One of the most beautiful places I have visited so far (I am sure there will be many more) is the intriguing and charming village of Baltimore. Right at the southwest tip of Ireland this little place is a fairly long drive beyond Cork, the county in which it sits.
I stayed at The Waterfront Hotel, overlooking the square (well a triangle) where all the action takes place. I paid for a superior room with a view of the harbor, which was well worth the extra money. The room was great although not typically Irish, with its marble floors and modern décor. Checking in was friendly and informal! Breakfast was in the fantastic dining room overlooking the harbor so we saw the ferry arrive, bringing in children for school and shoppers and workers from Sherkin and Cape Clear Island. Food downstairs in the bar was great value and tasty – I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Baltimore is famous for its castle (which is open and flies a Jolly Roger) and piracy. In 1961 it was invaded by Algerian pirates and 100 villagers were sold into slavery. It may be the case that these were English and I wont go into the details here but very few made it back to Ireland and for more than a century the village was deserted. Things got back to normal by 1800 but then the population dropped again after the Great Famine (1845).
A short drive (or 30 mins walk) takes you to the Baltimore Beacon. This is well worth exploring for the beacon itself and the amazing views across the sea from the southernmost tip of mainland Ireland.
Also known as Lot’s Wife or the Pillar of Salt, this beacon for ships was completed in 1849 and makes a great focus to views across the beautiful coastal landscape.
The Waterfront Hotel, Baltimore