Seemingly everything in Kinsale—from the fishing, whale watching, and scuba diving to the gourmet fish and seafood—revolves around the Atlantic Ocean that laps at Kinsale’s shores. In summer months when the sun comes out, locals make the drive from Cork to Kinsale’s sandy beaches, and there are places where you can rent a kayak to explore the rocky coast. Back on shore at Charles Fort, walk across a drawbridge into this star-shaped fort that was built in the 17th century. Aside from the views looking over coast, visitors can learn how this strategic town has been sacked, fought over, looted, and rebuilt for the last 1,000 years. For even more history of the town and its headlands, historical walking tours weave through the village and the trails running out towards the coast, or pay a visit to St. Multose Church—which was constructed back in 1190 and is still in use today. By night, sample some of the gourmet food that Kinsale is fast becoming known for, and settle into a traditional pub for some cheery coastal craic.
Kinsale is located 30 minutes from the international airport at Cork. Buses are the most common form of transport, and crowds are lighter during the middle of the week and the shorter days of winter.