The area around Baltimore and the Islands was settled by Celts almost 2000 years ago.
Despite the aggressive O'Driscoll influence, a group of English settlers arrived in Baltimore in 1607, having fled from south west England, where piracy was punished by hanging - perhaps they felt safer in a place which appeared to condone it! In 1609 the double-dealing Sir Fineen leased the harbour to Sir Thomas Crooke, who attempted to organise the newcomers. However, Sir Fineen also owed money to Sir Walter Coppinger, another large landowner, and Sir Walter claimed the harbour in lieu of the debt.
The infamous Sack of Baltimore took place whilst the arguing was continuing, on June 20th, 1631. Algerian pirates were guided into the harbour by a Dungarvan man. The Algerians killed two people and took over a hundred people away with them as slaves to North Africa.
The allegation is sometimes made that the raid may even have been organised by the O'Driscolls, who did not care to see their lands being taken over by English settlers - You'd never know!
Baltimore hit its lowest point after the Sack when, it is said, many people moved up river to Skibbereen, where they felt less exposed to the vagaries of piracy.
Thereafter, Baltimore became important only as a rotten borough, returning two seats to the English Parliament. Lord Carbery, in whose gift these seats were, received £15,000 when they were abolished following the Act of Union.