New stop on our tour: Kinsale
This year we are proud to have Kinsale as one of our overnight stops on our small group tours of Ireland. Kinsale is located about 25 kilometers from Cork and it’s originally an old fishing port. It takes its name from the Irish, Ceann tSaile – ‘Head of the Sea and is one of the nicest, most picturesque towns of Ireland.
Our tours are busy but there is always plenty of free time to explore this little town. Your guide will give you plenty of guidance, but just in case you want to prepare yourself before you arrive on our tour, please find below some tips on what to expect and what to do.
The first thing we recommend is just to have a wander around this gorgeous town, explore all the tiny winding streets, check out all the shops and get a bearing on the town. You will discover plenty of colourful, traditional buildings that are still in as great condition as the day they were built!
Desmond Castle and Wine Museum
This castle is typical Irish tower house, built by the Earl of Desmond in the 16th century. It has had many functions over the years, from a customs house to a prison and an ordnance store to a Workhouse. Currently, it’s a museum telling the story of the wine geese and it’s a perfect all-weather activity with free entry, which is always a great bonus!
Visit Charles Fort
This 17th century star-shaped fort is well worth a visit and is one of the most visited attractions in Kinsale. The fort has 5 enormous bastions, two overlooking the estuary and three facing Inland. In the middle, there are multiple barracks and facilities to support the fort’s garrison. It was used until 1922 and is associated with some of the most remarkable events in Irish history.
St. Multose Church
This church dates back to 1190 and has remained in use to this day. There are plenty of interesting features about this church in the heart of Kinsale. There is a wooden Code of Arms, an inscription by fisherman’s wives to bring their husbands home safe from sea and many other things to explore. This activity is right smack bang in the middle of Kinsale and is free, but you can always leave a donation.
Eating and drinking
Kinsale is considered a foodie’s town and we definitely agree. The number of great eateries is amazing and there is something for all tastes and budgets. In the morning, many of us are on the lookout for a good cup of coffee. Our tour guides always need a caffeine fix in the morning and the one spot they all recommend for a nice ‘cuppa’ is Cucina on Market Street.
For lunch, we would recommend a bowl of thick chowder from Fishy Fishy. This world-famous restaurant is always busy and is right on the main Main Street in Kinsale. It’s an award-winning restaurant run by husband and wife Martin and Marie Shanahan. Chef Martin knows his fish and before opening this restaurant, he had a seafood shop in the heart of Kinsale.
The Black Pig is another favorite. Not only do our guests adore the place, but it’s also a hangout for the many tour guides that stay overnight in Kinsale. The location is perfect! It is an 18th century coach house and on a sunny day, they have a great cobblestone back garden. They serve excellent artisan food which has been locally sourced and with 50 wines to choose from, you won’t go thirsty!
For the carnivores out there, we would recommend the Steak House. We all know The Wild Atlantic Way is famous for its seafood, but we cannot forget our beef. We love Ireland because of all the shades of green. Our fields are lush and the cows have plenty to graze on, so we are famous for having some of the best beef in the world. This restaurant cooks your steak to perfection in a great ambiance.
After a day of adventure, most of our guests are eager to get a taste of our great Irish pub life. Our guides will only stay for one, but we would recommend the following pubs.
The Spaniard pub is on the hill overlooking the harbour. The pub was named after Don Juan d`Aquila who took part in the battle of Kinsale in the 16th century. This great watering hole also serves one of the best chowders around. Especially at the weekend, Kinsale town can be a little hectic and busy and this is one of the few places where you can escape the madness and enjoy a good pint of the black stuff!
The Greyhound is a 400-year-old pub full of character and is adored locally. It’s not as touristy as many of the other places, which is great for getting a proper feel for an Irish pub and they have some of the best Guinness out there. The music great too and it’s a dog friendly place. They often have a turf fire going which is great to heat you up when the Irish weather gets the better of you! It’s situated behind The White House Hotel. It’s unique, old and gritty.
Another great little hide out is the Silent Banjo. They serve a mean pint of Guinness and the owner, Francis, is always up for a bit of banter and a good chat. We’ve had a number of nights here with great atmosphere and live music.
There is so much more to do and see in Kinsale, but these are just a few things that we would recommend. Your guide will have personal preferences and will always be happy to advise what is best for you. If you want to know more about Kinsale or about our tours, just give our team a shout email, chat or simply by phone. Our website has also plenty more information on offer about Overland Tours and the destinations we visit. Hope to see you soon!
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