by Samuel Lewis

Baltimore, a village and sea-port in the parish of Tullagh, Eastern division of the barony of West Carbery, county of Cork and province of Munster, seven miles from Skibbereen, containing 459 inhabitants. This place is situated on a fine harbour to which it gives its name in St. George's Channel, and was anciently called Dunashad. It is supposed to have been a sanctuary of the druids and one of the principal seats of the idolatrous worship of Baal, whence its present name Beal-ti-mor, signifying, in the Irish language, "The Great Habitation of Beal", is probably derived.

In 1537, the men of Waterford, in revenge for an attack made on Fineen O'Driscoll and his son on some merchant vessels consigned to that port, fitted out three armed ships with four hundred men on board, which arriving in the harbour anchored under the castle: the garrison fled on their approach and this force, after having laid waste the adjacent island of Innisherkin, landed here and set fire to the castle and town of Baltimore.

The village is situated on the eastern shore of the harbour and immediately around the ruins of the ancient castle; and though small, is increasing rapidly in size and importance. Several large and handsome houses have been recently erected, and others are in progress. In 1833, a substantial pier was constructed at the expense of the Fishery Board and Lord Carbery. The trade in the port consists chiefly in the export of slate, copper-ore, flax, wheat, oats and potatoes and in the import of timber, iron, coal, salt and general merchandise. In 1835, nine vessels of the aggregate burden of 2030 tons entered inwards, and the same number cleared outwards with either passengers or ballast as connected with the foreign trade; and 173 vessels of the aggregated burden of 10,300 tons entered inwards, and 299 of the aggregate burden of 17,643 tons cleared out, as connected with the coasting trade.

A schoolhouse for male and female children was built at the expense of Lord Carbery in 1832; and there is a dispensary for the benefit of the inhabitants of the numerous islands in the bay. The ruins of the castle on the summit of a lofty rock over the pier, and commanding every part of the harbour, are extensive and beautifully picturesque.

Published by: Local Ireland
Year written: 1999
Copyright owned by: None