Kinsale – Cork, Ireland

A Charming Seaport as Culinary Capital

In yesterday’s gastronomically challenged Ireland of corned beef and cabbage, seaside Kinsale’s role as the country’s culinary capital may have been taken as a comical oxymoron. But since the so-called Irish cooking revolution, this beautiful yachting and fishing town on the Irish Sea and its impressive (and still growing) profusion of excellent restaurants large and small has drawn pampered palates from near and far.

The increasingly popular Kinsale International Gourmet Food Festival might include everything from a cooking demonstra­tion by the Housewife of the Year to oyster husking. Unofficial headquarters is the hop­ping, much-loved Blue Haven Hotel. Situated on the site of the Old Fish Market in the center of Kinsale, a superb dinner at the Blue Haven’s top-notch seafood restaurant doesn’t leave guests with much room for the next morning’s renowned seven-course Irish break­fast—you’ll be tempted nonetheless if you’ve had the foresight to check into the recently refurbished guest rooms next door.

Despite its growing popularity, Kinsale is still a fine town for strolling. Its cobblestoned streets are lined with pastel-painted 18th-century homes and there’s a harbor full of bobbing boats, but you can pub-hop straight to The Spaniard Inn for hilltop views, simple food, and foot-tapping Irish music.

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