I couldn’t tell you how happy I was to arrive in Kinsale. Our ambitious, six-day excursion across the Irish countryside was well worth it. ‘Cause after everything else there’s nothing quite like resting your weary, explorin’ head two nights in a row.
Side note: my husband and I have realized we’ve never taken a relaxing, chill-by-the-poolside vacation. After nine and a half years, we’re remedying that in September with a nine-day trip to Bermuda. Not gonna lie, pretty stoked. 🙌🏻
Back to it! Accommodations. We were greeted by our gregarious and deliciously pleasant innkeeper, Ann, as soon as we stepped foot into our bed and breakfast, the Pier House Hotel. Coastal, vast, and quite charming, our rooms were equipped with a unique motif, ample square footage, heated bathroom floors, the coziest beds, and a fine-sized balcony with a bamboo privacy fence. It was heavenly.
Arriving in town moments before sunset, Ann directed us to a quaint and classy seafood joint in town, Max’s, which was just across the street from our courtyard’s southwest entrance. We dined yet again on some of the most delectable seafood we’ve ever had—a medley of mussels, scallop and prawns truffle pasta, sea bass, hake (cod/whiting family), wild duck casserole, and way too many desserts.
With full bellies, we pranced over to Dalton’s to appease our hankering for traditional Irish music. The band was feeling it that night—stomping their feet something fierce with smiles on their faces. The crowd went wild (for an Irish pub, of course). We made friends from near and far (even from Connecticut!) and one gal gave us a quick course on Irish dancing. I failed miserably.
The local bars close down just after midnight. We were barely three sheets to the wind. I convinced our crew to attempt buying a bottle of wine from a local Malaysian restaurant closing up shop for the night. We were victorious.
Later we came to find out this same restaurant—whose name we cannot remember, dined at twice AND it’s not on the Google Maps—has the damn finest spring rolls you’ll ever put in your mouth. It’s on Main Street on the alley corner between Emmet Place and Market Lane. Go there. Eat your heart out.
We popped into one last establishment, which shall remain nameless, for a quick, last-minute mega pint. Long story short, the barkeep thought we were hotel guests. Needless to say, when the manager found out we weren’t staying there and we got the good ol’ Irish boot.
The next morning we roused rather early to enjoy an early breakfast. The b+b reviews gave us great anticipation, and they were right. Chris enjoyed a traditional Irish breakfast and it was salmon and eggs for me. ‘Twas succulent. 🐟
We readied for a morning stroll about the town. The sun was bright and rising (I could hardly believe how much sunshine we got on the Emerald Isle). Kinsale is so bright and cheery and the sunshine just amped it up. Even the painter matched the brightly-colored shop he was painting.
Apparently boats stay anchored at low tide as well.
Our crew convened for a jaunt over to Charlesfort, a late 17th century star shaped fort on Summer Cove. For €5.00 you can walk the grounds, jump on a tour or caw at the many resident birds. My husband tried to pull a quick one on me, hiding in one of the many dark caverns where a pigeon in a small crevice was living. That bird scared the living shit outta him. Now that’s karma.
Most of the ruins are slowly withering, but a few central buildings have been completely rehabbed, one of which is the fort’s simple and well-designed museum. The more you read, the more you learn that the Irish were just too nice to win any wars. 🤷🏻♀️
We strolled down the block to The Bulman, but the doors didn’t open until 12:30PM. The lifestyle in Ireland is completely different than ours. Hubby did some research: the average Irish person works about 29 hours a week, makes a 47K salary and abstains from weekend work if it can wait. They prioritize family and social life.
This is a bandwagon I can hop on.
We drove a few minutes down the road photographing pretty panoramas until we made it to The Spaniard. A “hillside boozer” according to Google, this thatched roof bar was pretty busy for a 12 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. We chatted by the fire, overhearing Irish lads regale various tales whilst making our own.
After a couple of hours, we hightailed it outta there. I was on a mission to visit The Canvas Works, a bustling little print shop with bold city posters and an online framing service to boot. Patrick and Tony were hard at work with the launch of their new website. I chatted with Patrick for a while about my current project at the time—my desert chic guest room—and we partnered up with the most INCREDIBLE posters from our Irish journey to-date. I have no favorite, I love them all.
While I wheeled-and-dealed, the travel squad was over at Dino’s, a family seafood restaurant and “takeaway” in the heart of town. I made it just in time to snarf some fish n’ chips. YUMMM-EE. Afterwards, us gals retreated for a short bit our bed and breakfast while the gents browsed the shops and returned with two matching scully caps. Our hearts melted with joy.
For our last supper, we made reservations at the happening tapas and wine bar, The Black Pig. We dined on small bites—charcuterie, pâté and shucked oysters with a fancy house cocktail (or two). The seasonal menu is regularly changing, so be prepared for something unexpectedly delish.
The rest, shall we say, is history. We enjoyed each other’s company for one more night about the town—which was hilarious indeed—and made our way back to Dublin on the three-hour drive first thing in the morning. After all that sunshine, it poured all day and I’m pretty sure Ireland was sad to see us leave. We can’t wait to get back. And for $250 round trip on Norwegian, that might happen sooner rather than later.
Thanks for tuning into my first travel series!!
Check out Dublin (Part I) and Galway + Cliffs of Moher (Part II).
Bed + Breakfast
Pier House Hotel
1 Pier Rd, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 4169
Food + Drink
Max’s | Reservations Recommended
48 Main St, Town-Plots, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 2443
3 Market St, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 7957
The Bulman Bar
Summercove, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 2131
Scilly, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 2436
Pier Rd, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 4561
The Black Pig | Reservations Recommended
66B Lower O’Connell St, Town-Plots, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 4101
Sites + Shops
Summercove, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 2263
The Canvas Works
20 Main St, Town-Plots, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 470 0972
n, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 85 734 2004www.mamukko.ie
GlenAran (Weavers of Ireland)
15 Market St, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork, P17 D409, Ireland
+353 21 477 3384
Fat Face UK
12 Main Street, Emmet Place, Sleveen, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
+353 21 477 4112