Destination Inspiration: Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland

Bordered by the River Bandon, this lesser-known Irish harbour town is threaded by a colourful streetscape filled with artisan boutiques and restaurants serving local produce. Consider this a great destination for a mini-break or coastal stop-off on a road-trip across County Cork and Ireland beyond.


Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland

Why now?

This unspoilt town is the southern gateway to Cork and it's our next top spot for a fleeting weekend trip or mini-break. Fringed by a wide bay, Kinsale is crammed with narrow streets and houses painted in shades of fuchsia and marigold that make it as good for those searching for an Instagrammable aesthetic as it is for culture vultures keen to know more about the Emerald Isle.

This is a town best explored on foot, so we recommend visiting Charles Fort. Famed for its striking star-like shape, this rural attraction is a go-to for learning about the history of Kinsale. Its riverside views are pretty spectacular too.

Spend your days strolling around this Tobermory look-alike, stopping for a taste of local fare at one of the Wednesday weekly farmers' markets, or filling your reusable bags in the surrounding boutiques before heading to the harbour for some dolphin and whale watching.

Don't miss…

Visit the family-owned Kinsale Bookshop, stocked with Irish classics and the latest bestsellers arrivals - you'll be unlikely to miss its bright-yellow facade. Keen to take home some local artwork? See what you can find at The Boathouse Gallery.

Where to stay

Bed down at Old Bank House in central Kinsale. This award-winning guest house is chic yet cosy - think marble walls complemented by open fireplaces and a patisserie-peddling café that's a favourite among locals. Coffee and a slice of fudge cake? It's difficult to say no.

Where to go for dinner…

Book an evening spot for at Finn's Farmcut. Its menu is packed with local ingredients, so diners get a true taste of Kinsale. Be aware: the restaurant has a no-phone policy - which may work in your favour if you're not the #foodstagram type.

And for a drink…

Head to the Vista, a wine bar and bistro, with a spacious sun terrace lapped by sea views.

Who to take with you

Take a keen city-breaker with you; they'll appreciate all its visual splendour and won't be disappointed by the lack of sun-soaking opportunities.

When to go

We're all for some cosy pub grub on a wintry day, but you'll want to visit around the August bank holiday to catch the Kinsale Regatta - it's been celebrated for more than 200 years.

Essentials to pack

Kinsale is prone to rainy days; pack this Moncler 4 Simone Rocha floral, embroidered-PVC raincoat designed in homage to Simone Rocha's Irish heritage.

How to get there

Trains from Dublin take just shy of four hours. If you're travelling from Cork city, it's a half-hour drive.

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