Must See Places in Ireland: A Day Trip Out of Kinsale to Timoleague Ruins
Ireland is our adopted home, and as many expats before us, we have come to love its history interwoven with the sheer beauty of the land as much, if not more, than those who were lucky enough to be born here. We reinvented our lives more than five years ago now, and we still delight in the short day trip out of Kinsale where we love to visit other historic views of Ireland. This article is one of a series on “must see places in Ireland” and is written for those staying in our short term let in Kinsale, or others considering accommodations in Kinsale or places to stay in Kinsale. We hope you enjoy several stops on your way to Timoleague including: the Shop, the Mary statue that moved, and the memorial to those lost in the Lusitania.
Head out of Kinsale south, past the Trident Hotel on R600 which then turns left over the bridge. Continue on to the crossroads where a house will be on your right with a clear sign that it is The Shop. We recommend a quick visit as it is a relic of older times where people on any country road might bring in a few things to provide a shop for those passing. We recommend you stop for ice cream as it is sold in the old way as part of a slab and the owner will figure your total on a piece of paper
Continue straight at that junction and the road will curve to your left as you go over a small hill. Drive slowly as you approach the next crossroads and pull in to stop at the lovely and extremely well kept Mary of the Immaculate Conception. While there are many roadside stops for the Virgin, this one was the site of a miracle in the 1980s as the statue was seen to move and the message was sent that things would be alright. Thousands flocked to see her.
Continue on straight and, after a curve to the right stop in the little town of Ballinspittle. If you fancy a cup of coffee or a bit to eat, Diva Boutique Cafe offers splendid versions of both. Continue on around the curve to your left and at the end of town you have a choice. If you are in a hurry, stay on R600 take the right turn at the community school. If you have a bit more time continue straight ahead and follow the road signs to Old Head.
Old Head Golf Course is known throughout the world because of its magnificent scenery, and the visitor may choose to enter just to have a spot of lunch. To see the site of a lighthouse, whether you enter the golf course or not, stop at the last turn to the right, at the base of the ruins of a tower house, and you'll find the memorial to the sinking of the Lusitania which brought the United States into the second world war. Screams of the victims could be heard throughout this area and the survivors were taken to Cobh, the subject of another article in this series.
Continue on that road, having made the right turn, which will take you a short distance on the single track road, past some farms and out on the road past the beaches at Garrettstown. A favorite of locals for sail surfing. This road meets up with R600 again at the edge of the second beach and you can continue on towards Timoleague.
R600 curves through some lovely countryside and drops you down for a long stretch by the edge of the water, where you'll see Cortmasherry off to your left and the ruins of the monastery at Timoleague straight ahead. You can pull in left and park at waters edge, making use of the public facilities there if you need them, and proceed up the stairs to the entrance to the graveyard and the site. Be sure to take your camera as the ruins afford many fantastic shots through old stone window encasements out to the river beyond.
After Timoleague you can retrace your tracks, or continue on to Clonakilty, the subject of another article in this series. This day trip is one that we have taken many times with visitors from the United States. It offers a glimpse of Irish life as it has always gone on in the rural villages, a memory of a major historical event, and some of the best photographic opportunities of any day trip out of Kinsale.