For centuries the sea has played a major role in the livelihood of the the community of Baltimore in west Cork.
The village of Baltimore in County Cork has long tradition of boat building. When Donal Sheehy of Baltimore Boatyard was young,
I used to hear that they built boats in Sherkin that took the immigrants to America.
Baltimore Boatyard is booked out for the next 18 months and managing director Joe O'Driscoll believes this shows boats built there are highly regarded. Director of Baltimore Boatyard Denis O’Driscoll says that many people return to Baltimore to order their boats.
Publicans Eileen and Richard Bushe explain there has always been industry in Baltimore connected with boat building, fishing and selling fishing gear. As a result,
The tourism was a thing that followed on.
Trish and Cormac O’Connell run the Algiers Inn in Baltimore. Cormac O’Connell recognises the value boat building and fishing bring to the area,
They bring tourists and it’s by the tourists we make our living.
He believes the survival of these industries is vital for the future of Baltimore.
Baltimore has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. Glenans Irish Sailing Club was founded in Baltimore in 1969 as part of the larger French Les Glénans sailing school. Fishing boats and yachts from all over the world call to Baltimore. As a result, people of all nationalities have settled in the area.
One such person is restaurateur Youen Jacob, originally from Brittany in France. He came to Baltimore in 1969, married a woman from Sherkin Island, and stayed.
Youen Jacob and marine biologist Simon Emsley from England helped to set up a shellfish co-operative to farm oysters. The co-op has run into difficulty and at the next meeting, co-op members can decide to sell the stock and get most of their money back however,
The oyster venture will have disappeared and it will be open to anybody again.
Originally from Cork city, Bebhinn Marten’s business experience is more positive. She runs the successful Beacon Designs and her unique knitted sweaters are worn by sailors from Baltimore to Brittany.
There isn’t anything like them that I’m aware of in Ireland anyway, and they’re different, and yet they’re Irish, you know, they just seem to sell.
She advises people thinking of moving from the city to the country to be sure of what they are doing. Living in Baltimore does not necessarily make her part of the community. Local people are very good to her,
But I’m not one of them.
To date Baltimore has managed to fend off commercialism and protect its picturesque charm. But Beibhin Marten believes Baltimore’s growth has to be watched very carefully. Youen Jacob agrees,
I know in a few years time the place will be absolutely invaded with yachts.
This report was filmed 23-26 April 1981. This episode of ‘Ireland’s Eye’ was broadcast on 7 May 1981. The reporter is Áine O’Connor.