v 6.40.00
19 Dec 2022
updated 21 Dec 2022


About 1600, English settlers arrived in the Bantry area, enticed there by reports of vast shoals of pilchards which were found in the bay. (Pilchards are like herring only shorter and rounder!) Unlike the poor [local] fishermen they had the finances to rig out new boats with ropes, nets etc which were required for the task. The fishing was a great success financially and more English settlers arrived on the scene. The population of [Bantry] expanded rapidly and by 1725 there were numerous 'Fish Palaces' around the harbour. After the failure of the 1641 Rising, the Cromwellian [?] soldiers were rewarded with grants of land in the Bantry area, the Earl of Anglesey receiving 96,000 acres. Many of the settlers became disenchanted with the lonely farming life and the lands granted to the Earl and his officers were bought by a member of the White family. The Whites engaged in [pilchard fishing, smuggling], farming, clearance of the forests, iron ore smelting etc and prospered. Because of the assistance which he gave to the British establishment and military during the French Invasion of 1796, Richard White was made Baron of Bantry in 1797, Viscount Bantry in 1800 and Earl of Bantry in January 1816.