Kinsale, Ireland

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Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale, Ireland Reviews

Purdy Purdy
37 reviews
Feb 11, 2007
In July 2003 we took a long weekend break to Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland. It’s a little town situated just outside Cork on Irelands west coast. Friends had visited the area the year previously and were forever telling us about how beautiful and quaint the town was. So over the July holidays in Northern Ireland we thought we would go see for ourselves.


From Cork City, Kinsale is around 17 miles by car taking around half an hour – the roads are pretty basic windy country roads so please beware!

From Belfast l traveled to Dublin via the Enterprise train taking usually 3 hours – it was as usual late (this ALWAYS happens) and it was nearer 4 hours by the time l entered Dublin’s Connolly station. I met Paul outside the railway station (he was working in Dublin!) and we then journeyed by car toward Cork and then Kinsale – the journey took 7 hours – this included stopping for comfort breaks and food. Now this is unusually long – it was a bank holiday week end, so traffic was heavier, it was a Friday so week end traffic had to be contended with and there was the Guinness Witness Rock Festival on outside Dublin in which we got caught up in traffic too. On our return journey it took us 7 hours in the car to get from Cork to Belfast!

There are flights into Cork Airport which is on the road to Kinsale and carriers such as aerlingus; fly be; bmi baby; ryan air and ba all make the trip from various regional UK airports and indeed a few European airports too.

The closest ferry port to Kinsale which is a 35 minutes drive is that of Ringaskiddy (don’t ya just love Irish place names!) or that of Cork Harbour is close by too.

Finally at Cork International Airport the usual car hire people – Avis, Budget or Hertz etc are available to rent cars from.


We stayed in a comfortable B&B, situated on the road into Kinsale from Cork and a 5 minute walk into the centre of town. It was called Villa Maria and was perfect. My friends had stayed there the year previously and so it was recommended. It cost us €35 per night – this was for an ensuite double room, which had tea and coffee facilities, TV, shower room and toilet and a full fabulous Irish breakfast each morning. The rooms were not 5* standard but the bed was very comfortable. It was a family run concern and the whole family pitched in. We were staying in their home, and is usual with all Irish guest accommodation, we were made very welcome.

The Tourist Board found slap bang in the centre of Kinsale can book accommodation for you and provide you with a list of hotels, guest houses and B&Bs to suit all pockets.

The Tourist Office details are:

Kinsale Tourist Office, Pier Road, Kinsale. Telephone number 4772234 - please note a dialing code will be required.

The are open from 1st March until 20th November between the hours of 9.15am to 5.30pm.


This is where Kinsale really comes into its own. Throughout Ireland it is recognized as a gourmet’s paradise, and for a town of its size the number of restaurants available is phenomenal! The town is situated on the coast and therefore reaps the benefits of fresh fish and shell fish.

We ate in two restaurants:

Jim Edwards

Market Quay, Kinsale 4772541

Hours – 6pm until 10pm daily

Email –

Web –

This was recommended again by our chums, and they were not wrong. Perpetually busy, so be prepared to wait or be sensible and make a reservation! We had to wait for around 20 minutes, but we had a drink and the place has such a buzz and atmosphere, and is such a hive of active and people that the time flew by! Plus we were given our menus so we could make our choices in readiness for being seated.

Once seated, it was a little cramped and everyone was on top of one another, but when the food arrived it more than made up for the seating arrangements! Paul had traditional battered fish and chips – which he devoured in what seemed like seconds, whilst l had a sirloin steak – melt in the mouth!! The price range was fairly reasonable, approximate £10 for a main course. A wine list was available – we didn’t use it – sticking to the amber nectar of Guinness!! Also for fish lovers – you can choose your own lobster!!

Shrimps Seafood Bistro

Guardwell, Kinsale 4772382

Hours – 6pm until 10.30pm daily

Email –

Situated within Kieran’s Folk House. We visited on a Saturday night and it was busy, we had not booked but we were told it would be a half hour wait – which we had anticipated, so we were guided to a waiting area, shown where the bar was should we want a drink, menus given and left to wait. And forgotten about – 45 mins later – Paul was champing at the bit for food and beginning to get angry (personally l was enjoying my beer!!) After a word with staff and a further 15 minutes wait we were guided to our table.

It took another eon to take our order and then a further decade to get our food delivered to our table – and even then it came in fits and starts, and as far as l remember we are still waiting on that bottle of red wine to be delivered.

The food itself was nice, not great nice. I had sea bass whilst Paul had scallops. The waitress mess up the payment on Paul’s credit card – charging us in euro instead of sterling to make extra from an appalling rate. By the time we left we were well and truly angry and vowed never to grace it with our presence again. Not recommended!!

There are lots of other restaurants in Kinsale and again a wander round the town will make this abundantly clear! Or again pop into the Tourist board for recommendations, or ask at your accommodation, the Irish are always willing to proffer an opinion!!


Again – your in Ireland – no worries plenty of bars and entertainment. Of a night you can wander in and out of bars at your leisure – there was no entrance charge and most bars and evening entertainment – usually in the guise of tradition Irish bands – all great craic!

We can thoroughly recommend:

Hole in the Wall – which is also great for lunch time pub grub

Oscar Madison’s – had a great happy hour on daily

The Mad Monk – in the evenings can go a little bit crazy, great for a cure the next day and again pub grub scrummy too!


There was not lots and lots to do in Kinsale, wandering around the town took up an afternoon, don’t expect a plethora of shops, but it is good for people watching sitting on a pavement drinking coffee or something stronger and watching the world in various nationalities wander by!! There were other visits to be made such as the ruins of Charles Fort – situated on the outskirts of the town – you would need to drive to it. It is open daily from March to October from 10am to 6pm with a cost of €2.75 for adults or €1.75 for kids. Wander around the ruins and take in the spectacular views. It is an excellent example of a 17th Century star shaped fort. You can visit the exhibition center and learn all about the forts colourful history.

We also paid a visit to the Desmond Castle and Wine Museum – the name had such high hopes and boy but we were let down! It took about half an hour to visit – to see pathetic displaces of how prisoner were kept in the castle and t map of Europe made out of corks!! And we had to pay for the pleasure - €2.75 each!! Not recommended!

To be honest that really was it for sight seeing!!


I love Kinsale – it is a picturesque fishing town, in Cork. The food is great, locals are friendly and beer goes down a treat!! It’s a fantastic place to come, eat drink and chill out. I hope l have convinced you all that it really is a little corner of Ireland worth visiting!

For further information about the area please check out:
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