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Kinsale[2] is a small town in city West Cork, Southwest Ireland.


Kinsale Harbour

Kinsale is situated in the estuary of the river Bandon, nestling among hills that hide it from the open sea. Because of its situation it is a historic port and is still very popular with pleasure sailors and anglers.

Two forts guard the approach to the sea and one of the most significant battles in Irish History was fought here. The battle was in 1601 and was fought when an Irish army had traveled from the north of Ireland to relieve an English siege on the town that was held by the Spanish. Against the odds the Irish lost the battle, and this defeat marked the end of the ancient Gaelic aristocracy in Ireland. In addition to its visual charms, the town has become a home of good food, especially seafood, and holds an annual festival to celebrate.

Get in[edit]

  • From Cork Airport If you have not already rented a car for your trip, the easiest way to get to Kinsale is via taxi, or by bus. Taxis await in a line ("queue") just outside the front entrance to the terminal, and are always present. Count on spending €25-€30 for the 30 minute drive.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Desmond Castle
  • Charles Fort, half a mile south of town in Summercove, Telephone: 021/477-2263. This is a 17th century star shaped fort, which is very well preserved and has seen very little military action. 45 minute tours depart every hour, last entry 45 minutes before closing, €3.70, covered by Heritage Card, open daily mid-March to October 10AM-6PM, November to mid-March 10AM-5PM.
  • James Fort, 2 miles south of town on Pier Road. This is an older fort and is on the other side of the river and in much poorer condition. On the west shore of the bay.
  • Desmond Castle, on Cork Street, Telephone: 021/477-4855 Built circa 1500 by the Earl of Desmond as a custom house, this is a well-preserved tower house. The Castle is known locally as the French Prison following a fire in which 54 French prisoners died in 1747. The building was later used as an auxillary workhouse during the Famine. Admission €2.90, covered by Heritage Card, open daily April to October 10AM-6PM, last entry at 5:15PM, tours given on request, closed November to mid-April.
  • Kinsale Regional Museum, on Market Square, Telephone: 021/477-7930. An interesting small museum with exhibits on domestic and maritime history, including the Lusitania, costs €3.50, open M-Sa 10:30AM-5:30PM, Su 2PM-5:30PM.

Do[edit][add listing]

Kinsale town centre
  • Sailing, Blue Flag marina, at Castlepark just outside the town, has public boat ramps and docks. Both crewed cruising yachts and small recreational sailboats are available.
  • Kinsale Harbour Cruises, tel: 021/477-3188,[3]. Adults €12, children under 12 €5, children under 7 free.
  • Sea Angling / Whale & Dolphin Watching, Tel 087-1256199 [4] Full day, half day and evening trips for groups large and small.
  • Tourist Information Office, Tel: 021/477-2234, [5]. Near the main bus stop at the head of the harbor, giving free maps & brochures, open July to August M-Sa 9:15AM-7PM, Su 10AM-5PM, March to June & September to November M-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, closed Sunday, shorter hours December to February.
  • Ghost Tour, mobile 087-948-0910. A slapstick-style horror-humor tour, 90 minutes, €10, May to September M-F leaves at 9PM at the Tap Tavern.
  • Historic Stroll in Old Kinsale, Tel 087 2500731. An engaging and fun tour of the town's history. Leaves Tourist Office daily at 11:15AM. Duration one hour (approx),Cost €6

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Kinsale Crystal, Market Street, (++) 353 21 4774493 (fax: (++) 353 21 4774463), [6]. A charming crystal shop specialising in deep cut lead crystal. The founder was originally with Waterford before setting up Kinsale Crystal. Several items are available for purchase on their website.
  • Kinsale Silver, Pearse Street, Tel: (++) 353 21 774359 (fax: (++) 353 21 774805), [7]. Handmade silver jewelry with celtic themes. Proprieter is very personable.
  • GlenAran Irish Market, 6 Market Street, (++) 353 21 4773384(fax: (++) 353 21 4773384), [8]. Leading Irish craft & design retail outlet with vast range of Irish Aran knitwear & craft works - lots of items also available to buy on their website.
  • Cronins of Kinsale, Emmet Place (Town Centre), 021 4772192. Mon-Sat 9.30-18.00. Kinsale's oldest, much loved gift store is a third generation family run outlet selling a large selection of contemporary and traditional Irish Gifts - ceramics textiles and much more.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Kinsale is a gourmet centre with many restaurants for all prices and tastes.

  • Man Friday, Scilly, Kinsale, 021-4772260. 7.30PM-10.30PM. Famous for its Steaks, Seafood and their Stuffed Duck served in a nice restaurant with a good atmosphere. Range from 20-35 Euro.  edit
  • Actons Hotel, Pier Road. Tel: (++) 353 21 477 9900, [9]. Serves excellent Sunday carvery lunches as well as having a daily dinner menu. Staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Family-friendly.
  • Fishy Fishy Shop, Guardwell Street across from the church, Tel: 021/477-4453. The local place for seafood, €20 specials, cash only, open for lunch only Tu-Sa noon-3:45PM, closed Su,M.
  • Fishy Fishy Cafe, on Pier Road, Tel: 021/477-0415. Bigger, with more spacious seating (indoor, balcony, terrace) same prices & menu, no reservations taken, open daily noon-4:30PM.
  • Cafe Blue, Pearse Street in Blue Haven Hotel. Open daily.
  • Cucina Cafe, Market Street. Open daily.
  • Patsy's Corner Near market square, sandwiches, baguettes, salads & coffee.
  • Mother Hubbard's Near market square, sandwiches, baguettes, salads & coffee.
  • Super Valu Supermarket Great for picnic food, open M-Sa 8:30AM-9PM, Su 10AM-9PM.
  • The Little Skillet, Main Street, Tel: 021/477-4202. Romantic atmosphere, Irish music, much fresh vegetables, €20 entrees, €25 3 course early-bird meal before 7:30PM, open daily noon-2:30PM & 6PM-10:30PM.
  • Hoby's RestaurantMain Street, Tel: 021/477-2200. Romantic, quiet, & candlelit, €25 3 course dinners, open daily 6PM-10PM.
  • Max' Wine Bar, Tel: 021/477-2443. International food, fancy interior & presentation, lunch from 12:30PM, dinner from 6:30PM, closed Tuesday, €22 3 course early bird special before 7:30PM.
  • Jim Edward's Steak & Seafood, at Market Quay, Tel: 021/477-2541. A crowded local favorite with €20-30 dinner only meals in romantic area, or €12-19 meals in the bar, steaks, seafood, & vegetables, cheaper than other restaurants, bar open daily 12:30PM-10PM, restaurant daily 6PM-10PM.
  • Muddy Maher's PubMain Street, Tel: 021/477-4602. Funky atmosphere, €10-15 dinners, open daily noon-3PM & 6PM-9PM.
  • Cobra Tandoori, 69 Main Street, Tel: 021/477-7911. One of many ethnic restaurants, this one serves Indian food, €10 plates, open daily 4:30PM-11:30PM.
  • Bulman Bar & Restaurant, 200 yards towards Kinsale from Charles Fort in Hamlet of Summercove, Tel: 021/477-2131. Seafood & seasonal produce, €10 lunches, €22-26 meals in fancy restaurant upstairs, open daily 12:30PM-9:30PM.
  • Mediterraneo Italian Restaurant, 7 Pearse Street (town center next door to AIB Bank), 0214773844, [1]. Local meats, fish, and produce.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Kinsale's many pubs have a lively atmosphere, all near the center of town:

  • An Seanachai, Main Street.
  • The Tap Tavern Below St. Multose Church, has music on Thursday nights
  • Bulman Bar Near Charles Fort, has great music sessions Tuesday, Thursday, & Sunday at 9:30PM, Wednesday folk session at 9:30PM, get there a half hour early to ensure a seat, Telephone: 021/477-2131
  • Spaniard Inn, Tel: 021/477-2436. A ten minute walk from town out onto the Scilly Peninsula, music at 9:30PM on Wednesdays, arrive an hour before to ensure a seat.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Trident Hotel, World's End, Tel: 353-21-4772301, [10]. 66 rooms, harbor views, restaurant and bar. €35-€100.
  • The Old Presbytery, 43 Cork Street, Tel: 021/477-2027 Fax: 021/477-2166, [11]. 10 rooms, goofy floor plan, nice lounge, quiet, fine breakfast. Double €110, bigger double €150, biggest double €170, family quadruple €180, 2 quadruple suites with no breakfast €170, free wi-fi and internet access, private parking.
  • Friar's Lodge, Friar Street, Tel: 021/477-7384 Fax: 021/477-4363, [12]. New & modern on a hill with 18 rooms, single €80, double €90-130, triple €150-160, quadruple €190, wi-fi, private parking.
  • Chart House B&B, 6 Dennis Quay, Tel: 021/477-4568, Fax: 021/477-7907, [13]. A Georgian hotel with 1 single, 4 doubles, non-smoking, quiet, high ceilings, chandeliers, great lounge, a block from the harbor, single €40-45, double €120, deluxe double €170, 10% discount when payed with cash, easy parking.
  • O'Donovan's B&B, 8 Guardwell Street, Tel: 021/477-2428. In a 400-year-old building, quiet, non-smoking, friendly, in the medieval center, single w/no bathroom €45-50, double w/no bathroom €70, double w/bathroom €75.
  • The Olde Bakery B&B, Tel: 021/477-3012, [14]. Six quilt bedded rooms, 2 friendly dogs, cozy breakfast, cash only, non-smoking, laundry service available, double w/no bathroom €70, double w/bathroom €80.
  • The Sea Gull, Cork Street, Telephone: 021/477-2240. On a hill next to Desmond Castle, cash only, six rooms, single w/no bathroom €35-40, double w/bathroom €70, triple w/bathroom €95.
  • Guardwell Lodge, Guardwell Street, Tel: 021/477-4686 Fax: 021/477-4684, [15]. A great budget hotel, with 44 rooms on top of a hill, but stark and somewhat prison-like, but modern and comfortable. Almost like a hostel, but isn't, no breakfast, all bedding provided, TV lounge, fully equipped self-service kitchen, quiet rooms are on the church side. €17 beds in 4-bed dorms, single €30, twin double €55, double with large bed €60, triple €60.
  • Kinsale Arms, 55 Main Street, Tel: 021/477-2233. Nine, cheap, spartan rooms in a rather run-down hotel. Double €60-66, no twins.

Get out[edit]

  • There are a number of excellent Blue Flag beaches in the area. Both Garretstown and Garrylucas (White Strand) beaches are just over 8km from Kinsale and can be reached by following the R600 to Ballinspittle village. Garretstown beach in particular is renowned for its surf and equipment is available to rent on the beach.
  • The charming, but not-as-charming-as-Kinsale town of Cobh is reached by first driving and then taking a poorly signposted ferry to the island it's on, make sure you don't accidentaly take the ferry that goes to France instead. It can also be reached by road via Cork city.
  • The ever-famous castle at Blarney is also less than an hour away
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