"Picture Perfect Sailing Town" Kinsale by SabrinaSummerville

Kinsale Travel Guide: 183 reviews and 378 photos

A Polite Introduction

Let me try to explain Kinsale to you. It is to Ireland, I imagine, what The Hamptons is to Americans. It is full of the rich and beautiful of our lovely country. This is where the wealthy moor their yachts and the social climbers venture for sailing lessons. You must, however, bear in mind the fact that Ireland is tiny and Kinsale, too, is small, so understand that all is in proportion.

I know that in my college days, as a Cork University student, this was the place to come to meet a "nice" guy. The town has several stalwart hotels that have been there since at least my parents courting days. Hotels such as the Blue Haven and Actons are names that roll from the tongue and command prize positions in the town centre and overlooking the waterfront. Old they may be, but like fine wines they have aged to perfection and moved with the times with their award winning gourmet restaurants.

TV programmes have been crafted around local restaurants such as the renowned Fishy Fishy and craft stores such as the Hat Shop cleverly named Hattitude.

This is a stunning, old-fashioned Haven that is moving with the times to capture the best of the Irish local and international tourist trade.

The Gourmet Capital

Kinsale is widely renowned as Ireland's Gourmet Capital - with a specialty for all that is the very best of Irish locally caught seafood.

My hotel package included a meal at the Hotel's Oysterhaven View restaurant plus a dinner at the famous Man Friday gourmet restaurant. On the third night I found myself too full to have dinner and opted for a chipper takeaway from Dino's instead - even that excelled. A delectable praline hot chocolate from Jo's deserves a special mention.

In addition to this I had to simply feast my eyes on the menu at Fishy Fishy, where the lunchtime queues were well out the door and down the path. Jola's, too, has been recently featured on TV and is reputed to be a hidden jewel in Kinsale's gourmet crown - next time I'll hope to go there.

A mirage of spectacular colour

If San Francisco has its painted ladies, then Kinsale has painted the entire town with a palette of vibrant colour.

I was bewitched by an auctioneer's building in the main square - painted pink and black Victoria Murphy's real estate agency looks more like a Victoria's Secret outlet!! Practically next door, an older man sits peacefully reading his newspaper outside a flower-bedecked cream, orange, and vibrant blue painted cafe. Old buildings have been preserved, rebuilt, and well maintained. There's a lot of old stone and a feeling of ancientness prevails.

Most of the streets are incredibly narrow. The first day I attempted (successfully.....but barely) to traverse the narrow roadways in my bulky Lexus Jeep, abandoning it the following day for shank's mare (i.e. on foot). I wonder what Town Councillor has lobbied to keep them from being pedestrianised.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:So easy to get around
  • Cons:The tiny narrow streets
  • Last visit to Kinsale: Jun 2010
  • Intro Updated Jun 12, 2010
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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    nice page with excellent recommendations. i would love to visit the southern part of ireland.

SabrinaSummerville

“"I am of Ireland....Come dance with me in Ireland", W.B. Yeats”

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