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Overview

Southwest Cork is rugged and windswept, its rocky coastline marked by deep, narrow bays and scenic peninsulas jutting into the Atlantic. Set around a large natural harbor on the River Bandon estuary, Kinsale is one of Ireland's loveliest towns. While this yachting capital is famous for its gourmet restaurants, international food festival and sailing events, it's also full of handsome, historic buildings, such as Desmond Castle and Charles Fort, with wonderful views over the town. Clonakilty has colorful shopfronts, beautiful sandy beaches, and the delightful West Cork Model Railway Village which depicts a 1940s market day in miniature. ...

Southwest Cork is rugged and windswept, its rocky coastline marked by deep, narrow bays and scenic peninsulas jutting into the Atlantic. Set around a large natural harbor on the River Bandon estuary, Kinsale is one of Ireland's loveliest towns. While this yachting capital is famous for its gourmet restaurants, international food festival and sailing events, it's also full of handsome, historic buildings, such as Desmond Castle and Charles Fort, with wonderful views over the town. Clonakilty has colorful shopfronts, beautiful sandy beaches, and the delightful West Cork Model Railway Village which depicts a 1940s market day in miniature. The Drombeg Stone Circle, dating to the 2nd century BC, stands outside Rosscarbery. From Schull, drive out along the rocky peninsula to Mizen Head, the most southwesterly point in Ireland. The narrow Sheep's Head Peninsula is another spectacular drive, or walking route. Historic Bantry House overlooks Bantry Bay. From Glengarriff, with its lush woodlands, there are boat trips to the gardens on Garinish Island. The Beara Peninsula offers yet another stunning scenic drive, with brightly painted villages contrasting with the rugged Caha Mountains and shoreline.

Donna Dailey
About the Expert

Donna Dailey is the author of Thomas Cook’s Ireland driving guide, coauthor of DK’s Back Roads Ireland and several other titles, as well as the author of Thomas Cook’s HotSpots Costa Blanca and a contributor to AA Publishing’s Key Guide Spain.

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Donna Dailey for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Kinsale is a town in County Cork, Ireland. 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.
  • Language: English, Gaelic
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, autumn, October for the Kinsale Food Festival