Every Irishman will have their own opinion about the prettiest harbour in their country, and so they should. However, Baltimore in Cork deserves your attention as possibly the most beautiful place of all. After all, where else will you find such achingly beautiful views, smugglers’ caves, and an old submarine in the bay you could dive to.
Navigating to the Fort of Jewels
Baltimore in County Cork is the southernmost port in Ireland. The Old Irish name ‘Dún na Séad’ translates to ‘Fort of Jewels’. It was once a sanctuary for druids – who were the highest-ranking social class in ancient Celtic culture. By the 1600s, it had become a wealthy pirate base. Everybody from the vice admiral down to the lowliest fisher woman played a role here.
More Tales of Pirates and Baltimore
In 1631 Barbary Pirates came across from North Africa. They sacked the town, and took a hundred townspeople into slavery. The rest fled, leaving the place largely deserted for nearly a hundred years. Today, the people are back, and there are many interesting things to see in Baltimore;
*The signature Baltimore Beacon built in 1849 guides fisher folk and yacht crews safely back to harbour;
*There are fantastic scuba diving opportunities including an old steamer, and a German submarine!
*Ferry boats take visitors on pleasure trips to medieval Schull, Sherkin, and distant Cape Clear Island.
Some Details about the Naval Dive Sites
The steamer Alondra was built in 1899 but sank after mysteriously running aground at the foot of a sheer cliff in 1916. Her remains lie at a depth of 6 to 66 feet at 51°27′40″N 09°20′44″W.
The submarine U-260 was laid down in 1941. She served in wolf packs although she only sunk one ship. Her captain scuttled her in 1945 after she struck a mine. She lies at a depth of 131 to 148 feet at 51.4858° -9.10388°.