Are you looking for a list of interesting stops in or around Kinsale to make up a great day out or even a short road trip? Take a look at Kate’s choice of 7 stops around Kinsale below as she started out on her Wild Atlantic Way Journey.
- The Site of The Battle of Kinsale
- Kinsale Town
- Historic Charles Fort
- Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse & Signal Tower
- Timoleague Abbey
- Inchydoney Beach
- Galley Head
I had been so looking forward to getting starting on my Wild Atlantic Way Road Trip. As I mentioned before, I live in Kerry, so much of Cork, Clare, and Limerick, and of course, all of Kerry is easily accessible for me. I decided to start in County Cork and work my way northwards.
The first Discovery Point on this route is The Old Head of Kinsale so off I headed on the road to Kinsale town.
The Stone of Destiny, Site of the battle of Kinsale in 1602
On my way to Kinsale I sought and found an intriguing Stone Chair standing at the side of the road at Millwater Crossroads about 2 miles outside the town on the R605. The Chair, or sculpture, is called The Stone of Destiny and was installed in 2001 to mark the site of The Battle of Kinsale in 1602.
On January 1602 Irish forces were defeated by an invading Elizabethan army leaving twelve hundred dead or dying. Their blood coloured the mill stream driving the local mill causing the millers to rename the ford ‘Ford of the Battle Slaughter’.
In 2001 on the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Kinsale the Stone of Destiny Chair was erected to symbolise the loss of Irish sovereignty. It is made of 4 stone slabs brought from the four Provinces of Ireland to represent the participation of those who joined the chieftains at Kinsale in 1602.
On the sunny day of my visit it was sobering to think of the scenes that took place in this now peaceful and pleasant spot.
See it on the map here or find it at Latitude 51.71851 Longitude -8.56034
Stone of Destiny Chair Location
St. Multose Church
My first stop in Kinsale Town was the historic and memorable Church of St. Multose. I had read about this church and had hoped to visit it and it so it was meant to be for we parked with no thought other than securing a handy place to park and co-incidentally it was right outside St.Multose walls.
The church is now an Anglican Church and as the sign outside its door says ‘Christian worship has been offered on this site for over 1400 years. The present church was built in c.1190 by the Normans replacing an earlier church of the 6th century. St.Multose is the patron Saint of Kinsale, whose feast day is December 11th.’
The church and graveyard are beautifully preserved. Many of the graves date from the 18th century and even earlier with a number of headstones bearing the names of victims of the Lusitania sinking in 1915. One particularly poignant engraving simply said ‘An Unknown Victim (Woman) of the Lusitania Outrage 7 May 1915’.
While we were there a local guide was giving a tour to a group so if you would like greater detail about this interesting place you could enquire locally as he did seem to be quite engaging from what I could see.
Kinsale Town Centre
Kinsale town was a hive of activity on the sunny August day of my visit. Sunshine will lift the dreariest of towns but the colourful shopfronts, art galleries and restaurants of Kinsale would appeal, whatever the weather. While the town caters for tourists it is also apparent that it is a busy commercial hub in its own right. The traffic in the town centre was a mix of delivery vans, jeeps pulling boats and even a tractor pulling a cattle trailer!
We strolled around the narrow cobbled streets keeping an eye out for the perfect spot for lunch – our criteria? not too busy, not too quiet with fresh deli-style food. A mental shortlist was starting to compile…
All roads lead to the banks of the river and down to the marina which is a very pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by. There is a popular children’s playground with plenty of welcome benches nearby for weary parents. I’ve been grateful for such a facility many times over the years so I always still notice them but thankfully this time I was having a very grownup sort of day out.
We walked back up to the town taking the elevated streets seeking out a good view of Kinsale town and harbour below and we were not disappointed. As well as the wonderful views over the rooftops we noted some lovely period buildings including an Alms House. There are public information signs in this Historic Kinsale area.
By this stage, we were feeling peckish and settled on The Old Bank House Café on Pearse Street which is on the left-hand side of the main street just on the approach to the river. The café has some seating outside but (believe it or not) it was too sunny for comfort so we sat inside. We had fish cakes, quiche and salad which was very fresh and delicious. The staff were friendly and efficient so top marks to The Old Bank House.
The interior is narrow and of course, there are steps up to the front door so it is not ideal for disabled access.
There is a lot to see in Kinsale and I expect to return soon to explore further but for now, the road beckoned and we set off on our way to our next stop at Charles Fort.
I had heard that Charles Fort was impressive and was excited to finally visit this famous historical site. The day was sunny and by happy coincidence it was Heritage Week so it was free entry for all (see regular admission charges below).
Charles Fort lies a short distance from Kinsale town beyond Summer Cove. It is one the best examples of a 17th-century star-shaped fort and was in use up to 1922 housing the garrison of the fort and their families. Many of the buildings are now derelict while some have been restored and are used as exhibition centres.
Being Heritage Week and the last week of the school summer holidays there were many families taking advantage of the sunny day and wonderful views from the fort up to Kinsale Town and out towards the mouth of the Bandon River. On the opposite bank lies James Fort, a smaller fort, but also important in its day.
If you feel like walking the 5.5 kilometres along the water’s edge out from Kinsale to Charles Fort you start from Scilly House and follow the signs.
It is possible to get guided tours and there is a small tea shop which is opened during summer months.
It was the perfect day to capture a 360° view of Charles Fort which I uploaded to Google Maps.
You can pan around the site by swiping your finger or mouse across the image below in the direction of your choice.
Regular Admission Charges to Charles Fort Kinsale at the time of writing this post are:
- Adults €4
- Senior Citizens / Group * €3
- Child / Student €2
- Family €10
* Group consists of 20 or more people
Opening Hours are:
- Mid March to October 10.00 to 18.00 daily
- November to mid March 10.00 to 17.00 daily
- last admission time is 45 minutes before closing
This is definitely a place worth visiting. The setting is wonderful as you can see from my video, photos, and 360° view above. Don’t miss this if you are in the neighbourhood.
Stop Number 4 – #KatesRoadTrip on The Wild Atlantic Way
Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse & Signal Tower
I was excited to finally get to the first of the Discovery Points on my Wild Atlantic Way road trip, the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse and Signal Tower. The Old Head of Kinsale headland juts out into the Atlantic ocean on the beautiful coastline of County Cork and is such a special place that it is one of only 15 Signature Discovery points singled out for special mention on the whole of the 2,500 kilometer route.
Most of the extreme headland is home to the famous Old Head 18 hole golf course and the 17th century Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse. Usually access to the headland is restricted to members and golfers from the Old Head Golf Club and the lighthouse too is mostly not open to the public except for a couple of days per year in May and during Heritage Week in August, when locals and tourists are given access by bus to the lighthouse. Happily, on the day of our visit it was open to the public and so we were able to get great photos and video from the top of the lighthouse and the signal tower.
Take a look at the videos of the views from the top of the lighthouse and signal tower plus a 360° view of the area on our main page about the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse and Signal Tower.
The Signal Tower
The official Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point is actually not at the lighthouse but at the Signal Tower which has been beautifully restored as a viewing point and as a Lusitania Museum and Interpretative Centre and garden. Seeing some of the artifacts from the sinking of the Lusitania when almost 1,200 lost their lives in 1915 gave me pause for thought and made me all the more thankful for the beautiful day I was so lucky to enjoy here.
This Signal Tower is number 25 of 81 such towers built within sight of each other for the purpose of passing signals to Dublin Castle about activity along the coast.
Stop Number 5 – #KatesRoadTrip on The Wild Atlantic Way
Timoleague Abbey or Friary
We arrived at Timoleague Friary, more commonly known as Timoleague Abbey, on a beautiful day. The impressive ruins stood out against the blue skies. Despite the lovely weather we were almost alone for most of our time at the Abbey which allowed me to really get the sense of peace that prevailed. The Franciscan Abbey dates from the 13th century and is situated at the edge of a long sea inlet. The abbey was built on the site of a monastic settlement founded by Saint Molaga in the 6th century after which Timoleague is named.
The village of Timoleague is a pleasant spot to take a stroll and has a good few restaurants and pubs. There is a ten day harvest festival each August with live music gigs and a fun fair.
Take a look at the video of the area on our main page about the Timoleague Abbey.
Facts about Timoleague Friary
A Cure For Warts?
Within the ruins of Timoleague Friary, inside the sacristy, we spotted a small stone with a hollow in the centre in which rainwater had collected. As the photo shows it was indicated as a ‘Wart Well’. I had heard of such holy wells and, intrigued, I dipped my thumb into the well. I had a small but annoying wart on my thumb for years and had tried many lotions and potions to remove it. I thought no more of it until two weeks later when I noticed that the wart was completely gone!
If you are interested in holy wells then Timoleague seems to be the place to go with no fewer than three others in the vicinity. Tobar Mhuire (Our Lady’s Well), Tobar n Súl (known to cure eye ailments) and Tober na Trinoda (Holy Trinity Well). You can read more about these holy wells in this interesting article on the Holy Wells of Cork website https://holywellsofcork.com/2016/02/25/four-very-different-wells-around-timoleague/.
Stop Number 6 – #KatesRoadTrip on The Wild Atlantic Way
Unfortunately we had very little time on our Cork Road Trip to really do justice to Inchydoney Beach and it’s glorious surroundings just outside the colourful heritage town of Clonakilty in West Cork. We had a windy but enjoyable walk on the golden sandy beach but had to forego the temptations of refreshments at the popular Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa.
Definitely a spot to put on the return list!
Take a look at the video of the area and map on our main page about Inchydoney Beach.
Stop Number 7 – #KatesRoadTrip on The Wild Atlantic Way
Just a short distance further on from Inchydoney we arrived at Galley Head and it’s picturesque lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1875 and automated in 1979.
We had planned to stay in one of the restored lightkeepers’ houses but sadly they were booked out. The site was marked as private so we decided it was best not to intrude and satisfied ourselves with a walk along the coastline. If you are interested in staying in one of these self catering houses you can check them out on booking.com here. Good luck!
Check out more info and a location map on the main page for Galley Head here.
Stay tuned for the next stops on this fabulous route when I head for the islands in Roaringwater Bay, I can’t wait!