Kinsale is steeped in history. The medieval town has played a leading role in the history of Ireland throughout the years. The ghosts of Cromwell, Spanish sailors and Irish Earls from the ancient Gaelic order have all left their mark on the town, and everywhere there are reminders of the past in the trendy, cosmopolitan town Kinsale is today.
Charles Fort is one of the greatest surviving examples of a seventeenth Century star shaped fort. The fort was the site of the famous 1601 "Battle of Kinsale" which steered the course of Irish history. It also offers amazing views of Kinsale. Open all year round, regular guided tours available.
Desmond Castle is right across the road from the Old Presbytery. It was built in about 1500 by Maurice Beach Fitzgerald, Earl of Desmond. Over the years, it has had many uses including serving as a Customs House, Prison and Workhouse. Today, the Museum details the history of the Wine Geese; the story of Ireland's wine links with Europe and the wider world. Open April - September.
James fort was built in 1602, across the water from Charles Fort. Together these forts guarded the narrow harbour entrance of Kinsale. This Fort has not been restored but the ruin is open to the public for viewing free of charge.
This medieval church dates back to 1190 and has remained in continuous use to the present day. It was in this church that Prince Rupert proclaimed Charles II as King, after hearing the news that Cromwell had had King Charles I executed in London. Many of the Church's original features survive.
The Parish priest of this Church resided in The Old Presbytery over a hundred years. The church was built in 1839 and designed by Brother Michael Augustine, who also built a number of churches in Cork city. The Hugh Russell organ in the church was originally built in 1809 and is believed to be the oldest organ in regular use in Ireland today.
The Courthouse dates from about 1600. In this building the Kinsale Town Corporation and Sovereign conducted their affairs. The courthouse was also used for ceremonial occasions in the 18th century. On Monday 10th, 1915, the Courthouse was used for the inquest into the loss of the Lusitania, which sank off the coast of Kinsale. Captain Turner gave evidence before a jury of shopkeepers and fishermen. Today, the Courthouse serves as a regional museum.