Charles Fort, Kinsale

4.6
A fine example of a star-shaped military structure, Charles Fort once served as an important part of a waterfront defense system designed to resist cannon attacks. Built in the 1670s on the site of a medieval castle, the fort remained in use until 1922, playing a key role in some of the most important battles in Irish history. Two giant bastions, the fort's main features, overlook the water, while three others face inland. To learn the history behind the fort's weather-beaten walls and see what remains of the old military barracks and support facilities, join a daily guided tour, available year-round. The tour involves a walk on rocky terrain, so bring appropriate footwear. Use our Kinsale trip itinerary website to arrange your visit to Charles Fort and other attractions in Kinsale.
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Charles Fort Reviews
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4.5
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  • August 17, 2017
    Nice fort with a great view. We liked it. You can easily walk around and enjoy this fort, which is in surprisingly good shape. From here you can also start the nice "Scilly walk" to Kinsale Downtown (...  more »
  • August 16, 2017
    Place is huge and really nice to walk around. Not a huge amount of info at each building to explain what is what but still all in good condition considering how old they are!  more »
  • August 16, 2017
    Charles Fort is in Summercove, beside Kinsale. The beautiful costal walk from Kinsale takes about 30mins. Views from the fort out to the mouth of the harbour and back into Kinsale are wonderful. The f...  more »
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  • July 1, 2017
    A great day out for the family. What you get for the entrance fee is completely worth it. There are exhibitions with information about the history of the site and short video clips to keep all entertained. Walking through the Fort can feel like a maze as there are so many buildings and ruins that it can be difficult to keep track of where you are. You can walk along the edges of the Fort and enjoy the spectacular views of Kinsale. The staff are very friendly and there to answer any questions one might have. There is a cafe on site to indulge in a cup of coffee or treat yourself to lunch. Would highly recommend.
  • July 4, 2017
    We were lucky enough to arrive just before the tour started which was very interesting. Would recommend it. Loved it all. Thank you to our tour guide also :)
  • May 27, 2017
    Definitely worth the 5€ entrance fee. Really nice place to visit, lots of history. It's a 40 minute walk from Kinsale but it's a nice walk. I would highly recommend it and would go again.
  • February 14, 2017
    This was fantastic. So much to walk around, so many incredible ruins to see and walk THROUGH. We were warned it might be closed and we'd just see it from the outside, that alone would have been cool, but it was open and walking through each portion of it was AMAZING. And all of it is right alongside the water, making it an absolutely beautiful setting. There is one and only one thing I point out as a flaw. There is so much history there and so many things and stories to tell, that it was really frustrating that there was no tour offered. We asked and they apparently do it at busier times of year. Okay, I get that, but then create an AUDIO guide at least. Add signs on each part that show what room it is, there was so little information while walking around it was really limiting. Yes there was information before you started but this could be one of my favorite tours of all time if it was explained to me along the way, I really hope they do something about it, I could see this becoming like the Tower of London tour where people in costume take you around and tell you stories at each part, it would draw loads of crowds. Just a really missed opportunity, because it's an awesome site.
  • July 4, 2017
    Our guide was very knowledgeable about Irish🍀 history. Very interesting place!

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Where to stay in Kinsale

If you visit the charming fishing village of Kinsale, opt for a place by the water rather than the center. It should be easy to find accommodations along the picturesque harbor, where a majority of the village's hotels are located. From here you will enjoy scenic views of the coast and easily be able to walk to the town's center. Budget travelers can find affordable guest homes away from the shoreline or outside of the town center. Visitors wanting more luxury will be able to find a few beautiful spa or upscale hotels.
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