The Old Head of Kinsale is an area that is steeped in Irish history. The first settlers came to Ireland more than 6000 years ago from across continental Europe, and evidence of these early Iron age Celts can still be seen on the Old Head of Kinsale.
The island of Ireland took its name from the Eirinn clan who moved from Western Europe before 1000 B.C. Their fortified community on the Old Head was described as Dún Cearmna or the fort Eir Cearmna.
It was Eri Cearmna, brother of Schiarce, who reigned at this stronghold at the Old Head as the local King from 893-54 BC. The headland became known as Dun Cearmna the outline of Cearmnas Dun can be seen to this day.
The Old Head is one of the few landmarks in Northern Europe shown on a map by the Greek historian, Ptolemy, in 100 A.D. From 820 AD to 918 AD the Vikings had control of the Old Head prior to this it was a Celtic stronghold and following a spell of peace. The first Norman invasion occurred in 1169. This assault led to the headland passing directly into the control of the de Courcey family.
The family built their Castle at the narrowest point of the headland in the 12th century A.D.