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- 03 Dec 2020, 3 nights
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A vibrant gem along Ireland’s southern coast in County Cork, Kinsale is full of colourful winding streets, lively bars and a yacht-filled harbour. In its brightly painted buildings, you’ll find some of Ireland’s best restaurants serving up locally caught seafood, while at its shores, an impressive 17th-century fort leads you to the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. This region is also home to sandy Blue Flag shorelines, as well as more rugged surfing beaches.
Most hostels in Kinsale put you within walking distance of the town centre. You can find budget-friendly shared rooms, as well as male and female-only dorms. Kinsale hostels with communal kitchens and barbecue areas can help you save money when it comes to mealtimes, while shared lounge spaces will get you chatting to other travellers. A Kinsale hostel often has free Wi-Fi, free bed linen and towels for hire – which is ideal if you’re trying to save room in your backpack.
Kinsale’s town nestles in the estuary of the River Bandon between rolling hills. You’ll find most of its shops and restaurants in the main centre, as well as its nightlife. You can expect to find some unique boutiques here selling vintage jewellery, Kinsale leather, traditional Aran knitwear and handmade Irish crafts. As you head out of town, you’ll see some of the area’s dramatic coastal scenery. Old Head, a narrow headland is nearly a 3-hour hike from the town centre.
Charles Fort is Kinsale’s showstopper – it towers above the entrance to the harbour and offers panoramic views over the headlands from its meandering corridors. Also along the coast, you’ll find the Blue Flag-awarded beaches of Garrylucas and Garretstown. The latter is where you can hire surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. You can pick up the Wild Atlantic Way trail from here too. Back in town, head to Desmond Castle for its wine museum, or book a food tour to discover some of the best local eateries.
From Cork Airport, the bus journey to Kinsale is about 30 minutes. The bus will drop you at Pier Road, near Kinsale’s information office. By train, there is a service from Cork Kent Train Station to Kinsale. Many of the local conveniences are within walking distance. If you want to head a little further afield, you can hire a bike or book a cycling tour in the town centre.