5 Things to Do in Kinsale, Ireland

Back in ’12, a friend and I traveled to Kinsale, Ireland, in County Cork (aka the south-west). It’s a relatively small city with brightly colored houses, a lovely little harbor, and some fun locals in easy reach. The place is famous for its yearly Gourmet Festival, so check your dates to see if your travel falls on during the event! (This is a good thing if you like gourmet food and a bad thing if you like uncrowded streets!)

Though Kinsale can get a bit touristy (there are buses that bring people in during the day), it’s fun for a slightly longer stay, too. My friend and I were there three whole days, so we became fairly well acquainted with everything!

1. Desmond Castle

The object of our visit was Desmond Castle, which I had learned about while reading Rick Steve’s Ireland. (Yes, I read the entire book, cover-to-cover, before planning our trip. Don’t judge me.)

This rather small castle, tucked between houses on the main street, was used during the American Revolution as a prison for captured American sailors. The British had them chained to the walls in the courtyard as an example to the rebellious Irish. I’m a bit of an American Revolution nerd, and so put it down on our itinerary.

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work
Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Though, as I mentioned, it isn’t a massive castle, it is still quite interesting. There are cells to poke around and displays to read. You’ll find out information about the castle, the community’s history, and the role both played during the American Revolution.

The sweet old Irish museum curators know a lot more than what’s on the signs, so be sure you ask questions!