From our special envoy in Kinsale

there are two ways to get to Kinsale. The most amazing is tumbling down by the Irish sea, all sails out, and to discover, in the misty dawn, the black cliffs upright, like ramparts against the onslaught of the waves of suicide bombers who die at their feet in a fight over which time has no outlet.

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In 1974, the third edition of the Solitaire du Figaro, Bernard Pallard has seen the first of these cliffs, turning to the head of the rock in the Fastnet of fateful memory. Number of shells were broken there. On August 14, 1979, a storm of force 10 has slaughtered eighty boats participating in the famous Fastnet Race. Eighteen sailors are dead. Just four-twenty-six boats on the more than three hundred sailing vessels engaged in the competition have the chance to join Plymouth. At the same time, the competitors of the Solitaire, more to the south, are found in dantesque conditions. The skipper Pierre Follenfant, forced to abandon his sinking ship, was saved of accuracy by any other competitor, thanks to the light of his flashlight. All that to say that you do not mess with the waters of the celtic and that the calm of the bay of Kinsale, sheltered in the mouth of the river Bandon, is that the face style of a room in which the cell side flirts with the wildness of the Northern seas.

Golf raised above the sea

The other way to land in Kinsale, is to arrive by plane at the airport of Cork, in the south of the city. Already, it is Ireland in its intimacy natural, far from the hubs tumultuous where the crowds are agitated in front of the counters saturated. Two employees are discussing while having a coffee with a police officer, focus sharp, and the legs strong. A real taxi, two-tone and without age, just behind the single door of exit, wait for the tourist a rare. Thirty-five minutes to reach Kinsale at 35 euros. It is elegant in the correspondence and easy to remember. The narrow road, tight in its down-sides, lush, thick and green from the roots to the treetops, twirling in the valleys. She slips in the manner of the waters of the river with which she plays hide-and-seek, climbing a slope to reveal fields opulent rigorously drawn, like a stroke of charcoal, by hedges half-wild. The sky and low on the horizon, which dips to the fields in a perspective that is intriguing is not duping not the addict of the shores.

Promontory overlooking the sea, Old Head is home to a golf course between sea and sky (bottom). Irish tourism

There is the sea, the promise of the crees strange of the gannet, the silver shimmer of the calm waters and the views breathtaking from the top of the cliffs. Kinsale is an antidepressant geographic. Of these places, whose elegance is to adapt inevitably to your measure, like a suit cut, without being too close to the body, confirming his presence comfortable without imposing it. Kinsale fills the air soothing your lungs, walk your not, knows you cause on its heights without ever losing sight of its spires reassuring. It is nestled under the hills, its harbour lying at his feet like an old dog that would have too much frolicked. With its 5216 inhabitants (official sources of the Central Statistics Office ireland), the village has hardly changed in the last ten years. Tourism, the reputation of the golf course, down over the sea on the Old Head (the old head) that moves as a provocation in the Atlantic, its tables mentioned in the guides and among the most prestigious in Ireland impose it as a kind of Saint-Tropez of the North, which would remain in the off-season.

Hilary Hale, who turns wood in his shop of an artisan of the past three decades on the side of Summercove (on the road that leads to fort Charles), remembers that he has not always been thus: “In the 80s, I had been invited to the dinner to the Yacht Club for the stage of the Solitaire du Figaro. What was on the plate was appalling! At the time, it was not so easy to have good products, apart from those in the fishing. Since then, it has largely improved. The tourists, the owners of the secondary residence, with beautiful houses of the architect snacking on the views, the people of Cork who come here on the weekend have made things move.”

With its facades with shimmering tones, the village retains an authenticity and exotic. Irish tourism

In fact, a healthy emulation keeps the village in its authenticity and exotic, with its houses quaint brightly coloured, with rough buildings of black stone surrounded by wall slate on which everyone is an honor to grow flowers postcard. In the streets, we greet the eye, or a smile. In the car, they take good care to prove to everyone that it is not the center of the world. Just the reverse of a Roman or Parisian. And we must admit that it is quite relaxing. The urban transition is first puzzled by this kindness. And then they slip quickly into the mold. In pubs, the few places where the voices are, often with american accent, the service keeps a good distance careful. The regular customer will come in and exchange two or three platitudes as a sign of welcome. All the more we love the French here. The Solitaire du Figaro is not there for nothing. After the second pint, the stories emerge. The admiration for his adventurers, it is sometimes necessary to help find their room, after a few drunken parties among the Celts of strain and good living of collusion.

Anthony Collins, the boss of the White Lady, a culinary arts institution placed just behind the port, will have fond memories of the “passage of the French”. “It is mostly american tourists here, the French are more rare, but your sailors are of sacred guy,” he says. We organised a few nights great White Lady. They have the sense of celebration, energy and very positive!” Anthony is a child of Kinsale, irish, warm, DJ renowned in the local area, lover of good wines and good food. “Our restaurant has been ranked the best table irish seafood”, ” sliding-t-he to the passage, before discussing it with a couple of tourists walk. “For a nice ride not too difficult? Make a u-turn and take the Scilly Walk. The path runs along the bay, it is beautiful. You can even join the Charles fort!” Customers? “No, I don’t know. But it is like that, here, we speak with people, it is more pleasant, no?” loose with a wide smile Anthony. The answer is unstoppable.

The largest fortified structure of Ireland

Confirm, therefore, the advice of Anthony: the Scilly Walk is a very nice getaway three kilometres away from the vent. Worn by the fragrances of beautifully-tended gardens, and the sea-gulls, which are activated at the stern of a small trawl net, joining the harbour, Charles fort, guarding the entrance of the bay, is easily reached. It is a box star, built on the inspiration of Vauban, and which remains the largest fortified structure in Ireland. Perfectly thought-out to defend, on the water side, with James fort, just in front, he fell in 1690, when it was used as a refuge for supporters of James II, supported by 10,000 soldiers of Louis XIV, landed in the bay of Kinsale. It was besieged by the forces of William of Orange during the thirteen days, five of a barrage of uninterrupted, say the storytellers.

On the path leading to the castle, you can also see a painting on the front of the pub Bulman (very nice stop for lunch). It represents the foot of the Spanish don Juan del Aguila, and recalls another battle of Kinsale. On the 21st of September 1601, a Spanish fleet of twenty-eight ships moved in the harbour irish Kinsale with about 3300 men. They come to support the resistance of the irish to the troops of Elizabeth I who wants to finish the conquest of Ireland. But just a part of the armada of the Spanish general Juan del Aguila was able to get there… Still because of a storm. Finally, after a long siege that the English will win the victory over the troops irish catholic earls of Ulster and the Spaniards, on the eve of Christmas. A deed of arms which préfigura English rule until independence in 1922.

his rivalries and his battles, today there is a nice scenography in the museum of the fort. But when one looks over the ramparts of the curves of the river Bandon caressed by the reassuring glow of the end of the day, one wonders. What is it that has prevented all of his men to lay down their weapons to discuss it calmly, to the pub, with their differences? What is it that has chosen to keep the peace is natural and inevitable, in this small corner of the world?


• GO

By plane via Aer Lingus, 1 h 40 from Paris. Served also for a Nice and Rennes, from may to September.


At Perryville House. In a building dating back to 1820, Georgian style, having belonged to the captain Adam Warren Perry, this 4-star hotel has been tastefully modernized. Twenty-five spacious rooms, breakfasts outstanding and exceptional calm although the hotel is situated in the heart of Kinsale, overlooking the port. From 200 €. Tel.: 00 353 21 477 2731.

• dining

Max’s. Like any good port, which is respect, Kinsale is an open city. The Max’s, the chef is French and the table merges the inspirations maritime and regional cuisine with fresh products and a nice balance on the plate. Count 50 € menu with a glass of wine. 48 Main Street. Tel.: 00 353-21-477-2443.

Poet’s Corner. Simone and Ralph offer in this lovely tea room of earthly food, and books. Cakes, scones, fruit pies and quality coffee can be enjoyed while dipping in the library extravagant. Ideal for a shelter in the time of a drizzle. Salads and sandwiches are between 5 and 9,50 € ; coffee Kinsale: 2,40 €. 44 Main Street.

The White Lady. This is a comfortable hotel (2-star), but above all a renowned restaurant, member of the Kinsale Good Food Circle that brings together the best restaurants of the port. In a pub atmosphere, elegant, one can taste excellent products of the sea. Nice card of wines. From 60 € the menu. Lower O’connell St.


Demon Ryan was named best tourist guide of Ireland and knows the history of Kinsale. The tour begins in the morning at 10: 30 a.m. in front of the tourist office. 5 € for adults, free for children.

specific Programme of entertainment for the Lonely Urgo The Figaro until 9 June.


Ireland tourist Board.


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