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Kinsale Market House (circa 1600), now a Museum
Market Street in Kinsale, one of the town's oldest thoroughfares
On the quayside at Kinsale

Kinsale ( ) is a town in County Corkmarker, Irelandmarker. Located some 25 km south of Cork Citymarker on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsalemarker, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257 which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and when the boating fraternity arrive in large numbers. The April 2006 census recorded that Britishmarker nationals made up 9% of the town's population.

Kinsale is a popular holiday resort for Irish and foreign tourists which is known for its many gourmet restaurants and leisure activities - including yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a noted school of English. The town is compact with a quaint air of antiquity in the narrow intersecting streets. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre which attracts sailing enthusiasts. A number of hotels cater for the tourists. The town is noted for its eating establishments, and holds a "Gourmet Festival" annually. The celebrity chef Keith Floyd was previously a resident of Kinsale.

Prominent buildings in the town include St. Multose's church (Church of Ireland), St. John the Baptist (Roman Catholic), the Market House and the so-called French Prison (or Desmond Castle).

On October 8, 2005, Kinsale became Ireland's second Fair Trade Town, with Clonakiltymarker being the first.


In 1601, Kinsale was the site of a battle in which English forces defeated an Irish/Spanish force, led by the princes Hugh Roe O'Donnell and Hugh O'Neill. Following this battle the Flight of the Earls occurred in which a number of the native Irish aristocrats, including the Earls of Tyrone and Tir Conaill abandoned their lands and fled to mainland Europe.

In 1690, James II of England and Ireland, following his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, departed to France.

Charles Fortmarker, located at Summer Covemarker and dating from 1677, is a fortification that guards the entrance to Kinsale harbour. It was built to protect the area and specifically the harbour from use by the Frenchmarker and Spanishmarker in the event of a landing in Ireland. James's Fortmarker is located on the other side of the cove, on the Castleparkmarker peninsula. An underwater chain used to be strung between the two forts across the harbour mouth during times of war to scuttle enemy shipping by ripping the bottom out of incoming vessels.

When the RMS Lusitaniamarker was sunk by a Germanmarker U-boat on May 7, 1915, some of the bodies and survivors were brought to Kinsale and the subsequent inquest on the bodies recovered was held in the town's courthouse. A statue in the harbour commemorates the effort.


Bus Éireann provides Kinsale's only means of public transport. Buses regularly operate from Kinsale to Cork City, with most of these going through Cork Airportmarker on the way. Kinsale and Bandon are linked by public transport with a bus service provided by West Cork Rural Transport.

Transition towns

Kinsale is the first Transition Town in Ireland. It is a community-based group, supported by Kinsale town council. It looks for sustainable solutions to the challenges of peak oil and climate change. Public meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month. It has taken much guidance from the Kinsale energy decent plan 2021, which has spawned further Transition Towns worldwide.

Sports and community groups

Kinsale Rugby Football Club recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It has a strong underage system , a women's team and competitive squad of players in both the first and seconds junior men's team.

The Kinsale GAA club plays in the Cork South East Division.

The Kinsale Branch of the Red Cross has been in existence since 1939 and is staffed by volunteers, who are present at local events and activities - including the annual Kinsale Sevens By The Sea rugby event. The branch has 2 ambulances which are housed in a purpose built building in Church Lane and crewed by trained volunteers.

Kinsale won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1986.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kinsale is twinned with:

See also


  1. Irish Times 1 July 2008

External links

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