Located in the south of Ireland, Kinsale is a lovely destination to spend time in during your Ireland vacation. The area is a popular holiday resort for both Irish and foreign tourists, offering a beautiful setting for outdoor leisure activities like yachting and golfing. You’ll also find great pubs, museums, art galleries and traditional Irish culture throughout Kinsale. Due to its location, Kinsale is a great destination for staying several nights and taking day trips. We’ve put together our top 5 day trips to take from Kinsale.
1. Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny
The stunning Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most breathtaking archaeological sites. You’ll find it during your 2-hour drive from Kinsale to Kilkenny. Located on a prominent green hill overseeing the Tipperary countryside, the Rock of Cashel is only a 5 minute stroll from the town centre. Explore this landmark, formerly known as St. Patrick’s Rock, before heading north and arriving in the medieval town of Kilkenny. Venture around at your leisure, and visit places like Kilkenny Castle and Jerpoint Abbey. Be sure to tour the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny while you’re in the area.
2. Killarney National Park
Not far from Kinsale is the iconic Killarney National Park – a gem among Ireland’s already beautiful landscape and scenery. Drive north and prepare for a day of adventure. Take a Killarney Jaunting Car tour provided by Irish locals whose family have lived in Killarney for more than a century. You’ll hear uncommonly shared stories and myths of life in Killarney and Irish culture as a whole. These Jaunting Cars go where cars cannot, so you’ll have ample opportunity for taking that special trip photo to share with your friends and family back home. Tour Muckross House & Gardens – an estate seemingly like something out of Downton Abbey. Then go explore Ross Castle with gorgeous views of Lough Leane. After a traditional Irish dinner, you can make your way back to Kinsale for the rest of the evening.
Cobh is stunningly situated along Cork Harbour with colorful buildings and beautiful scenery. This iconic seaside town was once a final port call for millions of Irish emigrating to America and Canada. Cobh is a hub for discovering the stories of ships going across the Atlantic due to crucial parts in Irish history like the Great Famine. It was also the final stopping point of the ill-fated Titanic. You can tour the Titanic Cobh Experience as well as take the Titanic Walking Trail. You can also explore the Cobh Heritage Centre and get a first-hand look on all things emigration-related and more. When you’re not immersing yourself in Cobh’s history, its lively pubs are sure to keep you entertained with great traditional Irish music and plenty of “craic” for locals and tourists alike.
Several hours northwest of Kinsale is Tralee, the largest town in County Kerry. Your drive will be Filled with beautiful scenery as you make your way to places like the Blennerville Windmill, Kerry County Museum and the lovely town centre. You’ll want to have your camera ready when you visit places like the gorgeous Slieve Mish Mountains and Tralee Bay. Tralee is right on the Dingle Peninsula, so if you wish to make this a longer day of driving and sightseeing, it can easily be done.
5. Cork City & Blarney Castle
A half hour north from Kinsale is the cultural hub of Cork, Ireland. Filled with pubs, shops and waterways, Cork City is often referred to by the locals as the ‘real capital of Ireland’. With such a vibrant atmosphere and rich history, you’re sure to want to take a trip from Kinsale to this part of Ireland. Shop around the famous English Market (once visited by the Queen of England, herself), ring the bells at St Anne’s Church and tour the Cork City Gaol. From there, visit Blarney Castle for the chance to tour its beautiful grounds and kiss the Blarney Stone. As legend has it, if you kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, you’ll receive the gift of eloquence. This is a “must” for everyone’s first trip to Ireland.