Desmond castle is a short walk uphill from St Multose Church. This 15th century Custom and Town House has had a chequered histor to say the least. It has served as a Customs house, an Arsenal for Don Juan D'Aguila and his Spanish troops during the 1601 battle, a prison for French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars and for American prisoners during the American War of Independence; a relief centre during the famine, and now finally as an International Wine museum. An impressive building with many stories to tell. Don't miss it.
Desmond Castle is open from 10 am -6.00 pm every day from April to October. At other times checkwith the tourist office.
Desmond Castle was built around 1500 by Maurice Bacach Fitzgerald, Earl of Desmond. A hundred years later it was used as an arsenal by Don Juan Aguilla during the Spanish occupation of the town which lasted for 100 days before the Battle of Kinsale.
In the 17th century the castle became known as the 'French prison' as it was here and in the huts nearby that prisoners of war, mainly Frenchmen captured at sea, were kept, often in squalid conditions. 54 of the prisoners died in a fire in 1747. During the American War of Independence, the castle was used as a prison for captured American sailors. Then it served as a borough jail until the Great Famine when it was used as a workhouse tending to the starving people.
Nowadays the castle houses the International Museum of Wine, which is not surprising considering that Kinsale was appointed Wine Port and had its ships in the Vintage Fleet as early as 1412. You will be disappointed to hear that a visit there does not involve sampling wine, their exhibition just shows Kinsale's long links with the wine trade.
PS. If you feel very thirsty, you could pop in to the excellent Ceramic Restaurant and Wine Bar nearby.
Dating from around 1500 the castle was built as a custom house by the Earl of Desmond, since when it has had a rather colourful history, being used as a prison and the borough jail.it was known as the French prison as most inmates were French captured at sea. In 1747 there was a desaterous fire which killed 54 of the prisoners
Unfortunately I didnt get to see it, but I would have! There were signs for it all over the town, so it's readily accessible. Time constraints and the fact that I was driving deprived me of the opportunity to check it out, alas!