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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,606 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
Google
  • Beautiful historic place with lovely views. Great day out if you get nice weather and get there early. Wrap up warm on the cold days. The fort has been open to the public for some years now and it is a shame that no great improvements have been made to the structure or to the displays. The OPW seem to reinvest the minimum of money to the site with the minimum of preservation. Tours are not always available and the opening times on Google are not up to date. Closed today 12th November at 5 instead of 6.
  • Wonderful locale. The fort is excellent but the environment is great if you also want a dip in the shallow sea whilst staring at this impressive building.
  • The history is amazing... And not what you'd expect. Great tour guides make the best of this storied place.
  • 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.
  • We had an interesting tour of the fort in the morning. Our guide was really professional, but above it was evident how much he loved his work. The fort is really well-kept, and there's plenty to see.

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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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