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Desmond castle was built around 1500 by, wouldn't you know it, the Earl of Desmond, originally as a Custom house. The castle has also served as a prison and suffered a fire in 1747, killing 50-odd prisoners. Also used as an arsenal by the Spanish prior to the "Battle of Kinsale" and as a workhouse for the ultra-poor during the Great Famine years. Declared a National Monument in 1938 and restored, it now houses an International Wine Museum since 1997.
Entrance is 3€ for an adult, with some reductions for seniors, students and children.
Written Oct 15, 2012
Address: Cork street, Kinsale, Co. Cork.
Phone: 021 477 4855
I recently visited the very historic and extremely attractive town of Kinsale where my family had a wonderful few days holiday. One of the best attractions for great value was Dermot Ryan's Heritage Town Walks. This walking tour was the highlight of our visit to Kinsale and one of the highlights of our 2010 summer holidays. Held twice daily from outside the Town's Tourist Office, Dermot is a local and expert in local history who gives a highly individual and personal take on the history of the town in a manner which is miles away from the usual tour guide tour given by people with little or no contact with the location. Very informative and very enjoyable for a mixed group of adults, teenagers and children - extrenely good value at €5 per adult and children free. He even went out of his way to give us some tips on tracing our ancestors from Cork as well as advice and help for sights in the area and even local restaurants. Outstanding attraction in this outstanding town - well done and an A++
Updated Sep 29, 2010
Address: Kinsale Tourist Office
Phone: 086 8267656
A lovely historic walk together with Harry (or Don), telling all about the harbour of Kinsale, how the town grow bigger.
"Soft days" - Umbrella a ' plenty!
"Desperate days" - Tea/Scone
It's featured as well in the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to Ireland
Written Jul 23, 2010
Address: Outside the Tourist office
One of the things to do besides eat in Kinsale is visit Desmond Castle. The castle is referred to locally as the 'French Prison' due to a fire in 1747 when 54 prisoners, mostly French seamen, died. It was built by the Earl of Desmond in AD 1500, occupied by the Spanish in 1601 and was used as a prison for the captured American sailors during the American War of Independence. Desmond Castle was also used as a county jail (from 1791-1845), and when the Great Potato Famine broke out it was used as a workhouse to shelter the starving people. It's solid structure and interesting architecture make it well worth a visit.
Today the castle is home to the International Museum of Wine. The museum is also home to the Order of the Winegeese, which has members around the world linked through newsletters, visits, events in Kinsale and this website.
Updated Aug 12, 2007
Address: Cork Street
Built in the 1590's, this building first served as a market house until, around 1706, it became the seat of the mayor and chief justice of Kinsale. It was here that the Kinsale Town Corporation and Sovereign conducted their affairs.
On May 10th 1915 the Courthouse was the venue of the inquest into the loss of the Cunard liner Lusitania, sunk by a German U-boat. Captain Turner gave evidence before a jury of twelve shopkeepers and fishermen. The sinking of the Lusitania was the turning point which brought America into WWI.
Nowadays, the building houses the Regional Museum, which, among other things, displays memorabilia from the Lusitania. Its other exhibits present the town's history, including the Battle of Kinsale.
If you go there with children, they will be thrilled to see the giant shoes of the Kinsale Giant, Patrick Cotter O'Brien (1760-1806), who at 2.5 m was the tallest man in the world at the time. Not that it made him happy. Discovered by a local showman, he toured Ireland and England for nearly 25 years with a 'freak of nature' show. As a 'surprise guest' he was not supposed to appear in public by day so he spent the time in his cramped lodgings, which in the end affected his health. When he tried to get out by night, the local people fled from him in fear. He spent the last years of his life in Bristol, where he is known as the 'Bristol Giant'.
The Museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Updated Aug 7, 2007
Address: Market Square, Kinsale
Kinsale Arts Week is a multi-disciplinary Arts Festival. Each year it brings the best of local, national and international talent to Kinsale. For nine days in July the town is electrified by performance, exhibition and installation.
Visit the website for more information:
Written Jan 24, 2007
This old courthouse/markethouse, now turned regional museum is bang smack in the centre of town. Its display of traditional craft items and artifacts associated with ships and the sea isn't exactly riveting. Upstairs however, in the panelled courtroom, things liven up a bit. Here in this courtroom on the 10th of may 1915 Captain Turner, whose Lusitania had sunk off the Old Head of Kinsale, was called to account. Transcripts of this and other less important trials are available to read. For opening hours of this museum you need to check with the Tourist Office.
Updated Jul 27, 2006
Address: Just off Market Square
Eventually this woodland track peters out onto a road and here with an elegant terrace of georgian houses, the town becomes closer. There's a great vista of the ships and marina here, quite different to the aspect you see from the Pier Road. The Spinnaker Pub is the next source of interest, with its nautical knickknaks and over the top decorative style. As the Spinnaker doesn't open until 5.30 we can only look from the outside and continue uphill to the Spaniard for lunch. The Spaniard is one of Kinsale's best known and best loved landmarks and I will describe it in detail in the restaurant tips section
Written Jul 27, 2006
Address: On the Scilly Walk
Just spend an afternoon walking through town. The people are so friendly, and the buildings are so interesting. It has a quaint, peaceful atmosphere I never thought I'd really find. Be sure to pick up an icecream with a flake!
Spend time on the beaches! But be sure to bring plastic bags: you'll be sure to find shells or sea-glass you can't go home without!
I can't exactly recommend Charles Fort itself, because I never went in. The general area around it is very nice, though.
Written Jun 29, 2006
The old court house is now Kinsales museum which as a interesting toll board listing the local taxes in 1788 (the best I thought was no tax to be paid if coal was carried on the backs of children or women)
The court house has a Dutch look about its construction ,it was here in 1915 that the inquest ito the sinking of the Lusitania was held and as a memorial to the poeple that died at the end of the inquest the room was left just as it was in 1915
Updated Apr 21, 2006
Address: MARKET STREET
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