Kinsale is an amazing harbor village on the southern coast of Ireland, and looking back on our entire Ireland adventure, it was probably my favorite place. Amazing scenery and history, surrounded by green fields and stone walls, great walking opportunities and even better restaurants and pubs. Perfect. Next time we come (and there will be a next time), Kinsale will be a place we spend a week or more, so we can explore more of the southern coast.
We started the morning with breakfast at our hotel, a big buffet plus cook-to-order was the perfect start. We walked through old Kinsale, learning about the history of the town. I especially liked seeing how the town grew as the harbor was filled in. How old docks became streets, and how that kind of growth led to today's town of curved and twisty streets. It's a great town, on so many levels.
We spent the late morning touring Charles Fort, which is a star-shaped fort built in the late 1600s. It's beautifully preseved, and one of the best features is a mosaic map that shows all the features of the fort.
After our tour, we walked down to the rocky shore below the fort to find a geocache, then took the Compass Hill walk back to Kinsale. It's been a picture-perfect day so far, sun and white clouds and blue skies, and good company.
The houses along the shore have access to the path, and most have thick shrubs or walls protecting them from random access (they have their own gates to let them access the trail). There were gorgeous views out to the water, flowers and trees and climbing vines. There's also the occasional local pub. We stopped into the Spaniard for a pint of Murphy's and some time with locals... the Irish people are friendly and I love talking with them.
When we walked through town on our tour this morning, we also looked for a likely place for dinner tonight, and Fishy, Fishy came out on top. Great seafood and wine, a really nice place.
Harder to choose was a pub for the rest of the evening. We wanted to spend our last evening listening to traditional music, and decided that Dalton's was the perfect place. When we walked in, there were two empty tables and a lone guy sitting in the corner. We chatted with him, he invited us to sit, and we ended up right next to the group of musicians. It wasn't what I expected, but wonderful. A group of guys with accordians and banjos and percussion instruments, and beautiful voices. There were no microphones, so it was tough to hear the words to any of the songs, even sitting right next to the singers. Several times I finally recognized a song when it was halfway through. Still, we sang and clapped, and it was wonderful. Best of all was when someone in the pub would step forward to sing. The musicians would shush! the crowd, and we'd listen to a local sing acapella. It was an amazing experience.