Baltimore’s sheltered harbour has attracted settlers since Neolithic times (there is a passage grave, ca 3,500 BC on an island near Reengaroga causeway). Some say that the village was a Druidical centre in pre-Christian times. A ring fort (enclosed farmstead) dating from the early Christian era is located SE of the Lifeboat Station (but overgrown and inaccessible).
In the 16th century the village was a significant fishing harbour with links to France and Spain. Pilchard fishing was important in the 17th century, with involvement of fishermen from SW England. Baltimore received a town charter in 1613 when it was part of the Carbery Estate and had two MP’s up to 1800 when the charter was forfeited.
On 20th June 1631 Algerian pirates descended on the village, killed two people and carried 109 others off to slavery in North Africa. They were guided in by a man called Hackett who was later executed in Cork. After this infamous “Sack of Baltimore” some of the locals decided to move upriver to a safer location and founded the town of Skibbereen.
Sailing and yachting became much more popular after the Emergency and tourism started to increase dramatically.