Blood Spilled for the King of Spain’s Daughter

One upmanship, greed, and piracy… a tale of the O’Driscoll clan of pirates of the Irish south coast…

The Helen of Troy of our fair isle
That gets men drunk the more they are kissed
No meter mortal maiden fair
Whose sweet words when gone are missed
No, this senorita is silent – a rare type! –
Seeks not to seduce or have men killed
But alas, as is so often our gory story
For the greed of her kisses many were killed!

Wild Atlantic waters lashed the ships bows
Spirits of the sea that by sailors are dreaded
The crew thought ship cargo and crew would be lost
They would never see Waterford to which they were headed…
They sought refuge in Baltimore by cruel fate
La Santa Maria de Soci was the ships name
Finneen, his sons Conor and Gilly Duff
Gave word and them broke it without any shame.

They seized the crew and ship and pillaged the cargo
Tied the crew below under lock and chain
Broke the seamans trust for their lust
That broke many men – the King of Spains Daughter.
She is no mortal maiden that sheds tears
No, but the lustful seductive cask of wine
Known as such when such was rare
Ferried amid danger over the treacherous brine!

In time the crew by their own would be freed
The pirates slunk away and did not fight
The castle shelled, the ship sailed away
Revenge and return they would claim later as their right.
Aprils opening day, among the shadows of dusk
Galleys appeared and shelled Sharkin island all night long
The smoke rose into the morning dawn sky
The garrison and chieftains had gone!

Four hundred men plundered Baltimore
Slew all round, put houses to the flame
Sailed along the O’Driscoll coast
Landing at villages to inflict the same…
How many died for a chieftains greed for wine?
By the King of Spains Daughter seduced
More enchanting than a mermaid for a drunken sailer fuelled by greed
On sobering up, to a mere pauper reduced!

Map of Baltimore in Cork from 1630
Map of Baltimore in Cork from 1630



O’Driscolls coast – lands ruled by the O’Driscolls on the southern Irish coast.
Finneen, Conor, Gilly Duff – cheiftan of the O’Driscolls, his Tainiste and his illigitamate son.
La Santa Maria de Soci – name of the ship of wine that caused all of the trouble!
King of Spains Daughter – euphemism for wine when wine was rare

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