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Cionn tSáile
Skyline of Kinsale
Kinsale is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Cork
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Urban 2,198
 • Rural 2,695
Irish Grid Reference W637506

Kinsale (; Irish: Cionn tSáile) is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland, which also has significant military history. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257, which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and when the boating fraternity arrive in large numbers. Kinsale is in the Cork South–West (Dáil Éireann) constituency, which has five seats.

Kinsale is a popular holiday resort for Irish and overseas tourists.[1] Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a school of English. The town is compact with a quaint air of antiquity in the narrow streets. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre.

The town is known for its restaurants, and holds an annual "Gourmet Festival". Chef Keith Floyd was previously a resident of Kinsale.[2]

The towns Community School has been awarded the "Best School in the Republic of Ireland" twice.

Prominent historical buildings in the town include St. Multose's church (Church of Ireland) of 1190, St. John the Baptist (Catholic) of 1839, the Market House of c. 1600 and the so-called French Prison (or Desmond Castle - see Earls of Desmond, prominent in the history of Munster) of c. 1500. Charles Fort, a partly restored star fort of 1677, is in nearby Summercove. See also

On 8 October 2005, Kinsale became Ireland's second Fair Trade Town, with Clonakilty being the first.


  • History 1
  • Transport 2
  • Transition towns 3
  • Sports and community groups 4
  • Entertainment 5
  • Government and politics 6
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 6.1
  • Development 7
  • People from or associated with Kinsale 8
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Kinsale is known for its brightly coloured shops.

In 1333, under a charter granted by King Edward III of England, the Corporation of Kinsale was established to undertake local government in the town.[7] The corporation existed for over 500 years until the passing of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840, when local government in Kinsale was transferred to the Town Commissioners who had been elected in the town since 1828. These Town Commissioners became the Kinsale Council under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 and the Kinsale Town Council existed until 2014 when this layer of local government was abolished in Ireland as part of measures to reduce Ireland's budget deficit following the financial crisis of 2008-2010 (see Post-2008 Irish economic downturn). It returned two members to the Irish House of Commons prior to its abolition in 1800.

Kinsale has significant military history. In 1601, Kinsale was the site of a battle at the end of the Nine Years War in which English forces led by Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy defeated a rebel Irish force, led by the princes Hugh Roe O'Donnell and Hugh O'Neill, which was allied with forces of the Spanish empire of Philip III of Spain and Portugal.[8] Following this battle the Flight of the Earls occurred in which a number of the native Irish aristocrats, including the Earls of Tyrone and Tir Conaill, abandoned their lands and fled to mainland Europe. Shortly after the battle, James's Fort was built to protect the harbour.

In 1649 Prince Rupert of the Rhine declared Charles II king of England, Scotland and Ireland at St Multose Church in Kinsale upon hearing of the execution of Charles I in London by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War (see also regarding Prince Rupert and his fleet at Kinsale).

Charles Fort, located at Summer Cove and dating from 1677 in the reign of Charles II, is a bastion-fort that guards the entrance to Kinsale harbour. It was built to protect the area and specifically the harbour from use by the French and Spanish in the event of a landing in Ireland. James's Fort, which dates from the reign of James I, is located on the other side of the cove, on the Castlepark peninsula. An underwater chain used to be strung between the two forts across the harbour mouth during times of war to scuttle enemy shipping by ripping the bottoms out of incoming vessels.

In 1690, James II of England (James VII of Scotland) and Ireland departed to France from Kinsale, following his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne by William III of England (also Stadtholder William III of the House of Orange-Nassau) after the Glorious Revolution (or Revolution of 1688) in England against the background of wars involving France under Louis XIV.

From 1694 Kinsale served as a supply base for Royal Navy vessels in southern Ireland, and a number of storehouses were built; it was limited to smaller vessels, however, due to the sandbar at the mouth of the river.[9] Kinsale's naval significance declined after the Royal Navy moved its victualling centre from Kinsale to Cork harbour in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars in the period of France's First Empire.

When the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat of the German Empire on 7 May 1915 during the First World War, some of the bodies and survivors were brought to Kinsale and the subsequent inquest on the bodies recovered was held in the town's courthouse.[10] A statue in the harbour commemorates the effort. The Lusitania memorial is at Casement Square in Cobh, to the east of Cork city.


Bus Éireann provides Kinsale's primary means of public transport. Buses regularly operate from Kinsale to Cork City, with most of these stopping at Cork Airport on the way. Kinsale and Bandon are linked by public transport with a bus service provided by East Cork Rural Transport.

Transition towns

Kinsale is the first Transition Town in Ireland. It is a community-based group, supported by Kinsale town council. It looks for sustainable solutions to the challenges of peak oil and climate change. Public meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month. It has taken much guidance from the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan 2021, which has spawned further Transition Towns worldwide.[11]

Sports and community groups

The Saile sports and leisure centre is situated opposite the Kinsale Community School overlooking the Bandon River. The Sáile Sports & Community Centre Project is an initiative by the KRD Community Association, a non profit sporting body made up of local activists committed to better the lives of the residents of Kinsale and its environs.[12]

Phase 1 includes four x 5 a-side all weather pitches, tennis court, basketball court and community garden opened by President Mary McAleese in October 2010.

Phase 2 will be the Sports and Community Centre. This will include an indoor sports/community hall, changing rooms and community meeting rooms with a kitchenette.

Kinsale Yacht Club (KYC) began in 1950 and today has become a lively sailing club with events for all ages of sailor and social activities throughout the year. Junior sailing includes Optimists, Lasers and 420's. There are Squibs, International Dragons and A-Class Catamarans as well as three Cruiser Classes (Class I, II and III).[13]

Kinsale Rugby Football Club recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.[14] It has a strong underage system, a women's team and competitive squad of players in both the first and seconds junior men's team.

The Kinsale GAA club plays in the Carrigdhoun division of Cork GAA.[15] They won the Cork Football Intermediate County Championship in 2011, the first time since 1915.

Kinsale Badminton[16] club which is affiliated with Badminton Ireland is based in St Multose Hall Kinsale. It caters for both adult and juvenile players and enters teams in Cork county Leagues and Cups.

The Kinsale Branch of the Red Cross has been in existence since 1939 and is staffed by volunteers, who are present at local events and activities – including the annual Kinsale Sevens by the Sea rugby event.[17] The branch has 2 ambulances which are housed in a purpose built building in Church Lane and crewed by trained volunteers.

Kinsale regularly does well in the Irish Tidy Towns Competition and was the overall winner in 1986.


Kinsale hosts an annual jazz festival, which takes place during the last weekend of October. Many pubs and hotels in the town host concerts by jazz and blues groups throughout the weekend, including Monday (which is a bank holiday in Ireland).[18][19]

Government and politics

The town is governed by the nine member Kinsale Town Council. As of the 2009 elections, the council had two members each from Fianna Fáil (centre right), Fine Gael (centre right), and the Labour Party (centre left) and a member from Sinn Féin (left wing), the Green Party (centre left) and an Independent. The current mayor is Tony Cierans (Labour) . The town forms part of the Bandon electoral district on Cork County Council and is part of the Cork South-West constituency for Dáil Éireann elections.

Twin towns – Sister cities

Kinsale is twinned with:


The largest planned development, of 2.9 ha, near the historic centre is the re-started Convent Garden scheme promoted by Cumnor Construction since the early 2000s (Cork County Council planning application 04/53026 see ). This involves a combination of conversion of the austere grey rendered concrete former St Josephs Convent of the Sisters of Mercy on Ramparts Lane into 79 apartments and building in the grounds 94 new build houses, with 295 car spaces, according to the Bord Pleanala inspectors report of 2005. After several years of inactivity, work on building more of the new units recommenced in 2015, following a planning site notice of December 2014. See also , a YouTube presentation of the scheme, by the architects, and the developer and construction firm.

For a period in 2007-9, a circa 18,000 sqm hotel, apartment and retail development was promoted by Fuschia Investments Limited, a company linked to Howard Holdings plc for the prominent site near the tourist office between Pier Road and Long Quay (Planning Register Reference Number: 04/53030) - see . Scott Tallon Walker Architects undertook a design study for the development . However, by 2011 the site had reverted to its use as a surface car park. The potential scheme now appears to be controlled by Clowater Asset Management Limited, of Cork.

People from or associated with Kinsale


See also


  1. ^ "On Census Day, April 23rd 2006". Ireland News: Top Story. Irish Times. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009.  Irish Times 1 July 2008
  2. ^ Davenport, F.; Charlotte, Beech; Downs, T; Hannigan, D; Parnell, F; Wilson, N (2006). Lonely Planet Ireland. Lonely Planet Publications.  
  3. ^ "Online Historical Population Reports Website". University of Essex. 2007. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  4. ^ "NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "Appendix to the First Report ...: Southern, midland, western and south ... - Great Britain. Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in Ireland". Google Books. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  8. ^ "Kinsale Past and Present". West Cork Travel. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet: Engineering and architecture of the Royal Navy's bases, 1700-1914. Swindon, UK: English Heritage. 
  10. ^ "Kinsale". Eircom. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Lawrence, Felicity (7 April 2007). "Article on Transition Towns". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Sáile Sports and Leisure". saile sports and leisure. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kinsale Yacht Club". Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Kinsale RFC". Kinsale RFC. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "Kinsale GAA Club". Kinsale GAA. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  16. ^ "Kinsale Badminton Club". Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Kinsale Red Cross – About Us". Kinsale Red Cross. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Something For the Weekend – Kinsale".  
  19. ^ "Kinsale Jazz Festival". Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "Helpful Links for Visitors: Sister Cities". City of Newport. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  21. ^ "The Mumbles Reporter". February 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  22. ^

External links

  • Official Website
  • Official iPhone and Android Mobile Application
  • The UnOfficial Website
  • Kinsale History Society
  • Kinsale Lifeboat Station
  • Kinsale Sports & Community Centre
  • Kinsale & District Newsletter
  • Transition Town Kinsale
  • The Tidy Towns of Ireland "Celebrating 50 years"
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