Showing posts with label Desmond Castle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desmond Castle. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale

Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale

Always enjoy going back to the Trident Hotel in Kinsale. The views from the bedrooms, any of their 75 rooms, are striking. The hotel is spectacularly set on the water's edge in Kinsale, in a prime location for guests to enjoy the views of the harbour. And quite often the sun is shining! As it was last week when we called. The Trident has a private marina and onsite parking (very handy in the busy seaside town).

The hotel, under manager Hal McElroy, has been through an extensive upgrade and its interiors are now looking splendid as well. We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
Room with a view

The welcome here is always warm but it got that little bit better last Monday (18th) when we were told we were upgraded. We enjoyed that. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Sandycover, near Kinsale

Kinsale itself has quite a lot to offer. It has often been called the Gourmet Capital of Ireland. You’ll get some arguments from other areas no doubt but Kinsale was awarded The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s ‘Top Foodie Town’ in the 2018 competition. 

The Trident and its manager are key players in Kinsale, long-time members of the town’s Good Food Circle which believe it or not are now taking bookings for the annual Gourmet Festival. Dates this year, for the 43rd running of this famous and fun event, are 11th to 13th of October. 
Safe harbour
For more info, check "Kinsale Good Food Circle - 43rd Kinsale Gourmet Festival”. Before that though, the Good Food Circle will host the National Chowder Championships in April with a street food festival on the same weekend (6/7 April 2019). 

If you visit the town, you’ll be assured of good places to stay and terrific restaurants and café, and you’ll be well set up for some fabulous sightseeing. Charlesfort overlooks the harbour and is perhaps the biggest attraction in the town. It is open all year and regular guided tours are available. Well worth a visit and you can also see it from the water if you take one of the popular Kinsale harbour cruises.

Desmond Castle, an even older building in the heart of the town, is open during the season. It is also known locally as the French Prison. Built originally as a customs house, it now includes a wine museum as one of its attractions.
Lusitania Museum and the Old Head

The nearby coast includes many small coves that are worth a visit (see here) and not too far away there is the large beach at Garrettstown, the waters here also popular with surfers. On the way, you may stop and admire the famous Old Head of Kinsale and visit the nearby Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum.

Kinsale, often called the gateway to West Cork (see my West Cork Package), is your starting point on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is hardly 30 minutes from Cork City, even less from the airport and not too far away from the ferryport of Ringaskiddy.
In the harbour

Our latest visit was prompted by Kinsale Restaurant Week, a very successful event that finished up on the 24th of February. We had a great meal, a great night indeed, in Finns’ Table, another member of the Good Food Circle. 
Blacks Ale

Breakfast view at the Trident
Finished the night with a pint of local beer (from Blacks Micro-Brewery and Distillery) in the Trident’s Wharf Bar. And said goodbye to the Trident after a hearty breakfast in Pier One, their main restaurant, used mainly for breakfast and functions. 

The lively Wharf Bar downstairs will keep you well fed during the day and evening. And in the good weather, at the water’s edge, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.

Oh, the hospitality continued at the breakfast table when we were surprised with the gift of a bottle of wine from Anthony of the Trident and congrats from all the servers. He knew we had been been celebrating our 50th anniversary at Finns’ Table. Thanks to Anthony and the Trident. And, before you ask, we didn’t open the lovely Sancerre at breakfast!

Also on this Kinsale trip:
Dinner at Finns' Table
Surprise Mellot Sancerre Tasting at Finns' Table

Thursday, August 11, 2011


At Desmond Castle
St Patrick sipping!

In the church of St Patrice in Rouen (France), there is a 16th century stained glass window* showing the Irish patron saint having a glass of wine at Tara in 433 while the High King looks on anxiously. Maybe it’s the King’s glass?

On the 17th of October, 1710, Jonathan Swift wrote to Stella from London: “I dined today with your Mr Sterne ...and drank Irish wine”.

In 1780, John Windham recalled visiting Cork city: “There are no hackney coaches but there are plenty of chairs or sedans. ...These vehicles are extremely convenient for the followers of Bacchus who has a great number of votaries in this city.”

These anecdotes show that there has been a long association between wine and the Irish so it is no surprise that the Irish went abroad some of them became involved in the trade. The most recent example I came across is the late Michael Lynch in Argentina’s Mendoza.

Loads of similar info is in the Wine Museum in Kinsale’s Desmond Castle. Maybe not the efforts of Michael Lynch, but virtually every other Irish connection, certainly before 2000 when the museum was set up, is very well covered indeed and great credit here goes to Ted Murphy, the Corkman who put it all together.

Many of you will know of the Cork family Hennessey who ended up in Bordeaux, the very same family whose name still appears on Ireland’s most popular cognac (brandy). But did you know that we were also involved in the sherry trade? Terry, for example.

The French connection is strong (and getting stronger in places like Provence and the Languedoc) but the Irish were also involved in wine in America, Cronins and Foleys in California for example.

And not just North America. Some of you may be familiar with the popular Chilean wine: St Rita 120. In the early 19th century, freedom fighter General Barnardo Higgins (father from Sligo) and 120 of his men (including General John McKenna, another Irishman) took refuge in the St Rita cellars during the battle of Rancagua. The wine is named in their honour.

Many many connections and loads of interesting facts and also some memorabilia. I could go on and on but, in fairness to Mr Murphy, I think anyone interested in wine should take a trip down to Kinsale and take your time as you wander through the two rooms that make up this museum. Highly recommended and the admission at three euro wouldn’t buy you a glass of wine in any of the town's restaurants.

The three euro will also get you into the castle which was originally built about 1500 as the Kinsale Customs House, one of its tasks being to collect a tax based on the tonnage and quality of the wine. In 1497, the English king granted the local Earl of Desmond the right to take one cask from every shipment for himself!

Occupied by the Spanish during the Siege of Kinsale in 1601, the most famous event in the castle’s history came in 1747 when 54 prisoners died in a fire. Most of them were French seamen and the castle later became known as the French prison.

·          There is a reproduction (photo above) of the window in the museum, donated by the Irish John and Eithne Lagan of the Xanadu Winery (Margaret River, Aus.). By the way, I love their Next of Kin wines (available via Bubble Brothers).