Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland, which also has significant military history. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257, which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and when the boating fraternity arrive in large numbers.
Kinsale is a popular holiday resort for Irish and overseas tourists. Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a school of English. The town is compact with a quaint air of antiquity in the narrow streets. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre.
The town is known for its restaurants, and holds an annual "Gourmet Festival". Chef Keith Floyd was previously a resident of Kinsale.
Prominent historical buildings in the town include St. Multose's church (Church of Ireland) of 1190, St. John the Baptist (Catholic) of 1839, the Market House of c. 1600 and the so-called French Prison (or Desmond Castle - see Earls of Desmond, prominent in the history of Munster) of c. 1500. Charles Fort, a partly restored star fort of 1677, is in nearby Summercove. See also http://www.kinsale.ie/category/things-to-do/historical-kinsale/
In 1333, under a charter granted by King Edward III of England, the Corporation of Kinsale was established to undertake local government in the town. The corporation existed for over 500 years until the passing of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840, when local government in Kinsale was transferred to the Town Commissioners who had been elected in the town since 1828. These Town Commissioners became the Kinsale Council under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 and the Kinsale Town Council existed until 2014 when this layer of local government was abolished in Ireland as part of measures to reduce Ireland's budget deficit following the financial crisis of 2008-2010 (see Post-2008 Irish economic downturn).
Kinsale has significant military history. In 1601, Kinsale was the site of a battle at the end of the Nine Years War in which English forces led by Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy defeated a rebel Irish force, led by the princes Hugh Roe O'Donnell and Hugh O'Neill, which was allied with forces of the Spanish empire of Philip III of Spain and Portugal. Following this battle the Flight of the Earls occurred in which a number of the native Irish aristocrats, including the Earls of Tyrone and Tir Conaill, abandoned their lands and fled to mainland Europe. Shortly after the battle, James's Fort was built to protect the harbour.
In 1649 Prince Rupert of the Rhine declared Charles II king of England, Scotland and Ireland at St Multose Church in Kinsale upon hearing of the execution of Charles I in London by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War (see also http://bcw-project.org/military/third-civil-war/prince-ruperts-voyages/kinsale regarding Prince Rupert and his fleet at Kinsale).
Charles Fort, located at Summer Cove and dating from 1677 in the reign of Charles II, is a bastion-fort that guards the entrance to Kinsale harbour. It was built to protect the area and specifically the harbour from use by the French and Spanish in the event of a landing in Ireland. James's Fort, which dates from the reign of James I, is located on the other side of the cove, on the Castlepark peninsula. An underwater chain used to be strung between the two forts across the harbour mouth during times of war to scuttle enemy shipping by ripping the bottoms out of incoming vessels.
In 1690, James II of England (James VII of Scotland) and Ireland departed to France from Kinsale, following his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne by William III of England (also Stadtholder William III of the House of Orange-Nassau) after the Glorious Revolution (or Revolution of 1688) in England against the background of wars involving France under Louis XIV.
When the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat of the German Empire on 7 May 1915 during the First World War, some of the bodies and survivors were brought to Kinsale and the subsequent inquest on the bodies recovered was held in the town's courthouse. A statue in the harbour commemorates the effort. The Lusitania memorial is at Casement Square in Cobh, to the east of Cork city.