Things to Do in Kinsale

We are often asked for recommendations on places to visit, things to do and what to eat when visiting Kinsale. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Day Tour

The first thing you can do when you reach Kinsale is take a wander around our historical colourful streets. They hold many long-forgotten stories which have influenced the history of our town and country. Guided walks with Dermot Ryan of  Kinsale Heritage Walks is one of the best ways to explore Kinsale and learn about its history and colourful characters.

After a stroll through the streets, you are probably hungry. Kinsale has numerous delightful cafes for all tastes tucked away in the side streets, or around the square. Don’t completely stuff yourself though because you’ll need a little space for your next stop.

Take a tour of the Kinsale Meadery! One of the top things to do in Kinsale. Spend an hour on an entertaining, fun experience on our tour learning all about Mead, including how it’s made, the entire fermentation process, and the myths and legends of Mead and the bees of Ireland through the ages. It finishes with a wonderful tasting session of their award-winning meads and maybe a mead cocktail. Make sure to call in advance to book a tour.

Weekend in Kinsale - Day 1

Rent a bike from Ruth at Wild Atlantic Sports so you can truly immerse yourself in our dramatic coastline with electric bikes and standard bikes available. Take the popular guided half day tour, the Wild Coast Tour and go off the beaten track from the Old Head of Kinsale. Either way, enjoy zooming up the hills on an e-bike and all the fun of a downhill! Bring yourself a packed lunch. There are plenty of places to pick up a picnic.

Kinsale has restaurants at almost every corner using delicious local ingredients. When the sun goes down, it’s the perfect way to relax after a day of sightseeing and touring. One of our favourites is Max’s Kinsale, run by Anne Marie & Olivier since 1999 and serving up many creative and tasty dishes. We recently collaborated with Olivier on a Skeaghanore roast duck with pearl barley risotto, Wild Red mead and blackberry sauce and paired with our Wild Red Mead.

Weekend in Kinsale - Day 2

Take a trip out to the stunning Old Head of Kinsale. Stroll along the stunning cliffs to watch the birds swoop by or for a bit of history pop into the Lusitania Museum at the Signal Tower.

Once you come back and had a bite of lunch, the highlight of your weekend is here: Your tour of Kinsale Meadery! Spend an hour on an entertaining, fun experience on our tour learning all about Mead, including how it’s made, the entire fermentation process, and the myths and legends of Mead and the bees of Ireland through the ages. It includes a wonderful tasting session at the end for their award-winning mead and assortment of mead cocktails. Make sure to call in advance to book a tour.

Stay a Little Longer

Stay a little longer in Kinsale after your meadery tour and walk or take a short drive to Charles Fort, a stunning star-shaped fort built on a stronghold known as Ringcurran Castle that featured prominently during the 1601 Battle of Kinsale. Stroll to the fort along the Scilly Walk from by the Spaniard Pub or walk the high road & enjoy spectacular views over the bay. Choose from The Bulman and The Spaniard for food and refreshments along the way.

Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a journey of a lifetime. A 2,500km of breathtaking coastal roads snaking up the west coast of Ireland with spectacular discovery points to detour to.

Starting in in the beautiful harbour town of Kinsale in West Cork, the gateway to the Wild Atlantic way. After your meadery tour, head west to the tip of Cork then North up to the northern reaches of Donegal, travelling the coastline, experiencing the full breadth of Irish culture, epic views, delightful towns and villages and Celtic scenery before finishing the journey in incredible Donegal.

For more information and inspiration, click the link.

Kinsale History

The town’s charter was granted in 1333 by King Edward III of England. Sitting in a strategic location between Europe and North America, it was an important fishing, military and shipping centre. In 1601, the last of the Spanish Armadas launched against Britain landed in Kinsale to join the Irish rebel forces under the princes, Hugh O’Neill and Hugh O’Donnell. The ensuing Battle of Kinsale resulted in the defeat of the Irish and Spanish armies.

Following this, the Flight of the Earls occurred in which a number of the native Irish lords abandoned their lands and fled to mainland Europe. In 1649 during the English Civil War and era of Oliver Cromwell, Prince Rupert declared Charles II king at St Multose Church in Kinsale.  King James II landed at Kinsale in 1689 as part of his campaign to regain power in Britain. Charles Fort was captured after a 13 day siege in 1690 by the Williamite English forces during the Jacobite-Williamite War in Ireland.

On 7 May 1915 during the first World War, the British Ocean Liner RMS Lusitania on a voyage from New York was sunk by a German submarine just 11 miles off the coast of Kinsale. Memorials to the event are dotted along the West Cork coastline including in Kinsale and at the Old Head.

There a cute little museum in town you can visit to learn more.