Weekend Getaway: Old Head Kinsale

Old Head Kinsale, a slice of coastal paradise, protruding more than 3km into the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the Southwest Coast in County Cork, not just famous for its 17th century lighthouse but also a golfer’s paradise. According to trip advisor reviews, “Definitely one not to miss for golfers”.

Last summer 2019, we drove up to Old Head Kinsale for about an hour (56km) and hoped a visit to the lighthouse would be the highlight. Little did I know that it was not open to public anymore. It was once a public attraction until it became a private property of a world class golf course. Such a pity if you’re not a member of the golf course or you don’t have any reservation. Well, there’s a next time to look forward to.

Good news! According to the website of Commissioners of Irish Lights there will be open days at the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse on both Saturday the 28th of May, and Sunday the 29th of May. A shuttle bus service will begin operating at 9:45 am from the Old Head of Kinsale Signal Tower, on both Saturday and Sunday morning, and the final bus each day will leave the Signal Tower at approx. 5:30 pm. There will be a fee of 10euro each. For more information contact the Old Head of Kinsale Signal Tower on 021 – 419 12 85

It didn’t disappoint us though. The picturesque and breathtaking view of the cliffs and the Atlantic ocean were enough to explore and enjoy the weekend. The best way to explore the Old Head is by foot. The Old Head of Kinsale Loop is a gentle 6km walk that takes in a circular route around the head.

The picturesque view of the Atlantic Ocean

The walk will bring you by the mysterious ruins of a fort, which is said to have been built by the Celts around 100BC. It is known as Old Head Castle. So the castle can only be viewed from its landward side; a long wall with several towers, closing off the peninsula of the Old Head of Kinsale.

Downmacpatrick (Old Head Castle)

Nearby is a restored Old Head Signal Tower which was built during the Napoleanic wars in response to the threat of a French invasion. The ground floor hosts information room about the Tower history with a detailed audio visual. The first floor hosts a Lusitania Museum, as this headland is the closest land point to where the ship was torpedoed in 1915. There are stunning panoramic views from the Tower Top.

Old Head Signal Tower

On our way back, we stopped by for a snack at the most charming and colorful village in quaint town of Kinsale. It is probably one of the most famous instagrammable spots in Kinsale. If you hashtag #Kinsale, this vibrant happy corner will always show up. Further down the cobblestone streets you will see a purple bookstore and turquoise blue art gallery. There are shops of all sorts selling local arts and crafts. There, you will find many restaurants and pubs too. Just take your pick!

We ordered pizza and lasagna at The Milk Market Cafe. It was good; lovely fresh crispy thin crust pizza, cooked to perfection in a stone pizza oven. May not be the best in town but we settled here being in the best spot. You can sit outside the courtyard for a nice atmosphere and bright background.

Afterwards, we headed to a 17th century military architecture known as Charles Fort to see a piece of history, though it was our second time there, the views from the site across the harbor to Kinsale on clear days are pretty spectacular. Just be mindful of the narrow roads going to the fort.

Heading back, we stopped by at the Viewpoint. It’s absolutely perfect if you have a cuppa with you while enjoying the present moment.

Indeed, a well spent weekend with our family. Old Head is worth a drive even if you cannot directly access the lighthouse you can still see it and the cliffs around the peninsula are magnificent! Places to pull off and admire the views and great photography stop.

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