Our refrain has been for three days, “that would be a gorgeous view if the sun would just pop out for a minute.” And “that would be a fun walk if the rain would stop.” Kinsale has a lot to offer even on a very wet June weekend. In the sunshine it would be hard to beat!
A medieval town, with bits of the original wall still standing, Kinsale is a touch point in Irish (and British) history. Walking the town you can hardly walk a short block without encountering a historical reference. A small pocket park marks the site memorializing the famine. Another has a monument to the War of Independence. And another to the maritime history of the town. Today it is filled with colorful shops and restaurants catering to tourists.
Situated near the entrance to a long, narrow bay, Kinsale is dominated by its harbor, its fishing fleet and pleasure boats. Working fishing boats still are tied up to the docks (and local restaurants brag about their fresh seafood) Lobster pots set alongside the boats. As we said, it would be incredibly picturesque if the sun were shining.
There are great walks to the north and south of town. The path along the south side of the harbor leaves town, climbs a bit past a group of homes (some quite modern and elegant) and becomes a pedestrian walking path out to Fort Charles. Between the slated-sided and typical whitewashed house, there’s a great view back at the condos lining Pier Road and the Kinsale Yacht Club.
A few kilometers from Kinsale is the Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower. The tower was built as part of an early warning system up the eastern coast of Ireland built to announce any potential invasion by Napoleonic forces in the early 1800’s and has been rebuilt and restored. Today the site also serves as a memorial to the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and the interior of the tower is a small museum. Ships from Kinsale were among the first to the scene after the attack and rescued many of the survivors. The names of those lost are listed around the memorial. On a clear day you can see for miles from the top of the tower. We were a bit surprised the best views and a historic lighthouse are off limits as part of a private golf course. Obviously the tradition here does not match Scotland where even St. Andrews Golf Course was open to non-golfing walkers one day a week.
We kept waiting for the clouds to lift and see the Kinsale in sun light. Never happened, unfortunately. Maybe next time?