Scraggane Bay

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For when the sun shines here, this area looks more like the Caribbean than the west coast of Ireland.


Scraggane Bay or “An Scragán” in Irish is a small fishing port located on the Maharees peninsula near Castlegregory  in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland and on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula. 

It is a remote anchorage on the tip of the headland that separates Tralee Bay from Brandon Bay where there is a small fishing pier.

The anchorage offers good protection from all conditions except from the northeast. It can be subject to northwest swell when its outer fringing rocks cover at high water. In such cases Fenit, less than ten miles away, provides all round protection. Access to Scraggane Bay is straightforward in daylight at any stage of the tide.

The main local catch consists of lobster, flat-back crab, spider crab, Atlantic crayfish, Atlantic Salmon and mackerel. Scraggane is home to a fleet of about twenty fishing trawlers.

You will also see the unusual aspect of this fleet is that nearly all the fishermen use traditional Irish curraghs for trawler tenders. This is because the master curragh builder Monty O'Leary resides across the peninsula, in Fahamore, busily constructing curraghs, or Naomhóg.

The traditional curragh was constructed with ribs made of sally rods with the ends being brought up through holes in a strong gunwale frame. Over the ribs were placed longitudinal pieces of thin deal and this was then covered with canvas or hides. This was all then blackened and made water tight with bitumen (tar).

The ancient boats could be managed with great dexterity as the traditional design provided qualities that are only seen today in modern craft made from advanced technologies. The boat’s elasticity enabled a curragh to recoil from a shock that would stove-in a heavy structured vessels and their lightness provided such buoyancy that they floated like ducks on the water.

These craft are still in use today but are more likely to have an outer skin of fibreglass to replace the hide. They still look delicate but are surprisingly strong and resilient when used on the often rough Atlantic coast.

Having the boats constructed in the area has made this bay a center for curragh enthusiasts and this love of the boats reaches a climax each July. For then the bay hosts a currach racing regatta where currach racing teams from Ireland’s entire western seaboard, from Kerry to Galway, come to compete in the All-Ireland Currach racing series.

Scraggane Bay is used extensively as a flat water windsurfing venue owing to its consistent wind and its protection from the Atlantic waves. "Scraggies", as the locality is often called, is sailable in almost any conditions, regardless of wind direction. Local windsurf pro Jamie Knox has a base on the bay providing teaching facilities to intermediates.

Scraggane Bay is a fairly exposed beach break that has quite consistent surf and can work at any time of the year. Offshore winds blow from the southeast. Tends to receive a mix of groundswells and wind swells and the best swell direction is from the west northwest. 

The beach breaks offer lefts and rights. The quality of the surf isn't affected by the tide. Even when there are waves, it's not likley to be crowded. This capability was recently observed by the Sunday Times when it voted it the No.1 windsurfing destination in the World.

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Scuba diving, sea angling and walking are other popular leisure activities here. Those who enjoy a hike should plan a visit to the 14ft high standing stone with a cross situated in a field at Candiha at the southern end of the bay.

From a cruising perspective Scraggane Bay is another interesting and very pleasant anchoring opportunity in this area of outstanding natural beauty. For when the sun shines here, this area looks more like the Caribbean than the west coast of Ireland.

For golfing enthusiasts, Castlegregory, the nearest town, there is The Golf and Fishing Club a superb links golf course is located just a few short miles from Castlegregory village between the scenic Lough Gill and Brandon Bay, at Stradbally, near Tralee, Co. Kerry. The magical colours of Mount Brandon act as a magnificent backdrop to this 5876 yard par 68 nine-hole course. 

Then there is the entertainment and the scrumptious sea food. Search out and find Spillanes bar, an old style, family owned pub run on the Maharees peninsula and Harbour House and Leisure Centre ranked in the top three places to stay in Co Kerry and its Islands Seafood Restaurant is excellent and astonishingly well priced.

 

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