In the early part of the seventeenth-century, along the southwest coast of Ireland, piracy was a way of life. Following the outlawing of privately-commissioned ships in 1603 by the new king of England, disenfranchised like-minded men of the sea, many who had been former ‘privateers’, merchant sailors and seamen and who had no recourse but to turn to plunder, joined forces with traditional pirates. With the closing of the ports, they transferred their base of operations from England to Ireland and formed an alliance. Within the context of the Munster Plantation, many of the pirates came to settle, some bringing families. These men and their activities not alone influenced the socio-economic and geo-political landscape of Ireland at that time but challenged European maritime power centres, while also forging links across the North Atlantic that touched the Mediterranean, Northwest Africa and the New World.
April 2020 | 9781782053651 | €30 £27| Hardback |234 x 156mm| 552 pages | 60 illustrations
Tracing the cultural origins of this particular period in maritime plunder from the late-1500s and throughout its heyday in the opening decades of the 1600s, The Alliance of Pirates analyses the nature and extent of this predation and looks at its impact and influence in Ireland and across the Atlantic. Operating during a period of emerging global maritime empires, when nations across Europe were vying for supremacy of the seas, the pirates built their own highly lucrative and highly potent piratical power base.
Drawing on extensive primary and secondary historical sources Connie Kelleher explores who these pirates were, their main theatre of operations and the characters that aided and abetted them. Archaeological evidence uniquely supports the investigation and provides a tangible cultural link through time to the pirates, their cohorts and their bases.
Connie Kelleher is a State underwater archaeologist with the National Monuments Service and visiting lecturer in underwater archaeology in University College Cork.