Headland to the Sea

The name Kinsale is derived from the Irish Ceann tSaile or Headland of the sea. The town grew and developed on an old Anglo-norman settlement founded in the 12th Century and was granted its first charter in 1334. In 1601 it witnessed the siege of the battle of Kinsale in which Gaelic forces lead by Hugh O’ Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell fought the English forces but were overwhelmed. This lead to the complete conquest of Ireland by the English.

Headland to the Sea

Old head of Kinsale

Old Head of Kinsale

Fish Market Site

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Old Fish Market Site

Fish Market Site

The company today known as Kinsale Bay Food Company originated on the old fish market site which was part of Long Quay in the 18th century. The old fish market site was home to maritime trade in Kinsale town. It led to generous employment in the area making it a critical part of Kinsale’s development. 

Original Plaque of Kinsale

 The façade was built as far back as 1784. The original walls still stands to this day having been restored by local authorities and remains the longest free-standing historical structure in Kinsale town. The heritage and tradition of the 18th-century fishing industry is still very much ingrained in this town.

Original Plaque of the Fish Market

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Original wall at the Fish market site  

Old Fish Dock

Pier road

Pier Road

Old Fish Dock

The town at that time had a vibrant fishing, boat, and repair industry which employed in the region of 4,000 people directly in fishing and another 1,500 in the ancillary industries namely sailmaking, fishnet manufacturing, and coopering.

The Kinsale Hooker

The Kinsale Hooker

The fishing vessel used by locals was known as the Kinsale Hooker, built locally in the shipbuilding yards, many being family-owned. As the fishing industry started to decline in the late 1800s these family businesses were forced to close. Permission was then granted to the Kinsale harbour commissioners and the pier was filled in and is now known as Pier road.

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A Kinsale Hooker