KINSALE, a market town and seaport of Co. Cork, Ireland, in the south-east parliamentary division, on the east shore of Kinsale Harbour (the estuary of the Bandon river) 24 m. south of Cork by the Cork Bandon & South Coast railway, the terminus of a branch line. Pop. of urban district (1901), 4250. The town occupies chiefly the acclivity of Compass Hill, and while of picturesque appearance is built in a very irregular manner, the streets being narrow and precipitous. The Charles Fort was completed by the duke of Ormonde in 1677 and captured by the earl of Marlborough in 1690. The parish church of St Multose is an ancient but inelegant structure, said to have been founded as a conventual church in the 12th century by the saint to whom it is dedicated. Kinsale, with the neighbouring villages of Scilly and Cove, is much frequented by summer visitors, and is the headquarters of the South of Ireland Fishing Company, with a fishery pier and a commodious harbour with 6 to 8 fathoms of water; but the general trade is of little importance owing to the proximity of Queenstown and Cork. The Old Head of Kinsale, at the west of the harbour entrance, affords fine views of the coast, and is commonly the first British land sighted by ships bound from New York, etc., to Queenstown.
Kinsale is said to derive its name from cean taile, the headland in the sea. At an early period the town belonged to the De Courcys, a representative of whom was created baron of Kinsale or Kingsale in 1181. It received a charter of incorporation from Edward III., having previously been a borough by prescription, and its privileges were confirmed and extended by various subsequent sovereigns. For several centuries previous to the Union it returned two members to the Irish parliament. It was the scene of an engagement between the French and English fleets in 1380, was forcibly entered by the English in 1488, captured by the Spaniards and retaken by the English in 1601, and entered by the English in 1641, who expelled the Irish inhabitants. Finally, it was the scene of the landing of James II. and of the French army sent to his assistance in 1689, and was taken by the English in the following year.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)