Fun things to do in Kinsale

  • Colourful restaurant
    Colourful restaurant
    by evaanna
  • Rocky coast of the Old Head of Kinsale
    Rocky coast of the Old Head of Kinsale
    by evaanna
  • Chairman's Lane from the top end.
    Chairman's Lane from the top end.
    by pfsmalo

Most Viewed Things to Do in Kinsale

  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Desmond castle. Cork street.

    by pfsmalo Written Oct 15, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Desmond castle on Cork street. The Desmond coat of arms over the entrance.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dermot Ryan's Heritage Town Walks - A++

    by Traveller66 Updated Sep 29, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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++

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • arkadia's Profile Photo

    HISTRORIC STROLL IN OLD KINSALE

    by arkadia Written Jul 23, 2010

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Outsde the tourist office At the Kinsale port Harry a wonderful story/history teller
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Seniors
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • TRimer's Profile Photo

    Desmond Castle

    by TRimer Updated Aug 12, 2007

    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.

    Desmond Castle
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • evaanna's Profile Photo

    The Old Courthouse and Regional Museum

    by evaanna Updated Aug 7, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Market Square, Regional Museum on the left The Old Courthouse's weather vane
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ClaireMc's Profile Photo

    Kinsale Arts Week 2007 - 7th to 15th July

    by ClaireMc Written Jan 24, 2007

    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:

    www.kinsaleartsweek.com

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo

    The Courthouse/Regional Museum.

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Jul 27, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo

    End of the Track - The Spinnaker

    by Ekaterinburg Written Jul 27, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Browse Kinsale

    by sillyfred Written Jun 29, 2006

    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.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • OLD COURT HOUSE

    by stemc Updated Apr 21, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • OLD KINSALE

    by stemc Written Apr 19, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Strolls around the old narrow streets of Kinsale were the smells of the cooking wafts out of the pastel painted buildings. There are interesting antiques shops for you to window shop in, local craft shops and art galleries make this the most prettiest looking village in Ireland

    Was this review helpful?

  • DESMONDS CASTLE

    by stemc Updated Apr 19, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Desmonds Castle is were you will find the wine museum ,it is not quite a castle but a 15th century fortified house with a main keep and store houses behind .
    The place as a colourful past as a prison holding French, Spanish and American war of indepenece prisoners during the numerous wars in the 17th and 18th centuries and became known as the French prison.
    Desmonds Castle was built as Kinsales customs house by the 14th century Kinsale had become a busy port with wine being imported from France and Spain then shipped to England via Bristol the Desmonds earned great wealth till they fell out with the English queen Elizabeth I who had all their lands confiscated.
    In 1601 Spanish forces occupied Kinsale in support of the rebellion against the crown and during the siege Desmond?s castle became the gunpowder magazine.
    By 1791 the castle became Kinsale goal till 1846 then during the potato famine began life as the local work house; the castle was in ruins by 1905 and was place as a national monument in 1938.
    Today you will find little scenes that took place in the castle during its history .Also a history of Irish families that left Kinsale and the surrounding areas after the rebellion failed and went in to exile and set up wine growing and exporting industries some that are still going today

    DESMONDS CASTLE FRENCH NAPOLEAONIC PRISONERS WHERE IRISH FAMILIES HAVE WINE INTERESTS AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE PRISONERS
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • clws's Profile Photo

    Stroll The Streets Of Beautiful Kinsale

    by clws Written Sep 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Kinsale is considered the most picturesque harbor town in Ireland. The streets are full of color, flowers, and friendly people. No matter what time of day it is, early morning, mid afternoon, or late evening, you will feel comfortable strolling thru its beautiful streets. I never tire of doing this and every time I go there I take walks through there a few times a day.

    Streets of Kinsale Streets Of Kinsale Streets of Kinsale Streets of Kinsale Streets of Kinsale
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • clws's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the Scilly Walk

    by clws Written Sep 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Scilly Walk is a path along the sea that runs from Scilly, the community across the harbor from Kinsale, all the way to Charles Fort. If you continue to walk south along the sea from Charles Fort, you'll find another path that follows the headland to the tip of Frower Point, which offers great views across the harbor to the Old Head of Kinsale. The complete walk from Kinsale to Frower Point is 8km (5 miles) each way, and every part of it is quite rewarding. You will see awesome views of the town, harbor, sea, and Old Head. I have gotten some of my favorite pictures along this walk.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • clws's Profile Photo

    Visit A Castle

    by clws Written Sep 13, 2005

    Desmond Castle has throughout the years been used for various purposes. It was build around 1500 and was first the home of the Earl of Desmond. Later it was a jail and earned the nickname "The French Prison" as the result of a fire in 1747 when almost 54 mostly French prisoners were killed. It has also served as a workhouse during the Great Famine. Today, the castle is and International Museum of Wine and is open to the public. Tours cost 2.5 Euro.

    Desmond Castle Desmond Castle Desmond Castle Desmond Castle Desmond Castle
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

Kinsale Hotels

See all 22 Hotels in Kinsale
  • Actons Hotel

    I stayed here this past weekend and it was a great experience. The hotel is just across the room...

    more
  • Blue Haven Hotel

    Completely refurbished in 2004, each room is individually furnished with exquisite furniture, the...

    more
  • Trident Hotel

    All of the hotels in Kinsale are older hotels. We have stayed at the Trident 3 times now, including...

    more

Latest Kinsale Hotel Reviews

Actons Hotel
267 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Old Bank House
198 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 24, 2014
Carlton Hotel Kinsale
314 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Pier House Bed and Breakfast
147 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 28, 2014
Trident Hotel
485 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 7, 2014
The Old Presbytery
428 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 4, 2014
Rivermount House B&B
312 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 1, 2014
Sovereign House
2 Reviews & Opinions
Harbour Lodge
44 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 29, 2010
The Olde Bakery
162 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 25, 2014
Guardwell Lodge
9 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 21, 2008
Blue Haven Hotel
325 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 30, 2014
Desmond House Kinsale
282 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 17, 2014

Instant Answers: Kinsale

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

104 travelers online now

Comments

Kinsale Things to Do

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Kinsale locals.
Map of Kinsale