Road Trip 2017
Charles fort (also known as New Fort) was constructed from 1677 to 1682, strategically situated overlooking Kinsale harbour and the mouth of the river Bandon. It was constructed as a star shape garrison and was one of the most modern forts for its time, located opposite its older sister James Fort. Both forts where used during the Jacobite war in Ireland, a 13 day siege in 1690 when the fort fell to the Williamites. If held this could have been a big blow to the Williamites campaign.
The fort was then held by the British army until 1921 when it was given back as part of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty following the War of Independence. Unfortunately it was burnt down in 1922 by retreating anti-Treaty forces during the Civil War.
In 1971 the fort was named a national monument and some parts have been restored by the Irish heritage service. Located high up overlooking Kinsale harbour this is a must see location if you are starting the Wild Atlantic drive. Bring your boots and your camera and you will not be disappointed with the diverse walks and scenic pictures. Step into the fort and be taken back in time with the Irish history surrounding this area.
Kinsale which is located within Co. Cork is a beautiful fishing harbour, with typical brightly painted buildings as you will see in most Irish towns. If you enjoy eating out then you are in luck. Kinsale is internationally known for its diverse quality of restaurants, it has been named the Gourmet Capital of Ireland, with a selection of restaurants and bars to suit all needs.
When we traveled to Kinsale we stayed for the night in our motorhome in the parking bay to the right of Charles fort. This is an exposed spot with excellent views of Kinsale harbour but on poor weather days it is worth moving to the lower parking bay around to the left, this provides better protection. If you want to stay in town and enjoy the evening night life, you can camp overnight in Lidl which is a 5 min walk to the center of town. Park up along the back wall and walk up the steps to the rear of the car park, turn left and follow the road down to the center of town. All Lidl stores allow overnight parking for motorhomes across Ireland which is great if you want to have a night out in town. I can also recommend Jim Edwards pub and restaurant where we had an excellent dinner and pint of beer.
If you are travelling north from Kinsale then it is worth taking the Wild Atlantic Way which was created in 2014 by National tourism agency. This starts from Kinsale following the N71 around the cost line to Malin Head. This route is sign posted with a blue wave along the route. We followed this route from Kinsale to the ring of Kerry where we turned off and headed to the town of Killarney. The route is wide enough to get our four berth van around but you will need more time than your sat nav may say due to the road surfaces reducing you speed at some points to below 20 mph. This is an excellent drive if you like the scenic views of the Atlantic coast and the mountain roads across Co. Cork to Co. Kerry. You will pass a number of interesting towns along your trip. We stopped at Clonakilty for a coffee and cake and Skibbereen for lunch. Both towns are great and unfortunately we did not have time to explore Glendarriff, the Beara Peninsula, see the Durey island cable car or driver the ring of Kerry. There really is so much to do along this route you will not be disappointed