Trip Report – Ireland: Day 4 – Kenmare to Kinsale

After a very pleasant evening in Kenmare my wife and I departed around 9:30 for our trip down the coast to Kinsale.  Leaving Kenmare we were presented with two options, an inland route and a coastline route.  We decided on the coastline route and are very thankful we did, it was absolutely beautiful and you have to cross a small mountain range prior to arriving at the coast which is amazing.  Here are a few pictures of the pass:

N71 Roadway Towards Bantry

Another (with me standing on a rock)

One more….(As I am sure you can see, the road was what I would deem “narrow”)

After crossing through the mountains (not truly mountains but not sure how else to describe them) we made our way through some small towns (Bantry, Skibberreen) before proceeding to the tiny coastal town of Castlehaven (* purely because it is a untouched Irish town).  It was set on a very steep hillside that led down to a small bay off of the Atlantic.  It probably isn’t worth a stop but it was fascinating to get to see a “working” fishing village and watch one of the locals prepare his boat. Here is a picture of the small harbor:

Castlehaven Harbor

After stopping in Castlehaven we decided to make our way towards Kinsale as we wanted to be able to spend the afternoon there.  We did make one stop on the way to Kinsale at an abandoned Abbey near the water’s edge.  It really wasn’t all that remarkable but the setting was amazing and it is on the way to Kinsale so that is no reason not to stop.

Abandoned Abbey

Kinsale was approximately 15 KM past this Abbey and we were definitely glad to arrive.  We found a parking spot in the center of town at the parking lot on the water’s edge.  It was approximately 3-4 Euros for 2 hours.  There is a “2-hour limit”, however, if you come back to the Car Park and pay for another parking ticket you can indefinitely stay in the lot as I didn’t see anyone marking cars.  Here are some pictures from Kinsale:

Kinsale Harbor (**** – One of the favorite small towns I have visited)(You can see the tide moving out)

Kinsale Harbor looking out to sea

Street in Kinsale (with my wife posing by flowers for the benefit of my mother-in-law)

We spent approximately 3-4 hours strolling around town and had a late lunch in town at Blue Haven ($$ – Decent food, but not incredible) as the hotel we had booked for the evening was out of town and would not have anything close to it.  As we were leaving town we did notice how much the tide had gone out in that short time period, it was pretty incredible.

As a side note, it is probably not the best idea to try and buy original artwork in Kinsale as it is tremendously expensive.  We went to several different shops and nothing was priced lower than 200-300 euros which I find to be quite high for pretty basic paintings of the town by unknown artists.  Maybe I am just cheap but it might be better to look around elsewhere for paintings of Kinsale.

Low tide Kinsale, Ireland

On our way to the hotel for that evening, The Carlton Kinsale Resort & Spa, we stopped at Charles Fort.  We lucked out in that admission was free the day we were there (first Wednesday of each month) and toured the grounds.  It was a pretty neat ruins from the 1700-1800’s.  There were some good views looking back into Kinsale, see below:

From Charles Fort looking into Kinsale, Ireland

From Charles Fort

After leaving the fort we made our way to the hotel at approximately 4 PM. (The drive from town takes approximately 5-10 minutes)  We had worn ourselves out the previous 3 days so we were looking forward to a quiet evening of relaxation.  This hotel was perfect for that as it was in the middle of nowhere.  The rooms were clean and the staff was friendly.  My wife and I used some AA miles to book the hotel as I was looking to get rid of them.  Below is a picture of the exterior and a picture of our room:

Exterior of Carlton Kinsale Resort and Spa ($$$ – Would recommend for those looking for a relaxing stay)

Our room (I showed the bathroom cause it was really nice and I appreciate a nice bathroom after traveling)

Looking back at the trip, this day was probably one of our favorites as we really liked Kinsale.  In fact, we talked about going back to Kinsale even before we left the city.  I think that says something.

My next post will cover our trip through the heart of Ireland, including Cashel, the Sally Gap and Powerscourt Gardens before I go into detail about our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt.  Look forward to that next week!

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