Popular with the yachting community, Kinsale is a beautiful little town in southern Ireland, clustered around a harbor. White sails still reflect the sun as small and medium sized sailboats come and go, some preparing for the many sailing competitions held here annually.
In the 17th & 18th centuries, Kinsale was an important naval center. All that remains of that history now is the Charles Fort, one of the finest remaining examples of star-shaped bastion forts common in that time.
In addition to its nautical roots, Kinsale is now also known for its food. In October each year, the town swells with throngs of people coming to town for the Gourmet Festival. In 2013, the country’s longest running food festival will be held from October 11-13…. its 37th year. With the heaviest concentration of restaurants in all of Ireland, you can get just about any dish you want – from seafood to steak and everything in between.
For lunch we tried Fishy Fishy Cafe, a quaint little seafood restaurant very popular with the locals. Loved the look of the place, but we found the food to be uneventful and the service disappointing. Wouldn’t wait in line a second time for this place. Fishy Fishy Café – on Guardwell, next to St. Multoge Church – 021/477-4453
For dinner, we had much better luck at Jim Edwards, a small but lively restaurant and pub. We ate in the quieter area of the pub, and had absolutely tasty grilled salmon with a dill & lemon butter sauce served in a sea shell. Jim Edwards – Market Quay off Emmet Place – 021/477-2541
For evening entertainment, drinks or dinner, you can’t go wrong at Blue Haven. My dinner of Irish coast plaice & scallops with asparagus and tomatoes was terrific. The music was upbeat and entertaining. Everyone drags their chairs and tables into position to enjoy the band and you aren’t pressured into buying drinks. A great, great evening. Irish coast plaice & scallops with asparagus and tomatoes. Blue Haven – 3 Pearse St. – 021/477-2209
To learn more about the town, try either of the walking tours that start at the visitor center. We went with Dermot Ryan and learned more in an hour than we could have ever picked up on our own. He’s been guiding tours for 40 years, so you ask him just about anything related to Kinsale.