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Heritage & history

spain-towerBaltimore has a history that can be traced back to prehistoric times. The name itself is often thought to derive from the Irish baile an tí mhóir meaning ‘town of the great house’. A more intriguing theory, however, links it to ancient celtic religion and the pagan god Baal. Whatever the truth, successive generations of men and women have left their mark here for those who know where to look. Pirates, smugglers and sea battles all had a share in the story. Prehistoric remains, ruined castles and shipwrecks all have a tale to tell. In recent, more peaceful times Baltimore became known as a centre of fishing and boatbuilding, earning a reputation far beyond these shores. Another aspect of this maritime heritage is a tradition of lifesaving; the lifeboat station, home to two lifeboats, is among the oldest in the country.

The exact connection between Baltimore, West Cork, and Baltimore, Maryland, is a matter of some conjecture. The family estates of the second Lord Baltimore, who founded the American city in 1729, were in County Meath. However, there is no record of a place called Baltimore in that part of Ireland and the first Lord Baltimore may well have chosen the name merely because he liked the sound of it. And that is probably how the largest city in Maryland came to bear the name of a West Cork fishing village! What is undeniable is that in recent times a firm link has been forged between the two Baltimores on opposite sides of the Atlantic by the regular visits of the schooner Pride of Baltimore.

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