Ireland has plenty of famous sites and enough charm to lull you into a trance-like-state: visiting quaint towns, sipping Guinness, staring out at the green land and feeling the wind blow and swirl along the coast, then repeating. I could spend weeks, maybe months, endlessly getting lost along the southern coast of Ireland.
The guidebooks don’t make it any easier, as they make a lot of noise about the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry, and many other top sites. But if I were sitting across from you at a local bar, whispering the secrets of my time in Ireland and recounting the lovely trip I’ve just returned from, I’d lean in real close, look from side to side to be sure no one was eavesdropping, and I’d share this: there is a historic town you must visit, due South from Cork, and it’s name is Kinsale!
Not only that, I’d brush away some hanging cob-webs and raise the lantern close so you could see my face and implore you to pull out a pad and pen (Ok fine type it on your darn iPhone! You are ruining the image I’m painting here!) ………….
Where was I? Yes, Yes, jot down a few secrets for visiting Kinsale and then I’ll tell you what you can not miss.
#1 If you are driving from Cork take a secret scenic route – navigate your way to approach Fort Charles from the East. You will drive on a one-lane road, you won’t see many cars, you will feel like you’re driving up to someone’s house, and then, like magic you clear through the trees and can see Fort Charles in the distance. It’s amazing!
#2 You can park at Fort Charles! Don’t forget that. Also the town, the center of Kinsale, and the boat harbor, are all a good 30 – 45 minute hike from the Fort. Don’t walk that. First park at the Fort, hike around, appreciate it, take it all in, then drive your car into town for lunch.
#3 Make a reservation at Fishy Fishy in advance. Go for lunch. It’s the best seafood in town and everyone knows it. After lunch stroll the few streets in the center of town – you’ll find little areas of sitting, a book store, and a few shops.
#4 Get an afternoon drink outside at Bulman or the Spaniard
#5 Just walk around the town center, then get up into the hills above the Spaniard – towards Fort Charles. The views and the houses are incredible. You may consider breaking in and never, ever leaving.
Well there’s a few little tips. I guess if I was thinking of anything else to tell you, I’d carefully consider if you want to stay in Cork, which is a lovely city, and Ireland’s second largest city, or if you should instead look to rent a house up in the hills of Kinsale. (I loved Kinsale and would suggest staying for one night)
Perhaps it was just the french white wine and tasty oysters, maybe it was the magical drive that popped us out into a lush green outlook with a view of Kinsale, maybe it was just the sunshine and that calm ocean water with little sail boats quietly skimming along while their red sails seemed to gently wave hello. Something about Kinsale clearly got to me.
Ok, now you can go plan your trip to Kinsale, Ireland.
Until next time,
(I’ve just returned from a 9 day trip around southern Ireland and will be posting my findings from each wonderful city. All photos were taken with my iPhone 6s or Nikon D3000)