Pirates and smugglers feature at Maritime Weekend
THE pirates, smugglers and corrupt officials who plied their nefarious trades in and around Dingle Bay from the 16th to the 18th Centuries will form a central theme of this year’s Dingle Maritime Weekend, which is being held on this Saturday and Sunday.
Dr Connie Kelleher, one of Ireland’s leading experts in underwater archaeology, will get the discussion underway at 2pm on Saturday, October 28, in Dingle Oceanworld (Mara Beo) with a talk entitled ‘ The Coast of Kerry in the 16th and 17th Centuries: Trade, Ships, Piracy and Plunder’.
Dr Kelleher is currently writing a book on ‘Ireland’s Golden Age of Piracy’ and her talk will outline how the expansion of maritime empires resulted in an explosion in the volume and value of cargo being shipped around the world. Harbours such as Dingle, Ventry and Valentia, were part of the network that was central to the global development in commercial shipping and this provided rich pickings for pirates and smugglers who risked their necks for a share of the booty.
Dr Kelleher is a member of the State Underwater Archeology Unit, a visiting lecturer in underwater archaeology in the Archaeology Dept of UCC and is a board member of the International Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology.
On the following day at 12.30pm, GP and local historian Dr Conor Brosnan will continue the theme with a talk entitled‘Smuggling in Dingle in the 18th Century’.
Dr Brosnan, who is a member of the Dingle Historical Society, will delve into the reasons, sources, methods and people involved in what was known as ‘free trade’. He will also outline the efforts of the authorities to suppress smuggling in West Kerry and the legacy it left in the area.
In between the talks on smuggling and piracy, Paddy Barry will gave an illustrated talk at 3pm on Saturday on the Irish Antartic Expedition, which followed the 800-mile route taken by Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean from Elephant Island in Antarctica to South Georgia.
A sailor, explorer and retired engineer, Paddy Barry has sailed a Galway Hooker to America, Norway and Greenland, he led an expedition through the North West Passage and, in his boat ‘Ar Seachrán’, provided an escort for the first Camino na Sáile naomhóg voyage from Dublin to France. His talk will be gollowed by the launch of his newly published autobiography entitled, ‘So Far, So Good – An Adventerous Life’.
All the talks will take place at Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium and admission is free.
The Maritime Weekend, which is now in its sixth year, was set up by Kevin Flannery and former Harbour Master Brian Farrell with the aim of maintaining an awareness of our maritime heritage and marine environment.