Whether you consider the village of Kinsale, County Cork to be the beginning or the end of the Wild Atlantic Way, it is definitely a spot to consider adding to your Ireland itinerary!
Clodagh FitzGerald, a Failte Ireland certified guide, shares the highlights of her home in this podcast.
Exploring Kinsale, County Cork
Located where Ireland's ‘Sunny Southeast' meets the ‘Wild Atlantic Way', Kinsale is a charming fishing village with narrow, winding streets, a picturesque deep harbour, and delicious food.
Where is Kinsale, County Cork?
Kinsale is about 20 minutes southwest of Cork City and is very popular as a ‘day trip' spot within Ireland.
Kinsale is a “Must See” on many Ireland Itineraries
Tip: leave plenty of time for your visit! There are so many things to see and do in Kinsale!
Two forts guard Kinsale Harbour.
Charles Fort is a massive, star shaped fort. Now managed by the OPW, the fort has been restored and has terrific tours. Built with the intention of being attacked by sea, the fort would have been impregnable; unfortunately it did not fare well with land attacks and has a 100% failure rate.
Arrive at Charles Fort by car, or enjoy a scenic walk along the coastal path from the boatyard.
James Fort is on the opposite headland. Classed as an ‘amenity park', the ruin is accessible and can be reached by car or path from the village. Off season you may need to ask at The Dock Bar for a key to the door.
The Lusitania Museum located at The Old Head Signal Tower is worth visiting. You'll find a charming café and walks with stunning views.
If you enjoy shops there are dozens of boutiques, as well as loads of little coffee shops, and a hearty pub culture.
Learn more about Kinsale on one of the guided walks. (We recommend Don & Barry's Historic Stroll– so entertaining and terrific for families!) Or add to your adventure on the Kinsale Ghost Tour – a ‘Monty Python-esque tour loosely based on the town's history'.
Kinsale is known as the ‘Gourmet Capital of Ireland'
You will find dozens of delicious, highly acclaimed, restaurants in this small village.
Try The Supper Club for craft cocktails, Crew for an excellent wine menu, Fishy Fishy is renown for seafood and Finn's Table for an upscale Irish menu.
Or enjoy takeaway by the water. I recommend Dino's Fish & Chips.
Where to stay in Kinsale, Ireland
Using Kinsale as a Base for Exploring South-East Ireland
Kinsale is a terrific base for exploring County Cork.
Enjoy villages like Clonakilty and Skibbereen, or take a trip to Cobh or even Blarney Castle.
Venture to Castletownshend for a whale watching tour.
3 Places to visit from Kinsale, Ireland
Spend an afternoon in Cork City. Be sure to visit the English Market, Cork City Gaol, ring the Shandon Bells, and wander the city crossing the river multiple times.
Explore Cobh. Take a ferry to Spike Island, the visit Cobh Heritage Centre for emigration and Titanic history.
You can't come to Kinsale and not golf. The Old Head is known as ‘Pebble Beach on steroids'; plan a full day.
Head to West Cork. Enjoy the small villages and coastal walks (one of our absolute favorites is Sheeps Head Peninsula).
Clodagh's Top Ireland Travel Tip
Don't over-plan! Think quality over quantity. Use these tips for planning an itinerary that doesn't ruin your vacation.
3 Places to Add to Your Ireland Itinerary
Go off the beaten track.
Blasket Mor (Great Blasket Island). Begin at Great Blasket Centre on the Dingle Peninsula.
The Skellig Islands. Remember a visit here is weather dependent – and not safe for everyone.
The Gearagh near Macroom – a submerged glacial woodland.
Follow her and connect on Instagram at Clodagh's Travel Tales