Kinsale On a BudgetNear the River Bandon you'll find the small town of Kinsale, also known as Cionn tSaile. It sits comfortably in the hills that separate it from the nearby ocean. It's a quaint town that is also a historic port. Today is remains popular as a travel destination for sailors and travelers.
The town has two forts that protected it from invasion and served as the site for one of the most important battles in Irish history, in 1601. During this battle the Irish army arrived from the north to defend the town from an English siege. At the time the town was occupied by the Spanish. The Irish lost the battle and this was the defeat that led to the end of the ancient Gaelic aristocracy in Ireland.
Today the town is not only a charming place to visit, but also a great place to enjoy seafood, particularly during the yearly festival.
The climate in Kinsale is similar to that of nearby Cork. Average highs during the summer months are around 19 degrees Celsius and lows are about 12 degrees Celsius. During the winter months average highs are around 9 degrees Celsius and lows stay just above freezing at 3 degrees Celsius. Rain is generally consistent throughout the year, although you can expect slightly more precipitation during the winter months.
SightsThere are a variety of historic sights around Kinsale. Charles Fort was constructed in the 17th century in the shape of a star. It is well preserved and there are 45 minute tours that leave every hour. It is located a half mile south of the town. James Fort is an older and less maintained fort on Pier Road. It is two miles south of town. Desmond Castle, built in the 1500's by the Earl of Desmond, is a well-preserved tower house. Also swing into the Kinsale Regional Museum, which is small but offers a fascinating look at maritime history in the area.
NeighborhoodsKinsale is relatively small and easy to explore. There are also some interesting places just outside of town. Popular beaches in the area include Garretstown and Garrylucas, which are about 8 kilometers away. Another charming town is Cobh, although it doesn't have quite the same character as Kinsale. Also, less than an hour away is the famous castle at Blarney.
ActivitiesIf you've seen all the sights around town, then consider taking a sailing trip. This is a popular past time in this area. It's also fun to go whale and dolphin watching which can be a very memorable experience. It's possible to go out on either full or half day trips. Another way to get an interesting take on Kinsale history is to take the ghost tour, which incorporates the area's history with a little bit of fun. There is also a historic tour of Old Kinsale that leaves every day at 11:15 from the tourist office. The tourist information office is found near the main bus stop at the head of the harbor. There you can also pick up free maps and brochures and have any questions that you might have answered.
Food and DiningThere are restaurants for every price range in Kinsale. Definitely don't pass up the opportunity to try the area's seafood however, which the town is most famous for. If you're headed to a nicer restaurant, consider making reservations, particularly if you're in town during the peak season and want to eat at a reasonable time. Some recommended restaurants include Jim Edward's Steak & Seafood, Fishy Fishy Cafe, and The Little Skillet.
If you want to grab a beer, then there are plenty of pubs near the center of town. Popular ones include An Seanachai on Main Street, the Tap Tavern, Bulman Bar, and Spaniard Inn.
TransportationThe best prices for buses and trains in Ireland can be found on Omio (formerly GoEuro). They let you search across all train, bus, and plane routes throughout Europe.
If you're arriving at the Cork Airport, it is relatively easy to travel from there to Kinsale without a rental car. You can hire a taxi for a reasonable price from the queue outside the front entrance to the terminal. The drive is about half an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus from either Cork City Center or the airport. Bus Eireann operates the service and it is usually reliable and efficient. There is also a bus service that is run by East Cork Rural Transport, that provides transportation between Kinsale and Bandon.
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