By Elaine Whelan
Originally a medieval fishing port, historic Kinsale in County Cork is one of the most picturesque, popular and historic towns on the south west coast of Ireland. Visitors to Kinsale are captivated by its beautiful setting. With its long waterfront, yacht-filled harbour, narrow winding streets and brightly painted galleries, shops and houses, Kinsale is a town not to be missed. Only 25 minutes away is the city of Cork where even more shops and restaurants await. Kick back and relax with the sand between your toes and let this mighty little town capture your heart.
Charles Fort is a 340-year-old Star Fort with an incredible history. Children love to climb all over the fort walls, running up and down the grassy hills and jumping off of stone ruins. There’s a great view from the fort that parents can enjoy while their kids play, and there are educational displays inside the fort. Admission to the fort is free which makes it even better!
The Ghost Tour is run by the Tap Tavern and heads out every night except Saturday during the summer at 9:00pm It’s a fun walking tour that will give you the history of the area in general and the stories behind some of the sites. An adult ticket costs €10 and a child ticket costs €5. Kids are sure to love it and laugh and squeal at the surprises along the way. The tour lasts roughly an hour and 15 minutes so that no sleepy little heads will be kept up too late.
Kinsale Harbour Cruise
The Kinsale Harbour Cruise will give you a very different view of Kinsale and its beautiful natural harbour. The cruise will bring you to all the highlights of Kinsale such as Scilly Sailing Village, Charles Fort and James Fort, Harbour Mouth, Dock Beach, Four Marinas, Ring Roan Castle and often times you can catch a glimpse of seals, seabirds, herons and even dolphins. An adult ticket costs €14, children are €6 and kids under the age of two go free.
The Old Head of Kinsale Loop
Get a touch of the Wild Atlantic Way at The Old Head. The Old Head of Kinsale is a remarkably dramatic piece of Ireland, protruding more than 3km into the Atlantic Ocean. It is most famous for its 18-hole golf course and for being the nearest land point to the site where the RMS Lusitania sank in 1915, after being hit by a German torpedo where 1,200 people were perished in the incident. Take in views of the beautiful Kinsale from the cliffs for the best vistas around.
Kinsale has some of the most beautiful streets in Ireland. The buildings that line the long and narrow streets are painted in an array of vibrant colours. There are so many quirky cafes and shops at every turn that you will be spoilt for choice. Explore the multi-coloured streets or wander along the water with an ice cream or sit back and watch the kids clamber on the giant ramps and playground in the middle of the town. Or even visit some of the many galleries that Kinsale has to offer.
Food and Drink
Deciding what to eat is always a hard decision but in Kinsale, deciding where to eat is so much harder. Every street and corner has a treasure throve of different cafes and restaurants to tickle your taste buds. Fishy Fishy Restaurant Kinsale, is an award-winning restaurant run by husband and wife team Martin & Marie Shanahan. Martin appeared on our screens in 2009 in Martin’s Mad About Fish, with RTÉ and has since teamed up with Chef Paul Flynn to feature in the RTÉ series Surf n’Turf. Another popular treat for Kinsale locals is Dino’s Fish and Chips. However be prepared to queue because Dino’s really is popular here. The Blue Haven Hotel is another firm favourite for food. Kinsale has plenty of pubs and bars on offer but the most popular by far is the Bulman. Enjoy the sunset over the shore with a pint in your hand for a true Irish holiday.
Where to Stay
As mentioned above, The Blue Haven is incredibly popular to both locals and visitors to Kinsale. This boutique style hotel is located perfectly in the centre of the town. The four star establishment is winner of best boutique hotel in Ireland in 2019 and has many more accolades to its name. Another central hotel in Actions Hotel, a swanky and modern hotel that overlooks the sparkling water of the stunning harbour. For a more unusual option, why not glamp in yurts overlooking the water at Kinsale Glamping. Or if you want the whole family together and want to have some distance between yourself and guests you can hire out a cottage or the main manor at Ballinacurra House, a stunning private estate exclusively yours for your stay.