Set near the southern coast of Ireland, the colorful harbor town of Kinsale is 176 miles (284 km) from Dublin. Mostly connected by major highways, the most convenient way to reach Kinsale from Dublin is by car, a journey of about three hours. If you have a few extra days to extend your trip, this 8-day itinerary highlights both Dublin and Cork.
You can also make the trip by public transportation, which requires a connection in Cork. If you make the first leg via train and switch to the bus, the journey will take about 3.5 hours. If you'd rather just stick to the regional bus for the entire route, you'll reach Kinsale in five hours.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3 hours
The fastest and most convenient way to get from Dublin to Kinsale is by rental car or private transfer. The two are connected by major highways, making the drive fairly straightforward. As you leave Dublin from the west—via highways M50 and N7—you’ll head southwest towards Kildare. Kildare is a good place to stop for a coffee and one of the country’s famous horse races.
Eventually, you’ll take the M7/M8 highways all the way to Cork, a great city to explore for an hour or so. Other interesting stopping points include The Rock of Dunamase—the historical ruins of Dunamase Castle with scenic views of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and The Rock of Cashel, cathedral ruins from the 12th century.
After you pass through Cork, you’ll veer onto road R600 to Kinsale. This is a smaller two-lane road that curves through picturesque green hillsides and small towns.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Public transportation is a great alternative to driving, especially if you combine the train with the bus. Trains leave regularly from Dublin’s Heuston station—on the west end of the city center—and arrive in Cork’s Kent station in about 2.5 hours. The route curves northwest around the Wicklow Mountains, passing through the town of Kildare before heading southwest towards Tipperary. Grab a seat on the left side of the train to catch a glimpse of the hills, if the weather allows.
Once you arrive in Cork, a 10-minute walk will get you to Parnell Place—Cork’s bus station—where you can grab a regional bus to Kinsale.
Duration: 5 hours
The longest option is the regional bus, which is operated by Bus Éireann. Much like driving, the bus follows the same major highways but requires numerous stops and a 20-minute connection in Cork. There are about six daily departures, leaving every couple of hours. Although tickets can be bought on board, it's best to book in advance—online or at the bus station—during the busy tourist season.