Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork

Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork

Updated On: November 08, 2023 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Kinsale is a beautiful seaside town and historical seaport, in the south of County Cork. Kinsale marks one of the end points of the Wild Atlantic Way, so if you take the coastal trip around the West of Ireland you may find yourself situated in this picturesque town at the end of your journey. While here, why not enjoy everything that Kinsale has to offer? 

You can check out Kinsale’s official website for information on accommodation options and much more, but while you’re here, why not have a look at the best things to do in Kinsale!

In this article we will explore:

  • Places to visit in Kinsale
  • Activities to do in Kinsale
  • Restaurants in Kinsale
  • Pubs in Kinsale

Places to visit in Kinsale

Ardbrack View Point

If you want spectacular views of the town, Ardbrack View Point offers stunning panoramic views of Kinsale and the iconic landmarks that feature on this list. You can enjoy a scenic walk up to the point which is a fun activity in and of itself. Time it right, and you can watch a sunrise or sunset at the edge of Ireland.

The Dock Beach

The Dock is a small sheltered beach in Kinsale, perfect on a nice sunny day. A stone’s throw away from the beach is James Fort, a ruin located on the nearby grasslands. You’ll also see Charles Fort across the harbour. 

There’s plenty of water sports and activities to enjoy on the beach including kayaking and SUP rentals. Or if you prefer to relax on holidays, head to the Dock Bar at the beach entrance.

There are a surprising number of secluded beaches to find in Kinsale, you can check out more beaches here.

The Mast/Kinsale Harbour

Kinsale has a beautiful waterfront, overlooking the river Bandon which flows into the Celtic Sea. At the Harbour, history lovers can visit the Galleon Mast from. It was created in 2001 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Kinsale. The Mast boasts breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding hills. Many tourists visit this location to simply observe the fishing trawlers and boats sail in and out of the harbour.

Charles Fort

Charles Fort is a 17th century star-shaped military fortress. Located on the water’s edge the site is beautifully preserved and worth a visit when you’re near the Harbour.

Amazing Drone Footage of the Harbour and Charles Fort

Where to get the perfect photo

The locations above are all great spots for a photo, but here are a few more colourful locations that will make the perfect backdrop for your holiday pictures

Market Lane

Market Lane is one of the colourful winding streets in Kinsale.

Street Art in Kinsale

Stoney Steps

History and art lovers will both enjoy visiting the Stoney Steps. That is because these steps have been painted to feature the famous pirate Anne Bonny, a Caribbean pirate queen who was born in the town over 300 years ago.

Anne was not the only Irish pirate queen to make history, we actually have a full article dedicated to Grace O’Malley, or Granuaille/ Gráinne Mhaol, the pirate queen of Connacht.

Mural at the Spaniard

An Irish artist (@ominous_omin on Instagram) has created an incredible mural of Kinsale poet Desmond O’Grady. If you are in the area why not check it out and get a cool photo of the amazing artwork!

Activities to do in Kinsale 

Golf Club / Old Head of Kinsale

The Old Head of Kinsale is a headland near the town with an ancient castle dating back many millenia. The castle dates as far back as at least the 3rd century, while the current iteration was established in the 1223 century.

Old Head is part of the Old Head golf course, which operates seasonally from April. If you are a golf lover you may wish to play on this beautiful course located on the edge of Europe at the Wild Atlantic Way.

Old Head Lighthouse

Food and Drink in Kinsale

There are plenty of restaurants, cafés, takeaways and bars in the area; there are so many more amazing options that we couldn’t fit into this article, so we tried our best to highlight the wide variety of food options available. Here are some of our favourites, you can check out the official Kinsale website for more dining options or we would love to hear other recommendations in the comments below!

Restaurants in Kinsale

The Black Pig Winebar

With numerous awards and accolades, The Black Pig serves delicious food and a wide selection of wine. There are over 200 wines by the bottle and 100 by the glass. 

The Black Pig work with Irish wine merchants to source products from artisan vineyards. Staff passionately search for the best and most interesting wines at the most affordable prices so customers can experience a unique wine tasting experience. 

With an ethos of simplicity, comfort and sustainability, the Black Pig Winebar may be the perfect place for you.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
See more on the Black Pig Bar Instagram

Hamlets Street food Gastro Garden

If dining alfresco is your style, Hamlets will suit you down to the ground with a purpose built kitchen, wood fired pizza oven and BBQ. Sounds delicious!

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
Hamlets Street Food & Gastro Garden Instagram


Bastion is a Michelin Star Restaurant that incorporates the best of local Irish ingredients including seafood. Bastion aims to create innovative and modern dishes that are bursting with flavour.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
Bastion Kitchen Instagram

The Supper Club

If you want to enjoy a nice cocktail with your evening meal, the Supper Club will be right up your alley. This restaurant is a great place to meet up with friends for a quick bite or a few drinks.

Next level cocktails are available from the bar, as the chef makes all of syrups, puréés and infusions for the drinks.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
The Supper Club Instagram

Max’s Wine Bar & Seafood Restaurant

You can’t talk about restaurants in a seaside town, without mentioning at least one seafood restaurant. Max’s has been run by couple Anne Marie in the front of house and head chef Oliver since 1999.

Fresh local seafood is combined with Oliver’s creative sauces and specials. A seasonal menu operates. to make the most out of Irish ingredients.

In the month of November the menu focuses on wild game dishes.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
See more on Max’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant Instagram

Finns’ Farmcut

If you’re looking to taste grass-fed Irish beef and lamb, you should head over to Finn’s Farmcut. Using a charcoal oven, to cook its meat, the kitchen only uses pasture reared, free-range and locally sourced meat from Finns own farm and other local farmers.

Irish beef is renowned all over the world for its superb quality and Finns’ Farmcut aims to combine high quality dishes, with a neighbourly ambiance to create great food that is accessible for everyone.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
Finns Farmcut Instagram

Malay Kitchen 

Malay Kitchen brings a taste of Malaysia to Cork. The kitchen is vegetarian-friendly with vegan options also. 

The team’s goal is to combine their cooking expertise with true passion to create high quality, healthy and affordable food. 

Malay Kitchen have also launched their own range of Homemade Malaysian sauces so you can create high quality and authentic Malaysian dishes in the comfort of your own home.

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
Malay Kitchen Instagram

Cafés in Kinsale

Cosy Café

Cosy Café offers breakfast, lunch and coffee options. The café focuses on using the best of local produce and seafood as well as homemade cakes and pastries.

The menu is seasonal, so in the Summer you can expect salads, sandwiches, fish, burgers and chips. After a day of water activities you can warm up with the seafood chowder or the soup of the day with home soda bread (one of the most traditional Irish foods that you should try when visiting Ireland)

The café has nothing to hide, as evidenced by the open kitchen. You can watch your food being prepared in real time by the chefs!

Cosy Café is dog-friendly if you’re bringing a pet with you to the town, there is even a dog bar!

Things to do in beautiful Kinsale, Co. Cork
Cosy Café Instagram

Kinsales Farmer Market

A weekly farmers market is held in the town, selling the best of fresh local produce, hot meals, hot drinks and baked goods.

Pubs in Kinsale 

The Spaniard 

The Spaniard is built on the foundations of an old castle. The pub was built in 1650 on the ruins of the castle and was run by the Coleman family. It has been a famous pub for centuries, offering a homely atmosphere to many sailors and fisherman. 

It was only in the 1960’s that the Castle Bar was renamed as the Spaniard to honour Don Juan d’Aquila, a courageous Spaniard who took a significant part in the battle of Kinsale in 1601. 

With regular live music, the Spaniard is perfect for those looking for a traditional Irish pub in Kinsale

Kitty O’Se’s Bar and Restaurant

Kitty O’Se’s is Kinsales best music pub. Lively conversation, enchanting tunes and welcoming staff will make tourists feel at home in this local family-friendly pub. The Bar and restaurant hosts live music every day of the week, featuring some of Cork’s most talented bands and performers.

Armada Bar 

If you’re looking for a sporting pub, we’d recommend the Armada which shows games on the big screen and hosts a range of pool and darts competitions in house.


If you want to enjoy a good pint with a spectacular view, head to the Bulman bar, a mere 10 metres from the Atlantic ocean!

The Bar also offers pub food and the roaring fire inside will make it difficult to leave!

Final Thoughts:

We hope that you enjoy this Kinsale travel guide. Has it inspired you to visit Cork? Moreover will you be beginning your epic journey of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in this picturesque town, or will you celebrate completing it at the Bulman Bar?

If you are from the area or have visited before, is there anything important that we have left out? Please let us know in the comments below!

While you are here, you may enjoy other articles about Ireland’s hidden gems that are found along the Wild Atlantic Way, including:

Achill Island | Connemara | The Ring of Kerry | Downings Donegal | Things to do in Co. Galway

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