The story of the Old Presbytery began in the eighteenth century, with the house dating back to pre-1750. This makes it older than the countries of America and Australia as we know them today! The house was built by a Spanish merchant who settled in the booming port town of Kinsale. In those days, Kinsale was one of the most important naval towns in Europe and was visited by traders from far and wide, it's streets bustling with merchants trading butter, linen, pork and of course, whiskey!
The story goes that the house was bequeathed to the Catholic Church by the childless proprietor around the time of Catholic Emancipation in 1829. It remained in the Catholic Church for about 150 years, as the home of the parish priest. The house stood during many interesting times, from the Great Irish Famine, when millions of Irish people emigrated to England and America, to the Irish War of Independence, which saw the Irish win their freedom.
What was known as the Presbytery by generations of Kinsale people (the Presbytery being the Catholic priest's house) became the Old Presbytery when the priests moved to a new house close by. Since then, it has been upgraded and extended while still retaining its character and charm. As Fionn Davenport, Lonely Planet Author and Travel Expert, put it "The Old Presbytery has gracefully moved into the 21st century with a careful refurbishment that maintains its character without pushing it into the 'batty old dowager' category. The timeless pine furniture contrasts with the refitted bathrooms.