Explore Kinsale - A Picturesque and Fashionable Town

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Whatever the weather… and whatever your budget, you'll never be stuck for something fun & interesting to do in Kinsale. There is a wealth of leisure activities available in Kinsale and around West Cork: Golf, horse-riding, sea-angling, clay-bird shooting and a maze of coastal paths all within easy distance of Kinsale town. 


Food & Wine: 

Desmond Castle International Museum of Wine

Kinsale's International Museum of Wine tells the romantic story of the Irish emigrants who colonised the wine trade throughout the world after being forced to leave their own shores. The museum is located in Desmond Castle, a 15th century Customs House which belonged to the Fitzgerald family.

Kinsale was a designated Wine Port and supplied ships for the Vintage Fleet (forerunner of the British Navy) as far back as 1412. In that year the Vintage Fleet of some 160 vessels plying from Bordeaux included five Irish owned vessels - three of which were from Kinsale and two from Dublin. For more information see the Winegeese website.

In the 17th century Desmond Castle was turned into a prison - its inmates were mainly French and captured at sea so the castle was popularly known as the "French prison". Conditions were grim with overcrowding, lack of food, cold and disease. In 1747 there was a disastrous fire in the prison in which fifty four prisoners perished.

During the American War of Independence the crews of many American vessels were held prisoner in Kinsale in poor conditions. The Rev. William Hazlett, a Presbyterian minister from nearby Bandon, and Reuben Harvey, a Quaker merchant in Cork, worked to improve conditions and in 1783 George Washington thanked Harvey for "his exertions in relieving the distresses of such of our fellow citizens as were prisoners in Ireland".

Desmond Castle now belongs to the Irish State, and is being leased by the Office of Public Works to Kinsale Chamber of Tourism, for the development of The International Museum of Wine.

Gourmet Capital of Ireland

Gourmet Capital, Culinary Centre are just two of the titles attributed to Kinsale. The town is certainly famous for its variety of eateries, which have sprung up in recent years, as a result of the enterprise of a few in the '60's and the following close camaraderie of Kinsale's Fine Food Restaurateurs. 



Kinsale Equestrian Centre

Boasting one of the largest indoor arenas in Ireland, Kinsale Equestrian Centre consists of a riding school and livery yard. The riding school caters for all levels from beginner to novice to intermediate through to advanced level and for both children and adults.  Private and group lessons are offered..

Coolcorron Stud Farm & Equestrian Centre

Coolcorron Stud Farm and Training Centre is built on the site of an old mill near the village of Belgooly.  The centre’s modern amenities meld delightfully and distinctively with many of the original features of its historic and picturesque setting to create a calming atmosphere that is conducive to bringing out the very best in both horses and riders.

Follyfoot Riding Farm

Follyfoot Riding Farm is just a 10 minute drive from Kinsale,near Riverstick Co. Cork.


Golf Courses:

Play some of the finest Golf Courses in the world including the renowned Old Head Golf Links, just 20 minute's drive away. Kinsale Golf Club is just down the road, while as a further 10 high quality golf courses can be enjoyed within 40 minutes drive including: 

Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club

The Old Head of Kinsale is home to a World-Class Golf Course and Luxury Members' Accommodation located in County Cork on the Southwest Coast of Ireland. The Club has developed into one of the most recognised and sought after golf experiences anywhere on earth and is a sanctuary for those seeking the finest in personalised service.

The course is built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The links and practice area occupy 180 acres and the remaining 40 acres of unspoilt cliff (rising in places to over 300 feet) frame the course.

Kinsale Golf Club 

This is a challenging 6043 metre 18 hole course beautifully situated, in the meadowlands of the Bandon River valley, just two miles north of Kinsale. The landscape has been utilised to its maximum and the planting of a large number of hardwood trees will in time add to its playing strategy. 


Water Activities:

Kinsale Yacht Charter's 

Kinsale Yacht Charter's mission is to provide a unique experience in luxury yacht cruising for visitors seeking an experience that will exceed all expectations. KYC proudly presents a range of prestige motor and sailing yachts equipped to the highest international standards, perfect for both 'old salts' and the novice seeking a totally new and exciting experience. 

Kinsale Harbour Cruises

Enjoy a spectacular tour of Kinsale harbour. The Kinsale Harbour Cruise will give you a very different view of Kinsale and it's beautiful natural harbour.

Outdoor Activities:

Oysterhaven Holiday and Activity Centre

The centre is nestled in the delightful bay of Oysterhaven, surrounded by rolling pasture and woodland. Located just 8 Km's from Kinsale and approx 35 minutes from Cork City, Oysterhaven is a water-sport's haven. What started out 30 years ago as a wind-surfing base has grown and evolved to encompass a far greater choice of options catering to all needs and capabilities. If you love the water, you will definitely find something here that you will enjoy. Some of the activities available include;

  • Some of best kayaking in Cork,
  • SUP - Stand Up Paddle-boarding,
  • Dinghy Sailing from children to adults,
  • Some of the best Windsurfing in Ireland,
  • Yacht charters (69ft Schooner)


Other activities include: 

  • Ghost Tours
  • Historical Town Tours
  • Outdoor Education/Adventure Centre
  • Pottery Workshops

Historical Attractions

Charles Fort 

Charles Fort is a classic example of a late 17th century star-shaped fort. William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin, and Superintendent of Fortifications, is credited with designing the fort. As one of the largest military installations in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history.

The most significant of these are the Williamite War 1689-91 and the Civil War 1922-23. Charles Fort was declared a National Monument in 1973. Across the estuary is James Fort designed by Paul Ivy in 1602.

St. Multose

Built in 1190, St. Multose still retains many of its original features. The black letter inscriptions in Norman French, the Easter sepulchre, the baptismal font and the reredos from the Galway Chapel are all features of note.

Also worth seeing are the town stocks and a wooden coat of arms. Here Charles II was proclaimed as King by Prince Rupert. St. Multose is one of the oldest Church of Ireland churches in the country.

The Courthouse

The Courthouse building, located in the Market Square, was built in 1600. Additions in 1706 included the frontage with the loggia on the ground floor. The Kinsale Town Corporation and its Sovereign conducted their affairs upstairs. There is a Museum within the Courthouse with a display of the Kinsale Giant who was believed to have been over 8 feet tall. The Courthouse was used in May 1915 for the inquest into the loss of the liner Lusitania, off the Old Head of Kinsale.




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