ICC Sailing Directions

The story behind these essential books, from the editor Norman Kean

The ICC’s Sailing Directions had their origin prior to 1930, when Harry Donegan, a lawyer from Cork, began compiling pilotage information for the south and south-west coasts, and Billy Mooney, a Dublin dentist, was doing the same for the east. Their work was published in 1930/31. In the 1950s the scope of the two volumes, by now in their third editions, was extended to the whole coast of the island. Successive editors improved the books over the years, and they established a firm reputation as the standard work on the subject.

Most recently updated in 2020, with the use of drone photography, the books are now markedly different in presentation from those of 20 years ago. They continue to be held in high regard, and sales throughout the world have held steady despite the rise of electronic and website alternatives. The information in them is verified, authoritative, comprehensive and almost all based on long experience of the coast, intimate local knowledge and multiple research visits by land and sea. Even the remotest places described have been explored by a small number of researching yachts. Everything is, in the words of Tom Cunliffe in the Foreword, “bang up to date and well up to snuff on detail… Reading the approach directions leaves no nagging doubts that perhaps the compilers have not been here recently”. But at the same time, some of the original material from 1930 is still fresh and relevant today.

The publications are used by the Irish Lights and the Naval Service as their go-to source for inshore pilotage, and by the RNLI as the basis of local knowledge manuals in stations on the southwest coast.

To whet your appetite, see these sample pages…

Discount for CAI members

The Directions, still in two volumes, East & North and South & West Coasts, are priced at £37.50 each (in sterling because the UK remains the biggest market for them) at

A generous 10% discount is available to CAI members. Visit the ‘Member Benefits’ page and login for the code and a special link.


“Approach any port without these navigational directions on deck at one’s peril”

Lorna Siggins, The Irish Times

“Anywhere from Rosslare to Bloody Foreland, the first thing to do is to consult the Sailing Directions before any other passage planning tasks”

Sean Cullen, Inshore Ireland

“In 30 years working the coast of Ireland, as a ship’s officer, Master, Aids to Navigation Inspector and Director of Navigation, I have found that the ICC Directions have never failed to deliver practical and accurate assistance”

Robert McCabe, Commissioners of Irish Lights and the first Captain of ILV Granuaile