One of the most beautiful places I discovered on my trip to Ireland this year was Kinsale. A small, colorful town on the South-Eastern coast of Ireland, Kinsale will definitely catch your eye and melt your heart. Only a few kilometers away from Kinsale, another surprise awaits – Charles Fort.

Where is Kinsale Ireland and how to get there

Kinsale is a small town about 25km south of Cork City in Ireland. You can start your drive on the famous Wind Atlantic Way from Kinsale.

The Wild Atlantic Way is a scenic 2500 km coastal route leading all the way to Inishowen, in the northern part of the island.

The drive from Cork to Kinsale takes about 40 minutes. Alternatively, you can take bus 226 from Cork city. However, if you’re coming from Dublin, the distance is about 300 km, and it will take you 3 to 3,5 hours to get to Kinsale.

A colorful corner in Kinsale, Ireland.
Remember me saying it’s a colorful little town? I meant it!

A walk through Kinsale

Kinsale is a lovely town to visit. It has it all: houses are brightly colored, a beautiful waterfront, and interesting little shops everywhere. There is a large, free parking lot in the center of the town, a tourist info center, and facilities as well.

First of all, I recommend walking into the tourist center. Grab a map and one of the free brochures about the Kinsale area and also about other places to visit in Ireland.

You don’t need a list of things to do in Kinsale, but I guarantee you won’t get bored too soon. Just take it slowly. Start with a walk through the village’s colorful streets. Stop from time to time to visit one of the boutique shops catching your eye. Also, take a break for a coffee or a snack on a sunny terrace.

Speaking of snacks, don’t miss this turquoise shop above, Koko chocolate. Salted caramel pralines are my favorite, but I’m open to other suggestions as well! There’s no shortage of beautiful little shops, each selling some unique stuff. Also, did you watch that TV show – Black Sails? That artwork piece on the stairs is a tribute to Anne Bonny, a pirate from the show. It seems she was born right here in Kinsale, Ireland.

Depending on the hour, you should stop for a coffee, lunch, or Guinness in one of the Kinsale pubs. Then, it’s time for a different walk, the Scilly Walk. This scenic walk starts at The Spaniard Pub, and you can make it a loop if you get back on the High Route. You will need about 1,5 hours to cover the 6 km there and back. Better yet, extend your walk to visiting Charles Fort.

Charles Fort

Charles Fort is only a few kilometers away from Kinsale. You can walk there on the scenic Scilly Walk or drive from Kinsale. You will find free parking on the side of the road just before the entrance. From the parking space, the views towards Kinsale and the harbor are just beautiful.

The fort dates from 1677 and has seen a lot of action until 1922 when it burned during the Irish civil war. It has a star-shaped wall, and it stands right by the sea, guarding the entrance to the harbor.

In 2021 Charles Fort is free to visit, but before the pandemic, a ticket used to cost 5€.

Opening hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM during the summer and 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM from November to March.

It takes less than an hour to visit the whole area, but you might want to spend some extra time to have a snack or a drink in the coffee shop here. On a sunny day, you will take some great photos too. Between the old walls, the typical Irish green, and the sea, the possibilities are endless.

Where to stay to visit Kinsale, Ireland

If you want to spend more than a few hours exploring the area, I have two great accommodation options:

–Actons Hotel – a cozy hotel right by Kinsale Harbor

–Trident Hotel – beautiful, spacious rooms on the waterfront

However, if you’re coming from Cork city for the day, don’t forget to read my post about The Montenotte Hotel in Cork.

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