Ah Kinsale. It may have been the very last stop on our Big Ireland Roadtrip Adventure, but it’s always the first place we tell people about. Every. Single Time. In fact, it wasn’t even supposed to be our last stop at all, and given my rigorous planning methods, it goes without saying that if we scratch whole cities off of our itinerary, you better believe it’s worth it.
The town itself is small in relation to what we’re used to here in Canada, but fairly decent sized in comparison to most of the coastal towns along the Wild Atlantic Way. Whereas one night may have been sufficient to get the lay of the land, you really do need two to have enough time to sample all of the amazing restaurants and lively pubs in the area! Unless of course you just wanted to eat and drink non-stop, which sounds like an incredible vacation all on it’s own.
Truth be told though, my draw to the city originally started when I spotted a picture of the famous colourful walkway on my Pinterest feed (pictured above). I loved how the colourful mixture of shops took the coastal colours one step further, and was dying to see what they (and the rest of the town) looked like in person. Of course, I could tell you it didn’t disappoint, and I could show you all the pictures in the world, but first I must tell you one important thing. You must go. It’s very simple really. 🙂
But seriously, the entire town is like something from a movie. The bright colours, the characters on the street, the mixture of locals and tourists alike going about their business. It was so easy to settle into what I could only imagine as the Kinsalan way of life. I could have wandered for hours just popping in and out of shops, and taking beautiful pictures filled with character I know I’ll only find here. And… when I ran out of memory on my camera chip, I dipped into a family run pharmacy to pick up another one.
I’m not sure if it’s an Ireland thing, or a European thing, but I got such a kick over the mixtures of spaces. Convenience stores that were also bars, pharmacies that were also camera shops, pubs that were also bed & breakfasts. It’s a far cry from our franchised, big box, cookie cutter options we have here in North America, and I can honestly say I loved the change.
Some of our best shopping was done in Kinsale (as well as a few stops in Dublin and Clonakilty), and I loved how most of their selection was geared more towards locals than tourists. As with any tourist area, all of the touristy shops seemed to carry the same gimmicky (and often cheaply made) things. It was so nice to pick up a few things that made great gifts, but were also a representation of the town that we got it from. PS Seasalt has become my new favourite European brand, and I picked up one of these handbands, as well as a few ocean inspired bags with the most adorable patterns on them. Their whole ocean-salt-air-blue-skies feel made me want to buy everything they’ve ever made, and I only wish I could find them locally here in Canada!
Where to Stay:
We stayed at both the Rivermount B & B (just outside of Kinsale) and the White House in the middle of town. Both were fantastic, but if we had to pick one, Rivermount is the place to be. Yes, it’s a little ways out of town (5 minute drive or so), but I promise you, it offers all the comforts of home. Which goes a long way when you’ve spent 10 days bumping from town to town in a new country.