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Revitalised Dunmore East Springs Back with Fresh New Facilities

19th June 2017
Dunmore East Harbour Master Harry McLoughlin in his control centre atop the new Harbour Services Building, with the busy new Visitors Pontoon beyond Dunmore East Harbour Master Harry McLoughlin in his control centre atop the new Harbour Services Building, with the busy new Visitors Pontoon beyond Photo: W M Nixon

Time was when Dunmore East was known among the cruising fraternity as The Glue Pot writes W M Nixon. In a time now barely within living memory, it was a picturesque little port which was at its busiest with the fishing during the winter, while in summer it was a very popular staging post for east coast cruisers headed for the delights of West Cork.

But often they would have had such a struggle rounding Ireland’s notoriously-challenging southeast corner – as did the competitors in last week’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race – that they’d be so relieved to get to Dunmore East that, somehow or other, they’d go no further (again see D2D-2017).


dunmore pontoon2The Vistors’ Pontoon at Dunmore East well-filled with a recent group in from Cork. Photo: W M Nixon

Of course, Dunmore East was in any case a most attractive cruise destination in its own right, notably generous in its hospitality to visiting sailors. But as places like Kilmore Quay and Waterford City itself began to provide marina berthing facilities in the area, cruisers with modern tastes preferred to go there, rather than try to make do with Dunmore East’s makeshift arrangements, which often involved having to change berths when lying alongside fishing boats, and clambering ashore up tricky quay wall ladders.

harbour office dunmore east3The impressive new Harbour Building at Dunmore East provides multiple services. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the fishermen, with many of their boats getting bigger, there was increasing frustration with the fact that the harbour – massively re-developed in the 1960s – was slowly silting up.

But now, after enduring the usual disruption involved in having the dredgers in, Dunmore East is back on its feet and better than ever. The place has cleaned up a treat. And the crisp new Visitors Pontoon down at the end of the East Pier is already turning over six to seven visiting cruising yachts every night, even though we’re still not into the peak cruising season.

waterford harbour sailing club4Waterford Harbour SC has had a major interior revamp through the winter. Photo: W M Nixon

As for the busy and successful Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, it has – as recently reported in Afloat.ie – re-furbished much of its interior, while its sailors are increasingly cutting a swathe through all levels of Irish and international sailing.

dunmore harbour office5The “Eagles Nest”. Dunmore East Harbour is now overseen by this 360 degrees offices/lookout atop the new Harbour Building. Photo: W M Nixon

dunmore harbour office6The new nerve centre for Dunmore East. After only recently coming on line, it awaits purpose-designed desks before the official Opening Ceremony can take place. Photo: W M Nixon

dunmore harbour office7As a final fall-back for totally visibility, the upper floor has a balcony area outside the main office section. Photo: W M Nixon

At the head of the harbour, the affable Harbour Master Harry McLoughlin is able to keep an eye on every aspect of his domain from his glass-walled eagle’s nest-style office atop the new multi-functional Harbour Services building. It was so new when we called by there recently that although the harbour and its many services are being run from here, for another few weeks they’re making do with temporary desks while the purpose-built office-furniture is being prepared to be fitted in, after which plans can be made for an Official Opening.

As it is, the building is already hugely impressive, with quality-finished visitors washroom and shower facilities – including a launderette – which could rival any fully-furnished yacht harbour elsewhere.

dunmore east harbour8With the dredgers departed, the harbour tidied up, the new visitors pontoon working well, and the new Harbour Office needing only some purpose-built furniture so that it can be Officially Opened, Dunmmore East is back on track again. Photo: W M Nixon
But there’s much more to Dumore East than that. It’s an intense, active community with a strong sense of itself both as somewhere with a very maritime attitude, while at the same time providing a unique hospitality package for visitors by land and sea alike.

Although the way has been left clear for further development of the outer harbour - perhaps in a way which could provide marina berths with more direct access to the village - for the moment Dunmore East has reached a welcome new plateau of development. And it feels good. We can be reasonably sure that Dunmore East has re-achieved the Full Gluepot Status.

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