Heritage Ireland

Desmond Castle Kinsale

A building at the core of Kinsale’s history

Closed due to conservation works

See all opening times

Desmond Castle Kinsale

A building at the core of Kinsale’s history

Closed due to conservation works

See all opening times

Site Closed

Admission

Adult: €5.00
Group/Senior: €4.00
Child/Student: €3.00
Family: €13.00

Getting here

Cork St
Kinsale
Co. Cork
P17 TY09

Get Directions

Trip Advisor

3.5

Desmond Castle Kinsale

Desmond Castle in Kinsale dates from around 1500. It is a classic urban tower house, consisting of a three-storey keep with storehouses to the rear.

Maurice Bacach Fitzgerald, the earl of Desmond, originally built the castle as the customs house for the town. It served as a prison in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Because it usually held French inmates, as well as Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch and Americans, it became known locally as the French Prison and carries that name to this day. The building was co-opted as an ordnance store during the momentous Battle of Kinsale (1601) and served as a workhouse during the Great Famine.

Desmond Castle certainly had a colourful history and this continued into the twentieth century. In the early 1900s it was used as a venue to host local Gaelic League meetings. Finally, in the 1930s, a thriving undertaking business operated from within the National Monument.

Opening Times

Please note that this site is closed due to conservation works.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Contact

Cork St
Kinsale
Co. Cork
P17 TY09

021 477 4855

Getting Here

Located in Kinsale town, 300 metres from Garda (Police) barracks along Cork street. Close to Carmelite Friary.

Click the relevant icon below to open Maps directions

Facilities

  • Exhibition
  • Guided tours
  • Interpretive exhibit

Restrictions

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times
  • Hold hand rail
  • Limited Access
  • Steep and uneven steps

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