15 Best Things To Do In Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Originally a medieval fishing port, historic Kinsale is one of the most picturesque and historic towns on the south-west coast of Ireland. Kinsale has a beautiful set of long waterfront, yacht-filled harbor, narrow winding streets, and brightly painted galleries, shops, and houses. 

It is also a leading Irish tourist attraction and the southerly starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way trail. So if you find yourself in this historic charming town in Cork, here are the best things to do in Kinsale, Ireland.

Best Things To Do in Kinsale Ireland

things to do in kinsale

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1. Charles Fort is one of the top things to do in Kinsale for visitors


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Charles Fort is a star fort located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbor.

Charles Fort is a classic example of a late 17th-century star-shaped fort and it has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. The most significant of these are the Williamite War 1689-91 and the Civil War 1922-23.

Charles Fort was declared a National Monument in 1973 and one of the most popular Kinsale attractions and one of the best day trips from Cork.

Opening Times

Mid March – October 10.00 – 18.00 | November – Mid March Daily 10.00 – 17.00

Admission Fee

Adult: €5.00 | Group/Senior: €4.00 | Child/Student: €3.00 | Family: €13.00

Contact Information

Address: Summer Cove, Kinsale, Co. Cork P17 AY18

Phone: +353 (21) 477 2263

Email: charlesfort@opw.ie

2. Explore James Fort is one of the best things to do in Kinsale

James Fort Kinsale

James Fort is an early 17th-century pentagonal fort located on the Castlepark peninsula in Kinsale harbor.

Situated downstream from Kinsale on the River Bandon and located opposite of Charles Fort, it has a commanding position guarding the small harbor of Kinsale.

The fort remains the most interesting example of 17th-century military architecture and it offers wonderful views of the town, river and Charles Fort.

Address: Old-Fort, Co. Cork, Ireland

3. Check out the Kinsale Museum

The Kinsale museum houses a large number of local artifacts relating to Kinsale’s maritime, military and secular history from the Battle of Kinsale to the Kinsale Giant.

Opening Time

Please ring in advance to check opening times.

Contact Information

Address: Market Square

Phone: +353 21 4772234

Email: kinsaletic@eircom.net

4. One of the most exciting things to do in Kinsale is to check out Old Head


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The Old Head of Kinsale is a headland and a remarkably dramatic piece of Ireland protruding more than 3km into the Atlantic Ocean. An early lighthouse was established here in the 17th century by Robert Reading. The area is the nearest point of land to where the RMS Lusitania was sunk in 1915.

It is also famous for its world-class, 18-hole golf course. Nine holes play along with the tops of the cliffs, but all 18 holes boast stunning views of the ocean. It is one of the best golf courses in Ireland. 

5. Check out the Boat House Gallery

This is a quality gallery with a variety of styles of work and diverse arts. Elizabeth Timmons first opened the gallery back in 2010. It has been a huge success with the locals and tourists that it becomes one of the most popular galleries in Kinsale.

Opening Time

10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Admission Fee


Contact Information

Address: 68 Main St, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork

Phone:  +353 21 470 9981

Email:  info@theboathousegallery.ie

6. Explore Kinsale town center

kinsale ireland

Kinsale is a charming town with colorful shopfronts, art galleries and restaurants. Walking along its cobbled street will make you reminisce of the old days.

Stroll around and then sit in one of the benches in the marina and watch the world go by. This charming town is one of the must do’s in Ireland.

7. St. Multose House

St. Multose House is the oldest building and one of the most important landmark buildings of Kinsale.

Built in 1190, but with substantial alterations and renovations over the years, this remains an interesting example of Norman architecture.

St. Multose House has also remained in continuous use up to the present day.

Some interesting features that can be found in St. Multose House include an inscription in Norman French, the Easter sepulcher, the Baptismal font, and the carved memorials.

Opening Time

Please ring in advance to check opening times.

Admission Fee


Contact Information

Address: Knocknabohilly

Phone:  +353 21 4772220

8. Join ghost tour in Kinsale

This is not just any ghost tour; it’s more theatrical, fun, humorous, interesting and comedy than horror.

Two actors weave funny stunts and stories into a loose History of the town, offering an entertaining 1.25 hours of fun on Kinsale’s after-dark streets.

If you are looking for stuff to do with kids, this is one of the best things to do in Kinsale for families.

Opening Time

It starts at 9pm – 10:15pm

Admission Fee

adults €10, children €5

Contact Information

Address: The Tap Tavern, Kinsale, Co. Cork, P17 D981

Phone:  087 948 0910

Email: marytap@iol.ie

9. Eat seafood in Fishy Fishy


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Kinsale is well-known for its seafood restaurants. And there are lots of seafood restaurants in Kinsale that you should really try.

As for our favorite, the award-winning Fishy Fishy restaurant is a must for all seafood lovers and foodies alike.

Opening Time

Mon-Wed: 1pm – 8pm (last booking 8pm),

Thurs – Sat: 12pm – 9pm (last booking 9pm),

Sun: 12pm – 8pm (last booking 8pm)

Contact Information

Address: Fishy Fishy Restaurant, Crowleys Quay, Kinsale, Co. Cork

Phone:  +353 21 4700415

10. Join a harbor cruise in Kinsale

Kinsale harbor cruises are ideal for families who wish to enjoy the scenic beauty on Kinsale Harbour out on the water.

It will give you a very different view of Kinsale and its beautiful natural harbor. Kinsale harbor cruises also offer culture, education, and enjoyment for families.

Opening Time

Please ring in advance to check opening times.

Admission Fee

Adult : €13.00 | Child (under 14): €5.00 | Children(under 2) are free |

Family: €32.00 (2 Adults & 2 Children)

Contact Information

Address: Kinsale Quay | (between Actons Hotel and Trident Hotel), Kinsale, Ireland

Phone:  +353 86 250 5456

Email:  harbourcruises@gmail.com

11. Try a local brewery

Sample local beers, rum, or gin in Blacks Brewery or any of Kinsale’s amazing pubs. They have amazing selections of quality beers and spirits and their tours are entertaining.

Opening Time:

09:00am – 09:15pm

Admission Fee


Contact Information

Address: Farm Lane | Nocknabohilly

Phone: +353 87 918 0433

Email: tours@blacksbrewery.com 

12. Read at Poet’s Corner

Poet’s Corner is a popular small cafe and bookstore tucked away in the Main Street.

Aside from their awesome baked goods, the place is also known for its great collections of books. You can read or peruse their book collection while taking a sip of good coffee.

They also do book exchange and sell second-hand books for a great discount.

Opening Time

Mon-Sat: 9:30 am – 6 pm

Contact Information

Address: 44 Main St, Town-Plots, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone:+353 86 227 7276


13. Irish Veterans Museum

The Irish Veterans Museum is a Kinsale-based charitable organization and museum that exhibit the only Medal of Honor on display outside of the United States.

The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that is awarded to recognize military service members who have distinguished themselves through acts of valor in the United States.

Currently, there are over 250 Irish-born servicemen who have received the Medal of Honor for the last 155 years. The museum also tells the stories of these brave veterans.

Opening Time

Mon-Sun -10:30 am-5pm

Admission Fee

By donations

Contact Information

Address: The Glen, Sleveen

Phone:(086) 406 6448

14. Kinsale Pottery and Arts Centre

If you want to do something different in Ireland, check out the pottery classes in Kinsale Pottery and Arts Centre.

They also offer jewelry-making, mosaic making, and other fun classes. All classes also cater to all stages from beginners to professionals. So tourists are also welcome to join.

Opening Time:

Mon- Sunday – 10 am – 6pm

Admission Fee

Adult (age 18 – 99)- €40.00 each

Contact Information

Address: Olcote, Ballinacurra, Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland

Phone :00353 21 4777758

Email: info (@) kinsaleceramics.com

15. Explore Garrylucas Beach


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Garrylucas Beach is a Blue Flag Status beach near the Old Head. This lovely sandy beach is popular among locals, especially during summer.

There are facilities in the area like toilets and lifeguards.

Although lifeguards might be only available during the summer season. The prestigious Blue Flag status was awarded in 2018.

Opening Time

Please ring in advance to check opening times.

Contact Information

Address: Old Head of Kinsale

Phone:+353 21 4772234

Planning a visit to Kinsale and don’t know where to stay yet? Here’s our list of best hotels in Kinsale

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  1. Louise says

    Some great things to do on this list! Can’t wait to explore Ireland in the future and Kinsale will defo be on my list after reading this guide. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The Travel Bunny says

    Two weekends ago I was in Dublin, visiting Ireland for the very first time. I fell in love with it, and felt really like home, not like I could live there someday, but as if I already belonged there. I can’t wait to discover more places in Ireland soon. Kinsale looks great!

  3. Anjali Chawla says

    The city looks beautiful especially the dramatic and stunning Old Head and the colorful town center. I’d love to visit Kinsale soon. Pinned and bookmarked the post for the future reference.

  4. Yukti Agrawal says

    The charming colorful town of Kinsale has won me over and it really tempts me book tickets now. Wow what an amazing place it is! You have taken amazing aerial shot of Charles Fort.

  5. Daniel says

    Wow, I never realized there are so many interesting things to do in Kinsale. The city looks amazing and it definitely deserves a stop on my upcoming Ireland trip later on this year.

  6. Nomad Joseph says

    Haven’t heard about Kinsale before, but from the pictures it looks like an amazing place! I should add it to my travel in Ireland itinerary. These colorful buildings look gorgeous!

  7. Arunima Dey says

    Some of these names are so cute like ‘Fishy Fishy’, and ‘Old Head’ It seems like a really nice place to consider for a quick weekend getaway or possibly a day trip. And the town centre photo looks delightful!

  8. Laurence says

    There are really great tips going to Kinsale, I’ve wanted to go to Ireland, I hope that I can use these guides someday. The town center is really colorful and picturesque.

  9. Cate says

    Those colorful houses are soooo gorgeous! I’m also very interested in visiting St. Multose house! Thank you so much for sharing such a detailed post!

  10. Soumya Gayatri says

    I have never been to Ireland but it looks like Kinsale would be an interesting addition to my itinerary. I am a big history and culture lover. Kinsale has so many forts and museums, I am sure I will love this place.

  11. Richa says

    I absolutely LOVED this list. It was interesting to read about the star-shaped Charles Fort and the smaller James Fort, the 16th-century courthouse building that houses the Kinsale Regional Museum, all of it. I am saving this for later 🙂

  12. Alex Trembath says

    I can imagine a trip to Kinsale being very relaxing but at the same time with lots of interesting things to see and learn about. That’s the feel I get from your article anyway 🙂 the green countryside around the town looks gorgeous.

  13. Lennie Mcgahan says

    15 Best Things To Do In Kinsale, Ireland are just great and
    very helpful.

    See you soon! 🙂 Many Kisses!

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