is one of the oldest towns in County Cork. Situated in the
estuary of the River Bandon,
it is a place of
great antiquity, a market town, sea port and prominent sailing
centre. This picturesque resort is a centre for sea angling,
golf and gourmet eating.
HEAD OF KINSALE
The headland 10km
south of the town is known as the Old Head of Kinsale. It is a
well-known landmark to mariners on the south coast and is a
nationally important breeding site for seabirds including
Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake.
The Battle of Kinsale in December
1601 between English, Spanish and Irish forces was a turning
point in Irish history.
The Spanish fleet, aiding the Irish rebellion against
English rule, landed at Kinsale in the autumn of 1601. The
Spanish forces under the command of Don Juan D'Aquila took
possession of Kinsale as the English forces laid siege to the
town. The army of Earl O'Neil from Ulster marched on Kinsale
to give support to the Spaniards but was routed with great
slaughter. The battle is significant because it was one of the
last great battles fought on Irish soil, increasing the exodus
of Irish soldiers, churchmen and Gaelic lords to the continent
of Europe. This became known as the Flight of the Earls and
ended an era of Gaelic society in Ireland.
Charles Fort was built in the
early 1680s and is named in honour of Charles II, the then
reigning monarch. In the 17th century, Kinsale was a safe
haven for ships and an important trading town. Charles Fort
was built on the eastern bank (along with James Fort on the
western bank) to protect the town. Star-shaped in design, the
fort has zigzag walls to provide cross-fire from several
directions against any attacker. It was occupied by James II
(Charles IIís successor in 1690, but was taken by his
Williamite opponents, who exploited its one weak spot by
firing down from the high ground behind.
There are a number of sandy
beaches in the Kinsale area, some with the International Blue
The Lusitania, a
British ocean liner was sunk by a German submarine on May 7th
1915 in sight of the Old Head of Kinsale. Returning from New
York to Liverpool, 1,198 out of 1,959 passengers and crew were
lost. The sinking contributed indirectly to the entry of the
U.S. into World War 1. A memorial stone is located at the Old
Head of Kinsale.
CAPITAL OF IRELAND
Kinsale is well endowed with many
excellent owner-run restaurants and is known as the 'gourmet
capital of Irelandí. Local fishermen provide their catch for
the fine dishes served in the restaurants.
Kinsale with its renowned
sailing club is a base frequented by sailing yachts from all
over the world.