains means Newcastle can be a pleasant place to spend a night at anchor.
Facilities for Visiting Yachts
There is good holding in sand throughout the bay North off the harbour entrance or to the South of the harbour. Anchor well clear of the yellow special mark that marks a pipe. Beware downdraughts from the Mountains in Strong Westerlies.
Bilge keel yachts that can take the ground can enter the harbour itself and can usually find a free berth alongside one of the quays. The harbour entrance is clear however beware of rock armouring at the end of the ‘dogleg quay’ (2) which extends into the sea. There is no dedicated visitors’ berth. Access to the outer ends of both quays for a yacht of around 1.0m draft is approx. three hours each side of high water. Going further into harbour is only recommended at High water where the depth should be approx. 3.0m.
The Yacht Club (6) is open for racing on Thursday evenings May-Sept and Sunday afternoons April-November. Crew from visiting yachts are welcome to use the facilities when the club is open. Next to the Yacht Club there is Newcastle RNLI station (7) which is home to a Mersey Class lifeboat and its smaller D Class inshore boat. The Harbour House Inn (8) lies beside the RNLI station and serve great bar food and a good pint of Guinness. There is a small shop 5 mins walk from the Yacht Club where visiting yachts will be able to find provisions. Newcastle town is a 15-minute walk from the harbour. From here there are regular bus services to Belfast and Dublin. There is a tap (no hose) and bins for rubbish disposal on the North Quay.