kinsale, county cork

Kinsale County Cork

Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland. It is located approximately 25 km south of Cork City, on the south coast and has a population of about 5,500.

Kinsale is a holiday destination for both Irish and overseas tourists. It is known for its restaurants and annual gourmet food festivals. There are a number of beautiful walks around the town, including the Scilly Walk, which leads to Charles Fort.   

Kinsale’s notable buildings include Desmond Castle (c. 1500), James Fort, Charles Fort, Church of St Multose (Church of Ireland, built in 1190), Church of St John the Baptist (Catholic, built in 1839), and the Market House. The 16th-century courthouse building houses the Kinsale Regional Museum, with a variety of displays on local history and information about the 1915 sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

In 1601, a Spanish military expedition landed in Kinsale in order to link with Irish rebel forces and attack England through Ireland.

As a result, the battle of Kinsale took place in which English forces defeated the Irish rebel force led by Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and Red Hugh O’Donnell, two Gaelic princes from Ulster. The Irish forces were allied with the forces of King Felipe III of Spain.

A few years after this battle, on September 1607, Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell abandoned their lands in Ulster and fled to Continental Europe in what became known as the Flight of the Earls. The land was given to English and Scottish settlers in what became known as the Plantation of Ulster.

Shortly after the battle of Kinsale, both James Fort and Charles Fort were built to protect the harbour.

When the ocean liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat on 7 May 1915 on a voyage from New York City to Liverpool during the First World War, 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. The Lusitania memorial is at Casement Square in Cobh, to the east of Cork City.

Bus Eireann provides Kinsale’s primary means of public transport. Buses regularly operate from Kinsale to Cork City, with most of these stopping at Cork Airport on the way.

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