Kinsale to Clonakilty in 1 day

The route from Kinsale to Clonakilty
The route from Kinsale to Clonakilty

Discover and fall in love with West Cork, from the picturesque Old Head peninsula to the renowned gastro delights of Clonakilty.

Using the town of Kinsale as your base, you're in prime position to explore the beauty and charm of West Cork with a day trip to the Old Head of Kinsale and Clonakilty Town.

You can find more information on driving in the island of Ireland here.

Kinsale to Clonakilty 56 miles, 1 hour 51 minutes at 30mph return

Your base: Kinsale

We don’t blame you for wanting to stay in Kinsale for a little longer on your Wild Atlantic Way drive. It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque or charming town. Kinsale has many strings to its bow, with all the fresh produce in the local restaurants, the rich history of Charles Fort and the excellent fishing charters available. But just west of the town is another of Kinsale’s treasures waiting to be discovered: The Old Head of Kinsale.

Old Head

This large headland juts out into the swirling Atlantic offering some of the most spectacular coastal walks in Ireland. With ruined forts, lighthouses and tales of shipwrecks, there’s plenty to discover on the Old Head. If you love a game of golf, be sure to bring your clubs, because the majority of the Old Head is given to a stunning golf course. This isn’t your average golf course, either. Here, the rugged coast is your biggest obstacle as amazing coastal scenery lies all around you. Bare in mind this is where pros like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy come for a challenge, so make sure to bring your A-game! 

When you have the Old Head of Kinsale well and truly explored, set your sights further west. It’s a short scenic drive heading west from the Old Head to Clonakilty, passing through the interior of West Cork and towns such as Timoleague. It’s true, both Clonakilty and Kinsale are both seaside towns, but ‘Clon’ (as it’s known locally) has a vibe and atmosphere entirely its own. 

Old Head of Kinsale

With epic coastal walks, watersports fun, history and one of the world’s most stunning golf courses, the Old Head of Kinsale makes for a fantastic day trip. 

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Ocean Addicts

Based in Kinsale Town, Ocean Addicts can whisk you away on a scuba diving adventure in West Cork. Their diving and coastal cruise trips explore the coast of West Cork from Kinsale, Bantry and beyond.  

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Clonakilty is a bustling spot; picture colorful houses, hanging flower boxes and quirky pubs. While it will forever be associated with the famous Clonakilty Black Pudding (a local artisan product), the town is a real melting pot of artists, musicians, award-winning restaurants and pubs, all with a flare of genuine Irish appeal. 

History runs deep in Clonakilty and they’re especially proud of their most famous son: Michael Collins. Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader instrumental in gaining the Republic of Ireland’s independence from the British. He was a larger than life character and his story is lovingly preserved in the Micheal Collins Museum in Clonakilty.

Other attractions in Clonakilty include the Drombeg Stone Circle, a trip to Galley Head Lighthouse and the 14th century ruins of Timoleague Abbey. In short, Clonakilty is a dynamic West Cork town with tons of character.

Just walking down the street, or enjoying drink in a pub such as De Barras with an upbeat trad session going on, are reasons enough to visit. With Clonakilty conquered, head east again through the rich landscape of West Cork and back into pretty Kinsale, where a warm welcome waits. Maybe treat yourself to a seafood feast in the Fishy Fishy Café followed by a pint of local stout Murphy’s in the nautical inspired surroundings of The Folk House bar.

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