They say the best way to see Kinsale is by sea. So perhaps the best way to truly understand Kinsale is on a boat with a fisherman at the helm.
Perhaps one who’s studied Archaeology & Celtic Civilizations at UCC, and holds a Masters in Local History? Meet Jerome of Kinsale Harbor Cruises, who was born and grew up on the Old Head of Kinsale and has fished these waters for 28 years.
Jerome will share his local knowledge with you on a tour in his boat The Spirit of Kinsale, taking you out across the harbor, past Charles Fort and all the way to the edge of the wild Atlantic. It’s a fascinating hour on the water, with freshly brewed coffee and warm blankets should you need them.
Best of all are the stories that abound in this region. As a former Viking trading post, Kinsale played a key role in Irish history. In 1601 the area was sieged when Spanish troops entered the harbor. And in 1915 there was the dramatic night when the transatlantic liner ‘Lusitania’ was sunk by a German U-Boat just off the Old Head of Kinsale.
Every year the Kinsale Gourmet Food Festival is held in October, and most years it’s sold out. So if you fancy sampling lobster, crabs, prawns, artisan cheeses and meats, plus much more, it’s best to book in advance. If you consider yourself to be a bit of a ‘foodie’, this is one festival you really can’t miss.
Tidal currents rush in from the Atlantic to feed Lough Hyne, a marine lake just south of Skibbereen, County Cork. You can learn more about the lake at the nearby Skibbereen Heritage Centre but make sure you experience it for yourself on a sea kayaking trip with a knowledgeable local guide. As darkness falls, the magic begins. Flickers of light appear on the front of the kayaks, and shining ripples spread out from the paddle blades. A hand dipped into the warm water sparkles. Microscopic marine life erupts into ghostly phosphorescence. Meanwhile the surface of the water seems to mirror the starry skies.
Old Head of Kinsale
Good to Know
- The Old Head of Kinsale is a 50 minute drive from Cork. If flying to Shannon from the US, allow 2 hours 20 minutes’ driving time
- If travelling from Dublin, allow 3 hours 15 minutes’ driving time
- Old Head Golf Club is recognised as one of the best in the world
- The Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse was built in the 17th century
- The Old Head of Kinsale is a 15 mile drive south of Cork